Announcement at 5:30 pm on Covid lockdowns

Cabinet will meet at 3 pm today to consider the latest information regarding this week’s Covid outbreak and will make a decision on whether lockdowns will continue or be lifted.

Then at 5:30 pm the prime Minister will make an announcement advising us what we will be allowed to do this weekend and in the weeks ahead.

Currently Auckland is in level 3 lockdown, and the rest of the country is in level 2 lockdown.

Yesterday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said:

After 102 days we have our first cases of Covid-19 outside of a Managed Isolation or Quarantine facility in New Zealand.

Actually that’s inaccurate. It is obvious we had community cases before the 100 days was up, it just wasn’t detected and announced until 102 days.

While we have all worked incredibly hard to prevent this scenario, we have also planned and prepared for it.

We have a resurgence plan that we will now activate.

At this stage, we have not yet been able to determine the source of the case. There is no immediate link to an MIQ facility that we are yet aware of, or to border staff.

Therefore we need to take a much more precautionary approach until we can find the source and access the risk of wider spread.

One of the most important lessons we’ve learned from overseas is the need to go hard and go early to stamp out flare ups to avoid the risk of wider outbreak.

As disruptive as it is, a strong and rapid health response remains the best long term economic response.

Ardern also said that she expects case numbers to rise before things improve.

This all suggests that extending the lockdowns if not increasing the lockdown levels looks likely, in Auckland at least.

On 15 July Ardern announced Next steps in COVID response

Experts tell us that even with the best precautions possible, the chances of the virus passing from a surface, or contact with someone who is a carrier are high.

We must prepare now for that eventuality and have a plan at the ready in the event that it does.

The first thing we need to do is continue to ensure our border and our managed isolation facilities stay as tight as they can be.

Not tight enough as this week has shown.

The first thing to note is that the Government’s strategy for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic remains elimination. That has not and will not change.

…So in the event of new community cases we would move immediately to implement our “Stamp it Out” approach again.

So drastic lockdowns can be expected.

But this time it could be on a regional basis.

Let me run through what each scenario might look like.

First a contained case or cases within a community.

We would be looking at applying strong restrictions but only applied locally in a neighbourhood, town or city to contain the virus and stopping it spread.

We would likely remain at Alert Level 1 nationally.

The local measures to contain the case would involve rapid contact tracing and isolation of cases and their contacts, scaled up and targeted testing of people connected to the case, such as workmates, those they live with or those in their neighbourhood.

The point with this scenario is we would look at act hard and fast, but local in an attempt to ring fence the virus. 

The second scenario is a large cluster within a region.

Here, a significant increase in testing would be the priority. We would look to undertake much wider community testing, on top of testing any contacts or potential contact of those with the virus. This could look like it did in Victoria where health staff went door to door to test people in affected areas.

We would also take steps to stop the spread to other parts of the country so a regional shift in Alert Level would likely be applied that restricted travel. This would mean travel in or out of the city, town or region could be stopped, people in that place asked to work from home, and local restrictions on gatherings implemented.

The aim here is to contain the spread away from other areas to avoid the whole country having to put in place restrictions so we can remain at Alert Level 1 nationally, depending on the evidence of risk of spread outside the region.

The final scenario is if multiple clusters, spread nationally.

In this scenario we would most likely apply a nationwide increase in Alert Level to stop transmission.

With the news this morning of cases around Auckland I think we will be at the second scenario unless there are positive cases found outside Auckland.

From yesterday’s media conference:

Dr Bloomfield says at this stage it is not thought necessary to expand restrictions, despite the movements of positive cases to Waikato, Rotorua and Taupō.

“At this point in time it seems very very clear that the focus of the outbreak is in Auckland.”

So currently (before today’s news becomes known) it looks likely Auckland will stay at level 3 lockdown at least, probably for weeks.

If no cases are found outside Auckland the rest of the country may be able to remain in level 2, or possible drop back to level 1 but I suspect that is unlikely.

If cases are found in Waikato, Taupo or Rotorua where people now tested positive have visited in the weekend than the Auckland lockdown may me widened to central North island or even the North Island.

And there is a possibility that people exposed to Covid have travelled around the country and spread it more widely.

We will find out later today what we can do in the weekend, but things are changing quickly so that could be reviewed again soon.

Uncertain times are back.


From The Bulletin (The Spinoff):

Could a full-blown level four lockdown happen? It exists as an option that can be used if necessary, but at this stage seems unlikely. That’s based on comments from finance minister Grant Robertson, who last night told Three show The Project “we’ve got no plans to go to level 4 at this stage. As long as everyone does the right thing in Auckland, at level 3 and around the rest of the country in level 2, then we should be able to get on top of this outbreak.”

