Nearly 300 locations of interest force thousands to isolate

Source: 1News

Scroll down for a recap of 1 NEWS' updates on day five of New Zealand's Level 4 lockdown.


There are now 72 cases of Covid-19 reported in the community after 21 were announced this afternoon. Twenty of the cases are in Auckland, while one is in Wellington.

There have been confirmed cases at two Auckland churches overnight: Saint Therese Catholic Church in Māngere East and Saint Anthony's Catholic Church in Māngere Bridge.

There are also cases linked to two more schools: Pukekohe High School and Western Springs College. 

A large drive-through vaccination centre will open at Auckland Airport today. 

There are around 10,000 contacts, and around 280 locations of interest

9.00pm:  A final reminder as we wrap up today's live coverage, that the alert levels announcement will be at 4pm tomorrow after Cabinet meets.

1 NEWS will bring you the decision live online and on TVNZ 1.

7.56pm: In some good news for a change, a number of community organisations are stepping up to alleviate the pressure as supermarket chains struggle to keep up with demand amid the lockdown.

Among those helping pick up vital supplies for people in need are the Student Volunteer Army and the Sikh Aware organisation.

"This is the bare minimum we can do. Just imagine you have small children at home and you need milk? If you are meant to be isolating and there is no other option, you would look at breaking the rules," Sikh Aware co-founder Harpreet Singh told 1 NEWS.

"We don't want anyone to have to do that to get the basic necessities."

Countdown Takanini has been added this afternoon to the growing list of supermarkets named locations of interest after being visited by a Covid-positive case.

The person visited the store on from 7am to 7.10am on Thursday, August 19.

There are now 294 locations of interest, including Jetts in Ōtāhuhu; St Pierre's Sushi in Ponsonby; Glassons in the Auckland CBD; Lone Star in Alexandra Park; and The Warehouse in Clendon.

Social media users have taken to Twitter to air their grievances after Countdown's shelves were hit by a meat shortage this weekend. 

Around 147 stores were affected following an IT fault at a new meat processing plant, one staff member told RNZ. 

The affected stores should receive their deliveries by the end of today.

6.45pm:  Thousands of pets are currently stuck with their owners in lockdown tonight, including 150 pageant 'show cats' who were meant to be competing in the South Island nationals in Christchurch this weekend.

While some felines are more than content to be swapping the catwalk for the sofa, others need to get creative to fulfill their need for non-stop attention.

6.38pm: Drone footage supplied to 1 NEWS shows a long queue of cars snaking across a park for Covid-19 testing in Auckland's Takanini today.

6.25pm:  Supermarkets, dairies and retail stores will not be forced to comply with mandatory scanning rules announced today.

Hipkins told 1 NEWS this afternoon in a statement that while the requirement had been under consideration for the retail sector, it was ultimately agreed that "the compliance burden for small businesses would be too onerous".

He said the Government's priority is in ensuring there is recordkeeping in locations where "mask wearing isn't practical", such as restaurants and large gatherings.

"Experience here and abroad shows that these are the settings that prove the greatest challenge for contact tracers."

6.22pm: One person had to be winched to safety after a lockdown mountain bike ride went awry yesterday. 

Medics, including the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, were called to the Craters of the Moon Mountain Bike Park located 5km north of Taupō around 12.45pm following the incident.

ACT is today proposing for the establishment of a Covid Tracer app lottery to encourage its use, party leader David Seymour said today in a press release.

It will alert users if they’ve been near someone that later tests positive to the virus.

"Instead of getting pinged to isolate, you might get pinged that you’ve won $1000," he said.

"ACT is proposing a $5.2 million fund. For each scan, the person would go into the draw to win $1000. There would be 100 prizes of $1000 a week.

"Anyone who scans in at the same place more than once in 15 minutes would be ineligible. Some people might try to record their location more often than they need to just to win the prize, great, it will be easier to trace their location if they are infected."

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has given Kiwis "something to laugh about" after making a hilarious gaffe during today's Covid-19 press conference.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield appeared equally amused at Hipkins' slip of the tongue.

5.24pm: There are now 282 locations of interest after two new locations were added. 

The locations are Koffee Bar West City Henderson and SuperValue Avondale.

