This story originally appeared on RNZ website and is republished with permission
Auckland will remain in alert level three for a full two weeks, with the government announcing that the country will remain at current Covid-19 alert levels for 12 more days.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield have announced the decision at a briefing at the Beehive theatrette.
Watch the PM’s announcement live here:
The government is attempting to get things back on track after the 102 days without community transmission came to an abrupt end on Tuesday. In less than 24 hours Auckland was in level 3 lockdown and the rest of the country had moved to level 2.
The prime minister said there were signs the latest cluster has been found “early in its life”.
The earliest case to date is a worker at Americold who first become sick on 31 July.
“It’s the earliest sign of the re-emergence.”
The source was still not clear, Ardern said, but genome sequencing ” suggests it is not a case of the virus being dormant or of a burning ember in our community, it appears to be new to New Zealand”.
Todays briefing comes in the wake of Dr Bloomfield’s announcement earlier today that there are another 12 new cases and one probable case of Covid-19 in Auckland and Waikato.
There are now a total of 48 active cases, with 30 linked to the community outbreak first identified in a family in South Auckland. The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand is now 1251.
Two of the 13 new cases are in Tokoroa.
Bloomfield said 12 of the 13 new cases had already been linked to existing cases and to the South Auckland cluster. The 13th case is in hospital and the link is still under investigation.
Two more schools and a preschool in Auckland have closed, after a student in each tested positive. The schools are Glamorgan School on the North Shore and South Auckland’s Southern Cross campus, and Taeaofou I Puaseisei Preschool.
A student at Mt Albert Grammar School has also tested positive, it was announced yesterday.
Earlier today Health Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand was not in a position where it needed to go into level 4 lockdown because at this stage only one cluster had been identified.
The spread of the virus, the number of new cases and the amount of testing would all be considered in the decision, Hipkins said.
Bloomfield said a record 15,703 tests were processed yesterday, with 26,000 tests taken in the past 48 hours.