New Zealand

Covid-19 alert level restrictions extended across New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland will remain at level 2.5 and the rest of the country at level 2.

Cabinet will review Auckland's alert level settings on Monday 21st September.

"With a view to increase gathering limits for Auckland if we are in a similar position of containing the cluster, if the change is agreed on, it will come into effect on the 23rd of September," says Ardern.

Giant wasp nest in NZ took two years to reach final size

The nest, originally the size of a two-person tent, was discovered in the Karekare beach area of the regional park.

Hanging high in a tree, the nest is built from a collection of sticks, bark and leaves.

Auckland Council said it would have been home to tens of thousands of wasps.

The nest is believed to have been expanding for up to two years to its final size of about 1m x 2m x 2.5m.

Two new Covid-19 cases reported in New Zealand today

There was no media conference today.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said both of today's new cases had an epidemiological link to an existing case and they were both associated with the bereavement events sub-cluster that was linked to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group.

The ministry said one of the new cases is a student at Sunnyvale School in Henderson.

Auckland councillor Efeso Collins calls for amnesty for people with expired visas

 

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said the government would not use any information collected through testing for immigration purposes.

"Regardless of your personal circumstances, if you're asked to get a test or you're in that group that's at greater risk, we won't use that information to punish you in some other way - and I can't state that enough," Hipkins said.

However Collins, who represents Manukau ward, said Pacific people remained fearful of getting tested because of what had happened historically to people who overstayed their visas, such as dawn raids.

New Zealand reports 11 new community cases, two in managed isolation

There were also two new cases in managed isolation.

There was no media conference today. In a written statement, the Health Ministry said 10 of the new community cases were clearly epidemiologically linked to the Auckland cluster.

It said six cases were linked to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Church, including four within the same household and two who attended church services.

Four other cases are contacts of previously reported confirmed cases.

Covid testing will not lead to penalties for invalid visa holders - NZ govt

Hundreds of seasonal workers have been stranded in New Zealand over recent months, some with expiring visas.

Pacific leaders had already raised concern about those with uncertain immigration status missing out on assistance or healthcare because of fear of being discovered.

However the minister, Chris Hipkins, encouraged them to get tested for Covid-19 if they needed to.

"We will not use the information collected through the Covid-19 testing process for other purposes, including for immigration purposes," Mr Hipkins said.

Seven new cases of COVID-19 in the community in NZ today

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there were no new cases to report from managed isolation.

The one new case that remains under investigation is in addition to the one case yesterday that is being investigated.

"But in both cases we feel quite confident that they will be linked to the outbreak."

He said 54 people linked to the cluster have been moved to a quarantine facility, including 24 of the people who have tested positive.

The seven new cases reported today bring the total number of confirmed cases to 1258.

Three new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today

There are now 25 active cases in New Zealand, all in quarantine.

Two of today's new cases were in managed isolation in Waikato and the third in Canterbury.

The first case is a man in his 30s who arrived in New Zealand on 14 July from Afghanistan flying via Doha, while the other Waikato case is another man in his 30s who arrived on the same day on a fight from Pakistan via Dubai.

Both positive results were from day three tests. The two men - and the family of one of them - have been transferred from Waikato to the Auckland quarantine facility.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern outlines what's next in COVID-19 response

Jacinda Ardern has laid out Cabinet's plan this morning for if Covid-19 manages to slip through the border and break out in the community.

Speaking at Parliament, she said if community cases emerged, the government would impose restrictions locally or regionally in the first instance, rather than nationwide.

"Our priority will be to control any cases with the least intrusive measures, and over the smallest area we can," she said.

One new case of COVID-19 in New Zealand on Tuesday

In a statement, the Ministry said today's case is a woman in her 60s who arrived in New Zealand on 30 June from Pakistan via Doha and Sydney.

She has been in managed isolation at the Novotel in Christchurch, and tested negative at her first test around day 3 of her stay, then tested positive around day 12 of her stay in isolation.

The ministry said the case emphasises why people need to be tested twice during their time in managed isolation.