Monday 8 November, 4pm

At 11:59pm tomorrow night, Tuesday November 9, Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 step 2, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced this afternoon.

Waikato is already at Alert level 3 step 2, bringing these two regions into alignment.

The far north of Northland will move back to level 2 at 11:59 Thursday, November 11.

At Alert Level 3, step 2, shops can reopen as long as they maintain social distancing and staff and customers wear face masks. 

Many public facilities, such as libraries, museums and zoos, can also reopen, with the same need for masks and social distancing.

However, at the press conference, Ardern clarified that this does not include “event facilities” such as gyms and movie theatres.

The outdoor activities permitted will also expand:

  • Outdoor exercise classes can now expand to 25 people.
  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people can now include more than two households. 

Ardern said this decision had been based on reduced transmission outdoors, as well as the ongoing mental and emotional strain of lockdown on Aucklanders, and the impact on businesses.

“We have high vaccination rates in Auckland, and that is substantial part of our consideration now,” Ardern said.

Over the weekend, Auckland hit 90 percent first dose, and 80 percent second dose, meaning it is now only a matter of weeks away from 90 percent double dose.”

Cabinet will next make alert level decisions on Monday, November 15 when the Waikato is due to be considered.

Based on current projections, with Auckland on track to make 90 percent double vaccinated this month, Ardern said Cabinet expects that Auckland will move to the traffic light Covid-19 system following the November 29 check-in. 

“Moving to the new framework at that time will mean certainty for Auckland. It will mean all businesses will be open and operate and we can manage all cases as safely as possible, but differently.”

“Our projections have shown us that cases will grow, but that is not our only consideration. We now also look to hospitalisations and ICU as a key consideration for the safety of New Zealanders, and those are within expectation - with ICU use being lower at this point.”

Six DHB’s have now hit 90 percent first dose - Auckland, Waitematā, Counties Manukau, Capital and Coast, Canterbury, and Southern. 

Nationally we are 33,316 doses off the remaining DHB’s reaching 90 percent. We have the capacity and doses to do that tomorrow, Ardern said.

Today, Medsafe also approved a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The approval was for administration of the booster for people aged 18 or older, and at least six months following the second dose.

The Covid-19 technical advisory group still needs to approve its use as a booster.

“Rest assured, we have the doses and the vaccinators to roll out as soon as our experts give us their final advice. Which we don’t believe will be too far away,” said Ardern. 

Monday 8 November, 1pm: 190 new cases, vaccinations at 89% first doses

There are 190 new community cases today, as well as the third possibly Covid-related death in a week - this time of a person in border isolation.

182 of the cases today are in Auckland, with seven in the Waikato and one in Northland.

80 of today’s cases have been linked, leaving the source of 110 to still be identified.

Despite wastewater in Gisborne and Napier testing positive for Covid over the weekend, no positive cases have emerged in either city. The Government is asking anyone with Covid symptoms in these areas, even mild, to get tested.

The Canterbury cluster has remained contained within the four initial cases.

The Ministry of Health announced this morning that there has been another potentially Covid-related death. A returnee in managed isolation died this morning. They had arrived in New Zealand on November 3 and returned a positive Covid test on day three of their isolation. The coroner will determine whether the death was Covid related.

The number of people hospitalised for Covid-19 increased by seven today, bringing the total to 81 with seven people in the ICU or high dependency units.

New Zealand is right on the edge of our 90 percent vaccination goal, with 89 percent of people having received their first dose. There were 3,272 first doses administered yesterday.  

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