Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Ministry to provide update on cases, Katikati outbreak

The Ministry of Health is set to announce whether there are any more cases around Covid-19 hotspots in Auckland, Waikato – and now Bay of Plenty.

Thirty-four new cases were announced yesterday; 31 are in Auckland and three are in Waikato – all cases in Waikato are linked while 11 cases in Auckland are yet to be linked.

The Government moved Northland from alert level 2 to alert level 3 in a sudden announcement last night, after an Auckland woman who had visited Northland tested positive for the coronavirus.

A person, believed to be a truck driver, is also in hospital in Palmerston North with Covid-19.

Katikati has also been put into the spotlight overnight after a Pukekohe person – who was fully vaccinated – who was in the middle of shifting to a rural area north of Katikati also tested positive.

Several testing stations have since been set up and are operating this morning as well as a vaccination centre.

Western Bay of Plenty mayor Garry Webber said the health board called him about half an hour before the news broke this evening and his first reaction was “oh s***”.

Last night, Tauranga MP Simon Bridges also tweeted his concerns about the case, wondering how somebody was able to move towns during Auckland’s L3 alert level when grieving families are still not allowed to see each other.

Just under half of Katikati residents are fully vaccinated, according to Ministry of Health suburb data: 49.5 per cent have two doses and 77.5 per cent have one.

The person’s test result had a high CT value usually seen in the early or late stage of infection and was under further investigation, including a repeat test, the ministry said.

The infected person has been granted an exemption to cross the boundary in and out of Auckland as they were in the process of shifting house.

As part of that process, the person had been having regular surveillance testing – at least five tests have been taken since the beginning of September, with the most recent prior test on October 5. All five of those tests were negative.

The individual who returned the positive result is fully vaccinated and has reported no symptoms, aside from seasonal hayfever.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had also had to speak out about concerns and controversy around the Northland case, trying to dampen down allegations made by NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Speaking to multiple media outlets today, the former deputy prime minister claimed the woman had gang connections and travelled through Auckland’s border to the Bay of Islands and back.

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He said there are more details that officials know and should have been made public.

But Ardern said there was “no evidence” to back up some of the claims that have been circulating online and the Government was not withholding any vital information.

“As we’ve had information about their movements, we’ve released them. But this is a case where the individual, despite the involvement of the police, has not been forthcoming and that is why we took a very precautionary approach, and that was the right one.

“What we do know from video and CCTV footage is that the individual in question was travelling with a woman.”

“My understanding is that police have identified that individual and is working hard to locate them.”

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