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LIVE: 11 new cases of Covid-19 in NZ today

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

UPDATED: There are 11 new cases of Covid-19 today, nine of those cases are linked to the community cluster in Auckland and two are in managed isolation.

Of the nine cases, five are linked to churches and four are household contacts of cases, says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

There are eight people in hospital due to Covid-19 - two in Auckland City, one in North Shore Hospital and five in Middlemore Hospital, including one in ICU.

An additional person in Waikato Hospital was hospitalised but not as a direct result of Covid, he says

Ashley says everyone in hospital is isolated and carefully managed so the public doesn’t need to be worried about receiving hospital care.

Ashley says 88 of the 89 cases in the community are linked to the cluster and one is under investigation.

He says there are 223 contacts from churches linked to the main cluster in this country - 170 tested, and further tracing would continue.

There are now 143 people linked to the community cluster in quarantine.

There is now a total of 1315 confirmed cases, including 105 active cases and 16 in managed isolation.

Ashley says surge testing of border workers is all but completed and another wave of testing will start next week with a focus on Auckland.

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is also updating the country on today’s Cabinet meeting and the decision about reassessing alert levels.

She says there is nothing to suggest there is a need to change alert levels but retain the current settings and Cabinet will review this again on Monday.

She says there are encouraging signs that the Auckland community cluster has been circled.

The range of the cluster had been identified and New Zealand was not dealing with multiple outbreaks - the majority of cases had already been contact traced and put in isolation, says Ardern.

The country is getting in front of the virus, she says.

Ardern began her comments at today's press conference by thanking those who had been tested.

"We would not have got in front of this cluster without them.

"Villifying those who have caught the virus, or those who helped keep us safe by getting tested is something that I simply will not tolerate.

"It is those who shame others, those who seek to blame, they are the dangerous ones. They are the ones who cause people to hesitate before getting a test, they are the ones who make people feel afraid."

She says New Zealanders need to stick together, supporting each other and acting responsibly to defeat Covid-19.

EARLIER: Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield will provide a COVID-19 update at 1pm today, he will be joined by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who will give an update on today's Cabinet meeting .

There were five new cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday with all of them linked to the Auckland community outbreak.

Four of the cases are Auckland based and one is linked to the two cases in Tokoroa and is receiving treatment in Waikato Hospital.

As of yesterday there are six people in hospital. One in Auckland City, four in Middlemore and one in Waikato Hospital.

"One person in Middlemore Hospital is in ICU and is in stable condition," says Ashley

There are 101 active cases and 1304 confirmed cases.

Ashley says of the 80 cases in Auckland, 78 are linked to the cluster with two under investigation - one being the Rydges Hotel maintenance worker and one being a case announced yesterday that was thought to be linked to the cluster but has been reclassified as under investigation because no clear link has been established to the cluster yet.

That person whose case was reclassified today was at St Lukes Mall on the morning of 12 August.

Anyone visiting St Lukes at that time should be alert to symptoms and contact health professionals if feeling sick, says Ashley.

Ashley says a new "strong line of investigation" was being looked at after it was discovered the maintenance worker used the same lift as the woman he is believed to have contracted the virus from, shortly after she had been there.

The nurses who attended the hotel have all returned negative tests so it was unlikely to have been a link, says Ashley.

Cabinet ministers have met this morning to review the COVID-19 lockdown settings, but are not expected to make a definitive decision on whether to relax them.

One week ago, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed Auckland would stay at alert level 3 and the rest of the country at level 2 until at least the end of Wednesday, August 26.

At the time, she described the move as a "short but precautionary hold" which Cabinet would review on August 21.

Speaking yesterday, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said ministers would consider the most up-to-date information from the recent "surge of testing" and contact tracing.

"There's not an exhaustive hard-and-fast set of rules here. It ultimately comes down to judgements."

Additional reporting RNZ.

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