Some Aucklanders enjoying new freedoms this week say there has been stress and anxiety in the community during lockdown.
On Wednesday, the city moved to level 3 step 2 and shops can open; but swimming pools, cinemas and theatres remain closed.
Coincidentally, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited Auckland for the first time in 12 weeks touring a factory and visiting a vaccination drive.
She faced criticism for not meeting with other businesses such as hospitality or hairdressers.
Ardern says she would be returning to Auckland to see how the people were dealing with the Delta outbreak.
Schools to reopen
Covid-19 Response and Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the benefits of reopening primary schools and kura in Auckland and Waikato on November 17 far outweighed any risks.
Children in Year 4 and up will need to wear a mask, the number on-site will be limited, and groups of children will have to distance themselves from one another.
Schools and kura will decide what works best for them, but most pupils in Years 1 to 8 will probably return part-time, while Years 9 and 10 go back full-time.
The National Party wants all schools to reopen immediately, and says paying schools up to $400 per student and regularly testing children will help them make up for lost class time.
The party this morning released its 'Back on Track' plan to help school students catch up on their curriculum.
• 147 new community cases of Covid-19: 131 in Auckland, 14 in Waikato, and two in Northland. And 63 cases from today remain unliked.
• The suburbs of interest in Auckland are Ranui, Sunnyvale, Kelston, Birkdale, Manurewa and Māngere.
• 81 people with Covid-19 in hospital, including 11 in ICU or HDU. Of those, 40 cases are either unvaccinated or not eligible, 25 are partially vaccinated, 10 are fully vaccinated, and the vaccination status of six is unknown.
• 4813 community cases in the current outbreak.
A man in his 60s who had Covid-19 and was isolating at a home in Glen Eden in Auckland has died - the third such death.
The cause of his death will be determined by the coroner, including whether it may have been Covid-related.
Two people isolating at home with Covid-19 died last week.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says allowing Covid-19 patients to isolate at home is generally working well but the deaths are being reviewed.
Recent wastewater results suggest a Covid-infectious person was in Taranaki from the start of November.
More Covid-positive results have been obtained from samples taken from the Stratford area last weekend.
In Wellington, a Covid-positive wastewater sample from Moa Point is considered most likely to be connected to a Managed Isolation and Quarantine facility.
AstraZeneca vaccine becomes an option
The AstraZeneca vaccine will be made available later this month for a small number of people aged 18 and over who cannot have the Pfizer shots for medical reasons.
Dr Bloomfield says people who are required to be vaccinated under the public health order, but who preferred AstraZeneca to Pfizer, can also opt for it.
He says only a few hundred people aged 18 and over will be eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine from late November.
However, several hours later, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Newstalk ZB AstraZeneca will actually be available to anyone who has a conversation with their doctor.
Santa parades cancelled
The Richmond Santa parade is the latest in the top of the South Island to be cancelled.
Organisers Richmond Unlimited say alert level restrictions prevent the parade from going ahead, but there are plans for Santa to visit the town one way or another.
Parades in Picton, Blenheim and Motueka have all been cancelled, and decisions on whether the ones in Nelson and Golden Bay go ahead will be made early next month.
In October, organisers of Auckland's Santa Parade said the event this year had been cancelled for the first time in decades.