Auckland will be out of Level 3 by Christmas - Ardern

Source: 1News

Jacinda Ardern believes Aucklanders won't be living under the current Covid-19 Alert Level 3 restrictions at Christmas.

The Prime Minister's comments come as some Covid-19 modelling experts doubt whether the city will be out of Level 3 by December.

On Tuesday on Breakfast Ardern acknowledged Aucklanders had "been doing it tough" over the past few weeks as it will have been at least 76 days in lockdown by the next alert level review in two weeks time.

When Breakfast host Matty McLean asked Ardern, "are we going to be out of this by Christmas?" Ardern said, "yes".

"I believe so yes but of course as I've said, that's been my absolute focus for a long time," she told Breakfast.

"Aucklanders have been doing it tough, they have been carrying a huge load and we need to demonstrate that it can be different with vaccines."

"We’ve always said that. The reason we used lockdowns before is because we didn’t have any other tool. With vaccines we do, so now we need to demonstrate how the world will be different once we have high vaccination rates.”

Canterbury University Covid-19 modeller Professor Michael Plank said last week that virus numbers indicate a doubling in cases every 12 to 14 days. 

He warned that if that trend continues, New Zealand may see roughly 150 cases daily by early November. 

Fellow modeller Professor Shaun Hendy agreed with Plank's analysis, adding that vaccination rates improving is vital to preventing that rapid rise continuing. 

"Numbers are trending up, that's been a long term trend over a couple of weeks," he told Breakfast on Tuesday. 

"The thing that people like me are worried about at the moment, is the capacity of our health system to deal with cases."

Hendy added that whether Auckland is kept in lockdown into December is dependent on the Government's strategies moving forward. 

He said rising rates of unlinked Covid-19 cases were a cause for concern as contact tracers struggle to keep up with their movements. 

"If we see more rapid growth and cases getting way ahead of our contact tracers. This is really going to push this into the Christmas period, unfortunately."