Hamilton, parts of Waikato join Auckland at Alert Level 3

Source: 1News

Some areas of Waikato will join Auckland at Alert Level 3 after two community cases  of Covid-19 were found in the region.

An aerial photo of Hamilton.

The areas include Raglan, then covering down south to Te Kauwhata, Huntly, Ngaruawahia, and Hamilton.

These areas will be under Level 3 restrictions from 11.59pm on Sunday. The news comes ahead of the Government's alert level decision for Auckland planned for Monday.

"In terms of management of the boundary in this case, Auckland's boundary will remain in place as it stands," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

"For these new Hamilton areas, there will be spot checks around these boundary areas but it will not be the same as the hard boundary we've been operating for the Auckland outbreak. The reason for that is simply a practical one, the Hamilton area simply has too many feeder roads for us to successfully operate a hard boundary around the outskirts of the area.

"So we ask people please to maintain compliant and there will be spot checks in place."

Ardern asked anyone who can to work from home across these areas to do so.

The level restrictions are intended to apply for the next five days before being assessed.

"This is the same approach we took when cases emerged in the Upper Hauraki area," she said.

"It gives us the opportunity to contact trace and widely test in the coming days to assess if the virus has spread widely.

"If you live in these areas or have visited these areas and are experiencing even mild symptoms please do get a test."

New Waikato cases 

One case is in Raglan and the other is in Hamilton East, the ministry confirmed in a statement on Sunday morning.

In total there were 33 new Covid-19 cases reported in New Zealand in the community on Sunday, the figure does not include the Hamilton East case though.

The Raglan case and their household contacts are currently self-isolating.

The second case is a known contact of the Raglan case and was tested after becoming unwell.

This person, who lives in Hamilton East, was transferred to Waikato Hospital where they are being treated for Covid-19 related symptoms.

Their household contacts are also currently self-isolating.

The Ministry of Health said any potential links to the Auckland outbreak are being worked through.

"Testing is not my only request for those who live in this area (of Waikato) or indeed those who live anywhere in Auckland, it is not a coincidence that those in our current outbreak have not been vaccinated," Ardern said.

"Those who have not had a vaccine in New Zealand are currently in the minority but they are the vast majority of our cases, that is because the vaccine works but it is also because the virus is literally finding unvaccinated people.

"Vaccination makes a difference, it keeps people safe, but it also gives us choices."

Ardern said if there was a vaccination rate at 90 per cent or above in either Hamilton or Raglan it would be "highly unlikely" the areas would be moving to Level 3 on Sunday night.

In Waikato, as of September 27, 39 per cent of the population had been fully vaccinated.

"While we are still vaccinating we have fewer choices in how we react to cases," Ardern said.

"Please, get vaccinated today if you want to avoid Level 3 in your community, and we can avoid it in the future.

"I know some people are nervous about the vaccine and are wanting to wait a bit longer to see what happens. I understand, it's natural to have questions but I can assure you the vaccine is safe and the experience is friendly and supportive."

The rest of the country remains at Alert Level 2.