Auckland to join rest of NZ at Covid-19 Alert Level 1 at 11.59pm on Wednesday

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Auckland will move to Alert Level 1 on Wednesday, October 7 at 11.59pm, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced. 

"On the basis of the success and effectiveness of our elimination strategy, and on the advice of the Director General of Health, Cabinet has confirmed Auckland will join the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 1 from 11.59pm this Wednesday, the 7 th  of October."

Ardern said all signs pointed to the previous outbreak being under control, adding there was a 95 per cent probability of the Auckland cluster being eliminated.

"Much was at stake with this resurgence of Covid. It was a test of our plan," she said. 

Ardern said many found it harder this time around.

"Despite that, Aucklanders and New Zealanders have stuck to the plan that has worked twice now, and beat the virus again.

"We put our heads down and we got on with it."

Ardern said moving to Level 1 meant there was a risk of complacency, urging people to continue using the Covid-19 tracer app.

"In real life, that complacency means in the event of a future outbreak, we may not be able to contact you as quickly, get you tested or into isolation. As a result, we could possibly see the virus spread further, faster."

She also said the continuation of high rates of testing was also important.

"We all want to avoid more restrictions. To stay at Level 1 relies on all of us continuing to be vigilant and playing our part.

"Keep using the app. If you are even slightly unwell, stay home, call healthline and get a test," she said. 

"Avoiding another outbreak relies on each and every one of us."

Clinical psychologist Dr Dougal Sutherland at Victoria University of Wellington said Aucklanders "will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief at today’s announcement".

"However, they should be wary about breathing that sigh of relief too heavily or without a face mask.

"The second bout of community transmission in Auckland may well cement in our minds the need for continued caution and wariness, prompts which are necessary if we are to continue to engage in new behaviours like wearing face-coverings."

The rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 1 a fortnight ago, while Auckland has been at Alert Level 2 since September 23. 

Prior to that, Auckland was at so-called Alert Level 2.5 since August 30, after moving to Alert Level 3 at the beginning of the August community outbreak.

It has been 10 days without any community cases in New Zealand, after the outbreak that began on August 12.

There was one new case of Covid-19 today, a person in managed isolation who arrived from Hong Kong on Thursday.

Yesterday, Ardern said from the results "that we've had coming through, that things have been tracking as we expected".

"Things with the original cluster have tracked well. We've got day 12 testing that we'd expected off the back of those who were connected to the Christchurch case, so of course some of those may still generate additional cases, keeping in mind they're all still in isolation though.

"But I make no assumptions until we make the decision as a Cabinet, based on the latest advice from the Director-General."

Ardern said the time lag was due to the need for 48 hours to bring any changes into force legally.