More than 1500 people have been vaccinated at the country's largest drive-through vaccination site since it was set up at Auckland Airport's Park and Ride today.

"The drive-through will initially last for seven days with the focus on those people who need to be rebooked, any airport staff who have not yet been vaccinated and essential workers like those in our supermarkets, bus drivers and taxi drivers," Northern Region Health Coordination Centre programme director Matt Hannant said today in a statement.

The Holiday Inn Auckland Airport MIQ facility will be used "as a facility for close contacts from the community outbreak and symptomatic border cases line with advice from ARPHS," an MIQ spokesperson told 1 NEWS in a statement.

"There are 247 rooms at the Holiday Inn. We have contingency plans for further rooms to be made available for close contacts from the community outbreak if necessary."

4.19pm: More young families are seeking help amid the strain caused by the lockdown restrictions.

South Auckland-based South Seas Healthcare has handed out just over 300 food parcels in the first two days of Alert Level 4, Silao Vaisola-Sefo told RNZ.

He said South Seas is also trying to get devices to students in need.

4.10pm:  Officers have been putting notices on some vehicles in remote areas of the wider Wānaka region in a bid to deter people from undertaking potentially dangerous activities, Senior Sergeant John Fookes confirmed to 1 NEWS.

"We remind the public that these activities fall outside the permitted activities under the restrictions of Alert Level 4, and the potential for injury means emergency services are exposed to risk when they have to rescue people," he said.

"This is really concerning to police and breaches the Alert Level 4 restrictions and we urge people to keep their exercise close to home."

4.03pm: Any changes to alert levels will be announced at a post-Cabinet press conference at 4pm tomorrow. It was previously announced the decision would be released at 3pm.

MP Andrew Bayly has warned of "bedlam" at two community pop-up testing centres in Pukekohe this afternoon. 

"If you are not in the queue already it is highly UNLIKELY you will be tested today," Bayly said today on Facebook.

"If you come tomorrow please bring FOOD and WATER as the wait will be long."

Around 400 Countdown staff members are self-isolating due to Covid-19 exposures across 13 Auckland and Wellington stores, a Countdown spokesperson told 1 NEWS. 

"We’re expecting this number will continue to increase with a further five stores in Auckland noted as locations of interest and we are working through the impact of this now," the spokesperson said.

Three Auckland stores are currently closed for deep cleaning, and a further two will close at the end of the day due to low staff numbers and "needing to manage our team across as many stores as we can".

The stores affected include Manukau, Māngere East, Greenlane, Victoria Street West in the Auckland CBD and Grey Lynn.

Countdown's Botany, Birkenhead, Glenfield, Albert Street Metro and Halsey Street Metro stores remain closed at this stage.

Countdown Māngere Mall will also be temporarily closed from 6pm tonight until Wednesday, September 1 while a number of staff members self-isolate after two local schools were listed as locations of interest.

New locations of interest have been included on the Health Ministry website, including Farro and Countdown in Grey Lynn, and Kmart St Lukes. 

New World Papatoetoe and Countdown Māngere East have also been included. 

Munchy Mart, located on the University of Auckland's city campus, has also been added to the list.

Nearly 2000 students and staff at Pukekohe High School are being considered close contacts of a staff member who last night tested positive for Covid-19, principal Richard Barnett said today in a statement.

All staff and students were in school on Monday, August 16 and Tuesday, August 17 must be tested and self-isolate for 14 days from the time time of exposure. 

Family members of staff and students must self-isolate until after the contact has received a day 5 test result. 

"The positive case in our community will cause some understandable anxiety and concern – we have all seen how fast this outbreak has grown since last Tuesday evening," Barnett told 1 NEWS in an email.

"But we are being well supported by ARPHS and our community will rally together and support each other."

Three people are being urgently sought by contact tracers after using a public walkway near the Crowne Plaza on August 12, acccording to RNZ. 

They had used the walkway at the same time the person believed to be the source of the current outbreak was moved into the MIQ facility. 

3.01pm: All prisoners should be vaccinated as soon as possible against Covid-19 due to it being a "high-risk environment", top epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told 1 NEWS. 

