Health experts calling for ‘alert level 2-plus’
Leading public health experts are calling for the introduction of an alert level 2-plus to deal with the dangerous Delta variant.
They say that physical distancing alone will not be enough to combat the Delta variant should parts of the country drop to level 2.
All of New Zealand, excluding Auckland, is at alert level 3, with Auckland in level 4. Cabinet is due to review alert levels for the country on Monday, with Auckland’s settings being reviewed the following Monday.
There were 20 community cases in Auckland announced on Saturday, all linked to the Delta outbreak. On Saturday, it was also reported that a woman in her 90s with Covid-19 and underlying health conditions had died in hospital.
It is the first Covid-related death in New Zealand since February and the woman becomes the 27th person to die of the virus in the country.
The total number of cases in the outbreak is now 782 with 765 in Auckland and 17 in Wellington. There have also been 54 recoveries.
Covid-19 cases have passed 220 million globally, and more than 4.5 million people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The United States continues to lead the recorded global toll, with 39.9 million cases and 648,073 deaths.
India has seen 32.9 million cases and 440,225 deaths, while Brazil has seen 20.8 million cases and 582,670 deaths.
More than 5.4 billion vaccine doses have been administered around the world.
What should I do?
Anyone who wants to get tested can find their local testing centres by visiting the Ministry of Health website.
Quarantine-free travel from Australia has been suspended.
The country outside of Auckland is at alert level 3, with masks mandatory for people over the age of 12 when accessing essential services such as supermarkets.
People should use the Covid-19 tracer app.
If you are sick, call your GP before you visit, or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
To avoid contracting and spreading the virus, wash your hands properly, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow and throw tissues away immediately.
Reach out, find support from people who care, connect with your community or help a neighbour in need.