Ardern wants lockdown to be 'short and sharp, not light and long'

Source: 1News

These live updates have now concluded for the evening, any further developments can be found on our webpage. 

7.50pm - As New Zealand is about to enter its second Level 4 lockdown, clinical psychologist, Jacqui Maguire says everyone will respond to the announcement differently. 

"Once again, our team of 5 million are reminded just how fragile our state of ’new normalcy’ is as we re-enter level 4 lockdown.

"However, it is important that we all remember we have been here before and not only did we survive that experience, we learnt many lessons from it," she says.

Maguire gives Kiwis some tips for coping with lockdown:

1. Don’t jump ahead of yourself. There is zero point guessing the unknown. Wait for the briefings to gather your information.

2. Trust in the experts. They proved in 2020 they can navigate us through a storm.

3. Follow the rules. That’s going to help us exit level 4 as soon as possible.

4. Stay connected. We know how important relationships and connection are for wellbeing and mental health. Call, check in, wave when you walk past someone and smile.

5. Get off social media and stick to the 1pm briefings. Information bombardment causes a whole lot of issues in itself.

6. Ask yourself what was most helpful during the last lockdown. Are you someone that needs that quiet cup of tea away from the family, or is a walk a non negotiable for you. Plan as an individual, and as a bubble, about how you are going to spend your lockdown days.

7. Take care, look after yourself and each other. And if you are struggling reach out, whether that be to someone in your bubble, a loved one over the phone or a trained professional.

7.17pm - Professor Shaun Hendy told Seven Sharp the Delta strain has been seen "consistently" at the border and it's become "dominant" in a large number of countries. He said while the case hasn't been confirmed, we should assume it is.

He said at the moment there isn't a link to the border which suggests there's "potential for community spread," which meant there could be other cases out there.

Because Delta is twice as transmissible as last year's strain, restrictions would need to be more stringent, which "reflects the Government's decision tonight," Hendy said. 

He said the "best case scenario" is that we see a link to a known case. "Because that tells us there's a known case of transmission". 

If there was no link, it would mean "a lot of uncertainty". 

Hendy believes New Zealand won't see a situation like that NSW is in because he believes Level 4 "will be effective against this variant." He said NSW did a light lockdown and then went to more severe measures. 

"The way to deal with Delta is the way the Government has chosen to do it, which is to go for the strongest restrictions you've got as early as possible."

Hendy emphasised scanning and checking locations of interest were of paramount importance.

7.03pm - Air New Zealand is offering booking changes at no cost before August 24. The airline updated its website following the Government's lockdown announcement, saying if "flight or travel plans are impacted by the alert level changes, Air New Zealand will credit you the full value of your flight".

All airport lounges are closed and masks are mandatory on all flights. 

6.45pm - Ardern is urging people not to panic buy but concedes not everyone will follow her advice. 

6.41pm - Level 4 means education facilities are closed, Ardern says teachers have "done this before" and thanked teachers and parents, saying she believes they will "stand up" over this lockdown. 

6.40pm - More details regarding the case and the Government's response will be revealed at a 1.00pm briefing tomorrow when genome sequencing is set to be released. 

6.38pm - Bloomfield says the best way to stop an outbreak is to stop all movement. He says there are a handful of close contacts connected to the case but because Delta is so transmissible, the distinction between close and casual contacts is less. 

6.37pm - The seven day lockdown will trigger economic support for businesses, Ardern says. 

6.35pm - New Zealanders who are not in their place of residence have a 48 hour period for the relocation to occur. The reason, Ardern said was some people in the last lockdown were in "exceptional circumstances" - ie were in the bottom of the country and needed to travel north. But she urged that people should move "quickly". 

6.33pm - Bloomfield said the three day lockdown for the rest of the country will give health officials time to track genome sequencing of the case. It will also give contact tracers time to see if there has been "further spread". Ardern said it was better to start high and be cautious than to start low and be in lockdown longer. 

6.31pm - Ardern says she wants the lockdown to be "short and sharp not light and long," highlighting the chaos Covid has caused in Sydney which did not lock down immediately as Covid took hold in the community. 

6.29pm - Ardern says the seven-day lockdown was to ensure those in the Auckland and Coromandel regions were not given "false hope" that it would end early. 

6.21pm - New Zealand is to move to Alert Level 4 tonight as health officials are assuming the case has the Delta variant of Covid-19. The lockdown will come into effect as of 11:59 pm Tuesday for seven days in Auckland and Coromandel, and three days for the rest of the country.

6.12pm - Health officials have not confirmed if case is Delta, but every case in MIQ in past three weeks has been of that variant. We have to assume this case is Delta, Jacinda Ardern has said.

Ardern said the Delta variant was a "game changer" and  going "hard and early" was the pathway to beating the virus.

The case is a 58-year-old man from Devonport who Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield said was a frequent user of the COVID-Tracer app with 23 locations of interest being identified in the Coromandel and around Auckland. He had not been vaccinated but his wife is fully vaccinated, Bloomfield said. 

5.56pm - An announcement from the Prime Minister and Ministry of Health officials is imminent, an update expected at 6.10pm.

5.44pm - Panic-buying has reached Dunedin, where shoppers are clearing shelves of essential items such as toilet paper. It comes as the country waits for the Government to announce if a lockdown will result from today's community case of Covid found in Auckland. 

5.33pm - The Cook Islands News is reporting its Government has made changes to its travel advisory following the new Covid-19 community case in Auckland.

Anyone who Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health has designated as a ‘Person of Interest’ will not be allowed to enter the country.

"This includes being a confirmed or probable case, someone waiting for Covid-19 test results, a close or casual contact with a known case/location of interest within the preceding 14 days, and a person who has been in a location of Interest in 14 days prior to travel.

