Tighter restrictions possible after Covid spreads at four workplaces

Katie Bradford
Source: 1News

People have contracted Covid-19 at four workplaces, with the Government warning tighter restrictions could be on the way.

The PM says those four workplaces where covid has been transmitted are not customer facing, but may be in places such as packaging or logistics.

The infectiousness of Delta is causing concern about the number of workplaces operating, with at least 73 of the 511 cases in the Delta outbreak are essential workers, it has been confirmed. 

MBIE data shows 529,000 people are physically at work under level four and with much of the country heading to level three this week, over a million people may be back in the workplace.

The Prime Minister says those four workplaces where Covid has been transmitted are not customer facing, but may be in places such as packaging or logistics.

“We need to cast our eyes over this with a Delta lens, do we need to change that up?”

Jacinda Ardern says it may not be on the factory floor, but before or after shifts or at morning tea breaks.

“If we need to tighten up restrictions further, we will.”

Asked if that means a level 4.5, she wouldn’t commit either way.

“We may see too many businesses operating outside the rules that are there.

Police have had a number of complaints about businesses since lockdown began.

And it may see businesses operating at level three face tighter restrictions too.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says at the moment, the key thing is that people at work use masks and maintain a two-metre distance wherever possible.

The Prime Minister says the government is seeking further advice.

“The greatest risk will be ensuring people from level four environments into an area, where there’ll be a level three.”

It comes as 83 new cases were recorded Sunday, 496 cases are now in Auckland, 15 in Wellington. 

By 10.00am Sunday, health officials had identified 32,000 contacts. Of those, over 80 per cent had been followed up and more than 85 per cent had a test so far.

Ardern says health officials have worked out transmission has occurred at 21 locations of interest to date.

A total of 25 people's exposure events were outside of the household, "generally [at] essential worksites" and generally not customer-facing.

Ardern says she's asked health officials to investigate that final point further "so we can assess whether our level 4 rules on who is operating is being adhered to, and whether our public health protocols for those businesses that are operating are fit for purpose".

Applications for workers who need to cross the border between alert levels opened at midday today – but MBIE is warning there will be very strict criteria.