Medical expert gives his 'best guess' to when NZ can return to Alert Level 1

Source: 1News

A medical expert who accurately predicted Covid-19 would come back into New Zealand's communities has given his "best guess" as to when the latest lockdown will end.

Three new community cases - people from the same family - in South Auckland yesterday saw Auckland put into Alert Level 3 restrictions and the rest of the country into Alert Level 2.

The restrictions are currently in place until Wednesday night at 11:59pm, with the situation being reviewed by Government on a daily basis.

The University of Auckland's Faculty of Medicine's Professor Des Gorman appeared on Seven Sharp to give his evaluation of what will happen next.

"My best guess, and it is a guess, would be that the Government will try and buy time and they will extend this window of observation out until Friday at least," he said.

"They would do this to try and accumulate more data and get a sense of how widespread this outbreak is, and God willing it’s not widespread, and we can make a rapid transition back to Alert Level 1."

Gorman also says health officials need to take a look at what the country's "appetite for risk" is around Covid-19.

He thinks it's currently at odds with itself, as we are willing to "plonk" down Kiwis arriving from overseas in the middle of populated cities, but also willing to go into lockdown as soon as new virus cases emerge in the community.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield is remaining cautious despite close contacts of the latest Covid-19 community cases returning negative tests so far.

Bloomfield says the lack of further community cases is an "encouraging sign".

"But it's the days ahead that will be crucial as results from expanded testing across the Auckland region and the Waikato and Taranaki start coming through," he told media at the post-Cabinet press conference today.

"What we really want is that the results of this testing at [Papatoetoe High School], at the workplace and in the wider South Auckland community to rule out that there is an onward transmission or rather undetected transmission."

An investigation is still underway as to how the family contracted Covid-19.