"A Person of Interest is also anyone designated a risk due to other epidemiological, exposure or clinical reasons, such as clinical indications for Covid-19.

"Local officials are monitoring the situation," Cook Islands News said.

Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands began on May 17 but travellers are required to complete an online contact information form within 72 hours of departure.

5.20pm  - A police spokesperson says supermarket locations around Auckland will have a ramped-up police presence as shoppers queue amid lockdown fears.

"We are aware that there are lengthy queues forming at supermarkets throughout Tāmaki Makaurau this afternoon. We will be increasing our visibility at these locations to provide both workers and the public with reassurance.

"Police reiterate advice from our partner agencies to remain calm and that there is no need for panic buying."

It comes as traffic builds across the region.

"Police remind motorists to drive to the conditions and to allow plenty of time to reach their destinations safely," the spokesperson said in a statement.  

4.52pm - Covid-19 data modeller Professor Shaun Hendy is telling Aucklanders to "assume" they have been exposed to the virus and to get a test if symptomatic. 

4.40pm  - Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has released a statement saying it's "disappointing" Covid-19 has been detected in the community.

“We have been fortunate that for 169 days there has been no transmission of the virus in the community," he said. 

“However, as we have witnessed across the Tasman, the emergence of a case here is not surprising.

“What we need to do now is take every step necessary to stop the spread of the virus.

“While we await the government’s decision this evening, I urge Aucklanders to remain calm, follow the health guidelines, and remember we have been here before and we know how to beat the virus.

“All of us share a collective responsibility to do the right thing and to follow the rules. When the government announces its decision on an appropriate response to the detection of the Covid case in our community, Auckland Council will follow any guidelines and health directives issued by the Government.

“I am confident that Aucklanders will understand what needs to be done and will also act accordingly,” he says.

“Wear a mask on public transport and in places where you can’t maintain social distance, wash your hands regularly, and use the NZ COVID Tracer app.”

4.34pm -  Jacinda Ardern has arrived in Wellington for a briefing from officials ahead of the 6.00pm press conference tonight. She said the public will be updated on any decisions then.

4.31pm -  Countdown is telling online buyers they are stuck in a "virtual queue" to enter the website as shoppers continue to panic-buy. 

4.21pm -  1 NEWS will be live on TVNZ1 from 5.30pm ahead of the press conference at 6pm which will be screened on TVNZ1 and OnDemand, as well as the 1 NEWS Facebook page and website.

4.00pm - The Prime Minister's Office has confirmed there will be a press conference at 6.00pm in the Beehive theatrette.

3.57pm - Reports of supermarket panic-buying are emerging across Auckland despite officials calling for calm.

Kiri Hannifin, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Quality, Safety and Sustainability at Countdown Supermarket told 1 NEWS preparations for a change in alert levels are underway.

"We’re already in the process of preparing our stores for a change in alert level protocols, and ask customers to keep calm and kind while we do this. We know this is unnerving news for everyone, but we are well-practiced at shopping safely during alert level changes and we can do it again.

"We’d ask customers to wear a mask when you’re shopping in our stores as an extra precaution, and use the contact tracing app as you come in.

"At the moment all of our stores are open and we will have physical distancing measures in place, as well as extra cleaning and hygienepractises on top of what we do normally.

"We’re seeing extra demand for online shopping and remind everyone that all our stores are open and there is plenty of food and other groceries so there’s no need to buy more than you need."

Antoinette Laird, Head of Corporate Affairs at Foodstuffs NZ said distribution centres are well-stocked.

"We know the news of a potential lockdown is unsettling but rest assured our stores have plenty of groceries on the shelves. And fortunately, our North Island DC has plenty of extra capacity and the team have been holding extra volumes of key essential items should it be required in a case like this. So, we are again asking customers to #shopnormal and be kind to our teams and each other.

"Our teams are preparing to move alert levels and we ask customers to be patient as we prepare to roll out the various safety precautions required to keep everyone safe. In the meantime we encourage everyone to scan the COVID tracer app and wear masks to protect themselves and our teams."

3.36pm - Auckland Transport (AT) has tweeted a reminder that face coverings on public transport are mandatory at all alert levels. " AT recommends that customers also register their AT HOP card to help with contact tracing.

"Everyone 12 years and older must wear a face covering on public transport at all Alert Levels.

Face masks are on sale in vending machines at public transport facilities across Auckland, AT said in a statement this afternoon.

3.25pm - Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles is urging people to "stay calm, scan, & mask-up."

"Ok Aucklanders, listen up. Health officials are investigating a case of Covid in the community. They’ll be looking for a link to the border/MIQ. In the meantime, don’t panic. We all know what to do."

- Last Wednesday, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said if the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19 broke out in the community in New Zealand, the country would go straight into lockdown. He said the Government had been “doing a lot of work” to plan for the possibility that Covid-19 could again make its way into the community.

3.14pm - Jacinda Ardern was notified early this afternoon and Cabinet is meeting now to determine a response. 1 NEWS understands that at 3.00pm there will be an all-of-Government response to the situation.

Senior officials will brief Covid ministers at 4.30pm after which Cabinet will meet again after which will follow a press conference will be held to update the public.

3.10pm - The Ministry of Health said in a statement at 2.30pm Tuesday that a case of Covid-19 has been identified and is under investigation in Auckland.

The ministry says link between the case and the border or managed isolation is yet to be established.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is undertaking interviews with the case for contact tracing purposes. While we collect more specific information all New Zealanders are reminded of the basic public health measures of mask wearing, hand washing and scanning.

In particular anyone in Auckland catching public transport this afternoon or who cannot socially distance in public spaces should wear a mask as a precaution.