INDEPENDENT NEWS

Watch: PM Jacinda Ardern announces decision on alert levels for Auckland, rest of New Zealand

Published: Mon 21 Sep 2020 01:13 PM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is announcing whether alert levels will change after Cabinet reviewed them today, and is joined by Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.
Watch the announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield from around 1pm:
Dr Bloomfield said there were no new cases of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand today.
Dr Bloomfield said the case over the weekend of the returnee who tested positive after being released from managed isolation should be commended for his actions for remaining alert to his health and self-isolating.
"This is exactly the sort of vigilance that will help us keep ahead of the virus."
Yesterday there were four new cases of the coronavirus in New Zealand - two in the community and two imported cases. The two community cases are connected to a returnee who was identified on Saturday. The person was diagnosed after completing the 14-day managed isolation.
Dr Bloomfield said the origin of the man's infection was still being investigated.
Three neighbours of the man - who were identified as closed contacts - have so far tested negative, he says. There were 86 people on the charter flight the man took from Christchurch to Auckland - all were returnees who had completed their managed isolation period.
They are being contacted and reassessed. Those who sat in the first nine rows, nearest to the man, have been asked to self-isolate, and testing for those people is underway.
The Auckland August cluster linked to Americold currently had 33 active cases, but has not reported a new case in the past week.
Experts differ on whether Auckland should move down an alert level. However, professors Michael Baker and Shaun Hendy both agree that there should be additional testing after leaving managed isolation facilities.
Auckland has been at a bolstered alert level 2, with extra restrictions placed on social gatherings, funerals and tangihanga.
Cabinet had agreed in principle to ease the city's rules on gatherings at 11.59pm on Wednesday 23 September, subject to confirmation today.
For the rest of the country, the provisional decision was to move down to level 1 from midnight tonight.

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