Live: Alert levels to remain the same

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Auckland will remain at Alert Level 3 but with easing of some restrictions from 11.59pm Tuesday October 5.

The rest New Zealand will remain at Alert Level 2. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made the announcement at a post Cabinet briefing this afternoon.

Ardern says right at the beginning the government described Delta as a game-changer, "and it has proven to be so. It has been more infectious and more persistent ... what we have called a long tail feels more like a tentacle that has been incredibly hard to shake".

She says restrictions have prevented what could have otherwise been exponential growth in the virus over many weeks.

She says it was the right choice, and the only choice at the time because of the vaccination levels - 42 per cent of Aucklanders with one dose and 25 per cent fully vaccinated.

In the seven weeks since, those numbers have risen to 84 percent and 52 percent, she says.

"Modelling is also now telling us that while we're still seeing cases, it's now 50 per cent less than what we could've seen without vaccinations."

She says the vaccinations mean in future we will not need so many restrictions, but "we're not there yet".

Cabinet has been asking, she says, how to make things a bit easier, and together with the public health team has designed a road map.

For this outbreak, it's clear that long periods of heavy restrictions has not got us to zero cases "but that is okay. Elimination was important because we didn't have vaccines, now we do".

She says we need to keep using the tools we have, including vaccination, testing, tracing, isolation, and controlling any outbreak now and into the future.

"This is a change in approach we were always going to make over time, but the Delta outbreak has accelerated that transition. Vaccines, will support it."

From Wednesday Aucklanders will be able to extend their bubble and meet with in groups of up to 10 people from the same household outside.

Ardern says children can have a play date at the park, people can see their friends as long as it is one household at a time.

She says keeping it outside is fundamental to this changes because the natural ventilation outside makes it harder for the virus to spread.

“Outside is the safest option.”

She says people need to wear masks and if they are eating or drinking they need to keep their distance from each other.

“Reach out and see people, I know it will help,” says Ardern.

Another change that is being made if more children are able to attend early childhood centres.

There will be a limit of 10 children within a bubble at early childhood centres and strict infection control. Early childhood teachers will also be included in Covid-19 surveillance testing.

“This is an added precaution and an acknowledgement that children at that age cannot be vaccinated."

People in Auckland will now be able to move around the city for recreation. People can visit a beach, hunt, take part in a fitness class outdoors, provided it is socially distanced and at maximum of 10 people, she says.

Ardern says the public health advice is that these changes are unlikely to contribute to uncontrolled growth in the outbreak. They are believed to also make a material difference to Aucklanders' lives.

The easing of restrictions in Auckland does not extend to the north west Waikato though, she says.

While the rest of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 2 there is a further restriction being eased and that is the cap of 100 people allowed in hospitality venues.

People in venues must still remain seated and separated but venues will now be able to host more than 100 people. Although for social gatherings the limit of 100 people will continue to apply, says Ardern.

Ardern says she knows continued alert level restrictions are frustrating, particularly in the South Island where no cases have been seen for some time, but it is important to remember that it is the restrictions which has meant the virus has not spread further.

"Vaccines mean that in the future we can do things differently ... but that does mean that we need you to be vaccinated. I have heard some people who are willing to be vaccinated say they are waiting just a little bit longer before they make that choice.

"They may not be worried about the immediate side effects but they want to see long-term health effects. I want to give you the assurance you need that the vaccine is safe ... I encourage you to have that conversation with your health professional."

"This is not an Auckland problem, but rather a solution that only the team of 5 million can deliver on and we need everyone to play their part."

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says as well as the 29 new cases today, there are three other household cases linked to the Raglan case who will be included in tomorrow's number as they were entered into the system after 9am.

Seven of today's cases remain unlinked, and nine of yesterday's new cases remain unlinked.

He says an additional 25-30 more cases are expected from household and other close contacts.

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Level Picnic

Posted on 05-10-2021 09:02 | By

Enjoy your picnic Aucklanders but remember to keep social distanced from other bubbles, apart from your kids. They can mingle with other kids because they don’t spread the virus. Lol.