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LIVE: COVID levels to change from midnight

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ.

People in Auckland need to work from home where possible. Children are asked not to attend school.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the new restrictions will be reviewed every 24 hours.

Ardern says Cabinet has decided that from 11.59pm tonight Auckland will move to alert level 3 for three days until midnight Wednesday.

The rest of the country will move to level 2 for the same period. This will be reviewed every 24 hours.

A mother, father and daughter are the three new COVID-19 community cases in Auckland.

The three new cases all belong to a single household in Papatoetoe.

The mother works at LSG Skychefs which services planes at the airport, the father is self-employed and the daughter goes to Papatoetoe High School. Here's what we know about the cases.

They are the country's first cases of community transmission since late January when a returned traveller in Northland tested positive after leaving quarantine.

Ardern said the alert change came out of an abundance of caution and would be reviewed every 24 hours.

"Three days should give us enough time to gather further information, undertake large scale testing and establish if there has been wider community transmission," Ardern says.

"I think it is an example of how tricky COVID-19 has always been."

She says it's a "good, timely reminder too, to everyone, please turn on the Bluetooth function and keep scanning".

The precautionary approach had served New Zealand well to date, Ardern says.

Cabinet weighed up many factors and decided moving the country up alert levels was the necessary response, she says.

The prime minister has assured that the vaccine programme would not slow down because of the level changes.

Prada Cup organisers have decided to postpone Wednesday's races.

Cabinet's next decision will be announced tomorrow at 4pm.

Level 3 restrictions for Auckland

Level 3 means Aucklanders will need to stay home. They should also work from home if possible.

If they venture out, Aucklanders must maintain 2m distance.

Schools and early childhood centres will stay open for children of essential workers.

Public venues will close. Gatherings outside of your bubble are prohibited, with exceptions for funerals and weddings which are limited to 10 people. However, Ardern encourages people to postpone these events if possible.

A border will be put in place in Auckland. Those who need to travel through the border can apply for an exemption.

What level 2 means

Level 2 for the rest of the country means businesses and schools remain open, but with social distancing.

People are encouraged to practice good hygiene, keep track of where they have been and stay home if they are unwell.

People are asked to maintain a distance of 2m from others in public spaces and in retail stores.

In other places like workplaces, cafes, restaurants and gyms, people must stay 1m apart.

Masks are mandatory on public transport and encouraged where physical distancing is not possible.

Gatherings, including weddings and funerals, are limited to 100 people.

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@Dumkopf2

Posted on 15-02-2021 14:10 | By morepork

There is a school involved. It probably has at least 800 pupils who may have gone anywhere, including the South Island. I agree with you that there is much less risk for places outside Auckland (possibly excepting Taranaki), but, as she explained, going hard and early has worked for us in the past, so it is better to err on the side of caution for a couple of days, than put everyone at risk. As more information emerges they can review the policy. Meanwhile, Level 2 is not so bad and we’ll all hopefully survive it.

covid

Posted on 14-02-2021 20:53 | By dumbkof2

why the need to put the sth island into level 2 typical kneejerk action for this govt. jacinda comes on and yaks for 10 min to say something that could be said in 3 or 4min