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Health decided to stop Covid-19 vaccinations for prisoners due to low vaccine stock.

"Internationally, prisons have been infamous for having really high rates of infection, so they’ve been a real problem."

So far, 3,782 prisoners have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination. Of those, 983 prisoners have been fully vaccinated.

The Ministry of Health's list of locations of interest have been updated to include the relevant dates and times a University of Auckland student ate in the Waipārūrū dining hall before testing positive for Covid-19.

The student ate in the hall on Friday, August 13 through to Tuesday, August 17. The student was in the location from 6pm to 7pm on all of the days barring Saturday, when they dined from 4.30pm to 5.15pm.

2.31pm: A third AUT student has this afternoon tested positive for Covid-19, according to an email sent out to students.

The student is based on the North and City campuses. 

The student was on the North Campus' AL2 Library study space from 10.42am to 3pm, and a PSYC706 lecture in AA234 on Monday, August 16. 

They were also on the City Campus' WA4 Tech Central from 11.41am to 3pm, and a PSYC781 lecture in WG801/802 from 2pm to 4.50pm on Tuesday, August 17.

Police also received a total of 4487 105-online breach notifications, Coster said.

Of that number, 2550 were about a gathering, 1542 were about a business, and 395 were about a person.

Meanwhile, 174 infringements have been issued by police nationwide as of 5pm yesterday. Police began issuing infringements for Covid-related breaches from August 19.

"Overall, Police are encouraged to see how well people are behaving across the country but there is a small number of people who are continuing to flout the rules," Coster said.

Twenty-three people have been charged with a total of 27 offences nationwide as of 5pm yesterday since Alert Level 4 restrictions came into effect at 11.59pm on Tuesday, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said today in a press release.

"These arrests are primarily the result of protest activity."

Of the 27 charges filed, 14 are for failing to comply with Covid-19 orders; 11 are for failing to comply with direction, prohibition or restriction; and two are for Health Act breaches.

Sixty-five people were issued with formal warnings in the same period, he said. 

Of that number, 22 were for failing to comply with Covid-19 orders; 16 for failing to comply with direction, prohibition or restriction; and 27 for Health Act breaches.

2.12pm: ACT leader David Seymour says while he's pleased to see scanning in being made mandatory across all alert levels, "the onus shouldn’t be on businesses to enforce it".

"Has Government considered the Health and Safety risks if a staff member asks someone to scan and they become aggressive? Will business owners, as Persons Conducting a Business Undertaking, need a plan to meet their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act?" Seymour said today in a statement.

"The onus should be on individuals to follow the rules, and ultimately Government to enforce them, not businesses who are under enough pressure already."

2.06pm: Thousands of appointments are available next week for vaccines at the Trafalgar Centre vaccination centre in Nelson and Stadium 2000 centre in Blenheim, according to Nelson Marlborough Health.

Vaccines are also being offered to people in the region aged 30 to 39 ahead of the nationwide roll-out.

"If you are 30-39, use the code we texted or emailed you this weekend when you book online or phone 0800 28 29 26," Nelson Marlborough Health's Cathy O’Malley said.

"If you didn't get a text or email and are aged 30-39 call 0800 28 29 26 and the booking team will be able to get you an appointment."

Sense Partners economist Rosie Collins this morning told Q+A the wage subsidy is an essential component in ensuring people lock down safely.

"Something like 40 per cent of New Zealand households don’t have any basic savings, so less than $1,000 in the bank at any one time. And if you don’t pay people to stay home, or subsidise their loss of income, people just won’t."

1.52pm: Hipkins says while it's unknown at this stage how long Alert Level 4 restrictions will apply across the country, regional boundaries are a possibility "so not everyone will stay in the same alert level right the way through". 

Any changes in alert level will be announced in a 3pm press conference tomorrow after Cabinet.

Hipkins called on Kiwis to resist to urge to break Level 4 lockdown rules.

"Please, stay in your bubble. You just nee to look across to our friends in Australia to see how people flouting the rules can drive ongoing transmission within the community. That would keep extending lockdown further, as it has done in Australia.

"If we all stay in our bubbles, if we all resist the urge to travel unless it's essential - however tempting it might be - then we can all contribute to getting through this."

