Covid 19 coronavirus: Will lockdown be lifted? Cabinet decision on alert level downgrade

Auckland’s lockdown fate is set to be revealed by the Prime Minister after the Cabinet meeting to decide if alert level 3 lockdown should be lifted.

Jacinda Ardern will hold the briefing in the Beehive Theatrette at 4pm with director general of health Ashley Bloomfield.

Before Ardernannounce’s the alert level decision, Emergency Management Minister Kiri Allan will give a brief update on the tsunami threat.

Cabinet met at 2pm to assess whether Auckland can exit its alert level 3 lockdown this weekend and the rest of the country can move out of alert level 2.

Earlier today the Ministry of Health revealed for the fifth day in a row there were no new cases of Covid-19 in the community.

There were also no new cases in managed isolation facilities.

The alert levels have been in place since 6am on Sunday and were scheduled to last for seven days.

Adding to hopes the nation can move out of alert levels was the latest negative results from wastewater testing.

Samples taken on Wednesday from three Auckland sites, including Papatoetoe, have all come back negative for the virus. An additional sample was taken from a site closer to Papatoetoe on the same day and it also tested negative.

Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said Cabinet would consider up-to-the minute test results including the remaining tests from the likes of gym members connected to the latest cluster.

When asked why Auckland was still in lockdown after five days of zero cases, she said: “It’s important we took all of the health advice into account at the time when we went into lockdown. Remember there was a series of high-risk exposures we had to deal with.”

Asked by Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking whether she’d take the same approach again, she said: “Doing the same thing again is not how I choose to approach things. But you have to make sure at the end of an event you get all the data and see what you can learn.

“My part of this is to make sure we have used the contact tracing system as well as we can. We used it differently this time; there was a lot more focus on casual contact places, various places in the community.

“I’d like to see if that approach helped us reduce transmission or if we can alter our approach to casual contacts.”

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday said yesterday he was confident a “sharp perimeter” had been erected around the current outbreak.

The ministry said a plan had been put in place to monitor the two Papatoetoe students who refused to be tested.

“These students are being closely managed by Auckland public health officials,” it said.

Good progress had been made overall and that was because of the co-operation of the Papatoetoe High School community, the ministry said.

“All the outstanding Papatoetoe students have been contacted and retested and have all returned negative results.”

Source: Read Full Article