Experts fear Auckland 'in trouble' as cases mount

Source: 1News

Health experts are concerned any drop in restrictions could come at a cost for Auckland, as Covid-19 cases continue to grow in the community. 

Dr Rawiri Jansen, clinical director for the National Hauora Coalition and epidemiologist Professor Rod Jackson are hoping for a "circuit breaker" to help stifle the city's outbreak.

Jansen noted that the raising daily infections and number of cases infectious while in the community are a concern and could continue if restrictions are eased. 

"I think we're in trouble in Auckland. I don't mean to ruin your Monday morning but we've got some work to do on this outbreak." 

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 15: A woman walks past vaccination advertising on October 15, 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand. Auckland remains at COVID-19 Alert Level 3 with residents only permitted to leave home for essential reasons. Cabinet will review alert level settings on Monday, with any easing of restrictions depending on vaccination rates and how fast the virus is spreading. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

He's wanting a tightening of restrictions, like Government has done in the past with a Level 4 lockdown, to help bring case numbers back under control.

"We shouldn't relax any of the controls, we should actually go for a circuit breaker." 

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has previously ruled out a move back to Level 4 but Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told Breakfast on Monday a Level 4 "circuit breaker" is being "actively considered".

Jackson says Auckland could benefit from a "Level 3 plus" instead. 

He added that the troubling situation in Auckland puts the entire nation at risk if the virus continues to seep into the community as seen in Northland and Waikato. 

"We're in trouble in Auckland. In fact, New Zealand is in trouble. 

Drive through vaccination community event in Auckland, September 25, 2021.

"As soon as we open up... you give Covid an inch and it will take a mile. It will go right through the community. 

Jackson told Breakfast he thinks the Government could introduce incentives to boost vaccinations by rewarding those in the community who are already vaccinated. 

Currently, Auckland sits just shy of having 90 per cent of the eligible population with at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

It's hoped the city will reach the milestone in coming days, with just 20,000 Aucklanders getting their first jab needed to hit 90 per cent. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to announce Cabinet's decision about Auckland, Northland and Waikato's lockdown at 4pm. The announcement will be livestreamed on TVNZ1, the 1News website and Facebook page. 

Monday's daily case numbers update will be released around 1pm in a written statement from the Ministry of Health.