Police officer in self-isolation

The officer came in contact with one of the positive cases during a routine traffic stop on Tuesday. File photo.

A Waikato police officer is in self-isolation as a precautionary measure, after a routine traffic stop he conducted at Karapiro on Tuesday morning, which involved the person who visited Rotorua and has since tested positive for COVID-19 (from the existing Auckland cluster). 

The officer is self-isolating for 14 days and will be tested throughout that time.

Meanwhile, police in Auckland have been busy with road policing and reassurance checks for the first full day of Alert Level 3 restrictions in Tāmaki Makaurau where their focus has been on engagement, encouragement and education.

At the nine checkpoints across the region, tens of thousands of vehicles have been stopped and police and New Zealand Defence Force staff have engaged with travellers to understand the reason for travel and educate them on the restrictions.

Congestion eased at the checkpoints on Thursday due to a reduction in traffic volumes and the introduction of a dedicated freight lane at the southern Bombay checkpoint.

While congestion has eased, anyone travelling during peak times should add some time to their journey as a precaution, says a police spokesperson.

More than 17,000 vehicles had been stopped at checkpoints, of which 312 vehicles were turned around.

"Those that were turned around were largely co-operative.

"One motorist who was known to be a disqualified driver, fled a checkpoint.  For safety reasons, police decided not to pursue the vehicle but will make enquiries with the registered owner of the vehicle.

"Some of the checkpoints in Auckland are also being supported by Maori Wardens.

"Where Iwi have expressed an interest, police are facilitating observation visits to checkpoint sites and providing briefings on how these are managed."

There is no legal authority currently, for police or others to establish COVID-19 related checkpoints under Alert Level 2.

Roads continued to be busy around COVID-19 testing stations across the region, but overall it appears everyone in Auckland is heeding the advice to stay home, where possible, and to minimise travel, says police.

"As at 7am on Thursday, Tāmaki Makaurau Police staff completed more than 852 prevention activities including directed patrols and reassurance checks at essential facilities such as supermarkets, pharmacies and COVID-19 testing sites.

"Police would again like to remind Aucklanders to please look after each other and avoid non-essential travel."

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