New South Wales today recorded 830 new cases.

Recordkeeping with the Covid-19 Tracer app or manually signing in will be mandatory for most evnts and businesses at all alert levels, Hipkins announced. 

"The obligation will be on the person responsible for the place or the gathering to ensure that people scan or sign in," he said.

"This will become effective seven days after any change in alert level settings that might allow more businesses to open or gatherings to go ahead, to give people time to get their systems in place."

1.32pm: Several cases announced today are linked to a church service at the Samoan Assembly of God Church in Auckland's Māngere last Sunday, August 15.

Anyone at the church between 9am and 3pm have been advised to self-isolate from the date of exposure and be tested immediately or on days 5 and 12.

1.27pm: Several locations - prior to August 7 - which had previously been removed were re-added before being taken down again as they "are no longer of concern".

1.25pm: From today, new locations of interest will be published every two hours. Significant or ugent locations of interest will be published immediately.

1.16pm: The number of contacts have increased "significantly". As of 9am today, 8667 individuals have been formally identified and the figure is expected to grow throughout the day.

All individuals who have been contacted are considered close contacts, Dr Bloomfield said.

Of that figure, 4124 have been formally followed up, are self-isolating and have returned a test. 

1.14pm: Dr Bloomfield says 61 of the cases have now been confirmed as being part of the Auckland cluster, while the remaining 11 is under investigation but initial assessments indicate an "obvious link". 

1.09pm: There are 21 new cases in the community to announce today, according to Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Twenty are in Auckland and one is in Wellington. 

This brings the total number of cases in the community outbreak to 72.

1 million New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated, according to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.   

12.43pm: The Ministry of Health's list of locations of interest have been updated. There are now 263 locations of interest after some were dropped due to no longer being relevant.  

12.28pm: The testing station located at the Pukekohe Showgrounds will open today from 2pm to 6pm, and tomorrow from 8.30am to 5pm, according to ARPHS. 

A full list of testing stations around the Auckland region can be found at the ARPHS website.

12.13pm: Two pop-up testing stations have been set up for Pukekohe High School students, staff and their close contacts after a positive case was reported in the community last night. 

The testing stations are located at the Pukekohe A&P Showgrounds and Seddon Medical Centre on 13 Hall Street.

Students and staff are required to bring the letter emailed out yesterday by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service when they go to get tested.

11.55am: Auckland and Wellington airports have now been listed as locations of interest. It comes after two Air NZ flights - NZ 443 from 4.30 to 5.30pm on Thursday and NZ445 from 5pm to 6pm on Sunday - carried infected passengers. 

11.30am: The Ministry of Education has provided guidance for essential workers who need help with childcare. 

11.20am: David Seymour has come out swinging after Chris Hipkins told Q+A with Jack Tame "all of our existing protections start to look less adequate and less robust" because of Delta. 

"Hipkins showed us this morning what a reactive Minister out of his depth looks like," Seymour said in a statement. "We need a proactive response from Government so we're not put in this situation again."

"This is simply not good enough ... the Government has wallowed in dismissive complacency."

11am: As well as schools and churches, a number of businesses have been hit by having an employee pick up Covid-19. The latest is Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. The worker was last on site on Thursday this week after working a night shift in the Stewart Building facility in East Tamaki.

10.50am: In the interests of Covid safety, Auckland Transport has adjusted all pedestrian crossings in the central city and near malls to automatic timings.  

10.20am: There are fears y esterday's protests against lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne will lead to more Covid infections. There were over 800 new cases in NSW reported yesterday - the worst day of their outbreak. There could be more disorder today.

10am: There are now seven schools with cases linked to them: Pukekohe High School, Western Springs College, Avondale College, Northcote College, Lynfield College, McAuley High School and De La Salle College. There are reports of a large numbers of cars turning up for testing at Bruce Pullman Park, following the Pukekohe case. 

9.35am: Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Q+A with Jack Tames Aucklanders should prepare for an extension to lockdown. He wasn't quite so firm when speaking about the rest of the country. Read the full story here

9.20am:  The Government is restarting childcare for workers in Alert Level 4. Workers who have children aged up to 13 years old can access free care, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced this morning.

9am: Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Wellington today.