Leave a comment

40 Comments

  1. John J Harrison

     /  14th August 2020

    Correction Pete, the rest of the country are at level 2. Not 4.
    However, that may be the case later today !
    Good for you for pointing out another untruth from Ardern.
    This virus was lurking around Auckland throughout the 102 days of so-called virus free days.
    Can the Ardern fans kindly advise how two passengers who lived in Auckland flew AKL to SYD with COVID which was picked up by alert Australian health professionals at Sydney airport but not here where Ardern proclaimed we had the worlds “ gold standard “ for tracing ?

    Reply
    • Thanks, I’ve corrected that mistake.

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  14th August 2020

      Health officials are…human…too.

      Reply
      • John J Harrison

         /  14th August 2020

        Blazer, true but in Australia they were successful in identifying 2 New Zealanders at the border with COVID.
        Our Director General of Health has been caught out lying ( along with Ardern ) and is absolutely incompetent.
        How else do you explain the fact that 2/3 of our border staff have NEVER in 19 weeks had a first test for COVID.
        He is nothing but a Labour fan boy who I hope is dismissed immediately by Collins on 20/09.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  14th August 2020

          People are doing their best in a crisis situation.

          You can put anybody under the microscope and find fault if you are…inclined.

          Try being objective ,you are living in a blurry,blue haze.

          Reply
          • John J Harrison

             /  14th August 2020

            Blazer, so what is your defense for our highly paid Ardern and Bloomfield to openly lie when our health and economy are at risk ?
            Or is that what you expect from Labour and their decreasing number of fans ?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  14th August 2020

              I do not believe they lied.

              You and me know Collins lied….and said because she raised her eyebrow we should have known she did not .

            • ‘Me’ doesn’t know that she lied; she didn’t.

              You shouldn’t take everything literally. Look at the context.

  2. Patzcuaro

     /  14th August 2020

    Does the current outbreak raise questions as to whether the person, who traveled from NZ to Korea on July 21 and tested positive on arrival after a stop over in Singapore, may have actually caught the virus here?

    Reply
  3. BobJ

     /  14th August 2020

    The Government has spectacularly dropped the ball and made this second outbreak worse, reports that large number of those working in quarantine facilities NEVER tested for weeks! (WTF?!?).

    Lost 100+ days to get the tracing app sorted, should have been wall to wall adverts, announcements, flyers, tracing bar code’s posted everywhere – bus stops, buses, petrol stations, every business, a sticker for every house, enforcement of app usage. A massive mask making operation, packs of masks for every household and business, roving ‘Mr Whippy’ mask distribution vans on the streets (all of which would cost a fraction of the half a billion a week this new lock down is going to cost in just Auckland).

    The Government by its inaction and lack of public leadership has lead to a public complacency that everything is all right and we can return to ‘normal’ like C19 is not happening here, it is, and we cant.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  14th August 2020

      You’ve made some good points. Did we waste that 100 days? Should Chris Hipkins, the minister for just about everything, have been put in charge of health? Why wasn’t someone with more focus installed in the health portfolio? Education and health is too much in normal times, even more so today.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  14th August 2020

        In the Brave New World of Lefty media only approved questions may be asked. Examples of approved questions are:
        1. How soon can the election be held?
        2. When will the PM receive her Nobel Prize?
        3. When will Ashley Bloomfield be knighted?
        4. When will lockdown be extended to make us safe?
        5. Can our borders be closed completely?
        6. Can all immigration be stopped?

        I regret your questions can neither be asked nor answered.

        Reply
        • The PM was supposedly in line for the Peace Prize, but as the nominees’ names are confidential, no one could know this.

          The criteria for the Peace Prize are specific; bringing peace to warring nations and so on, so neither she nor Greta Thunberg would be eligible anyway.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  14th August 2020

            Peace prize criteria havent been rigidly adhered to for some decades

            Denis Mukwege (DRC), Nadia Murad (Iraq)-“for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as weapon of war and armed conflict.
            Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet-for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011″
            Kailash Satyarthi (India) and Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan)-for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
            Wangari Maathai (Kenya)-“for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, ecology and peace”
            Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank- for their efforts to create economic and social development from below”

            and famously in 2007
            Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold Gore Jr
            “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”
            https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_Peace_Prize_winners

            Its more important to have a winner each year than actually end a conflict
            Gretas unworthyness is only a small problem

            Reply
            • The word unworthiness was yours. I simply said that they didn’t fit the criteria.

              It’s like expecting a musician or scientist to win the Literature Prize.

  4. Gerrit

     /  14th August 2020

    In June alone there were 9000 international arrivals at Auckland Airport. Are we to believe each and every one was successfully quarantined plus tested twice before release?

    Are we to believe there was absolutely no cross contamination between arrivals and there gate keepers/ service staff?

    Download the excel file from here to see the numbers. Note it has not been updated for July. https://corporate.aucklandairport.co.nz/news/publications/monthly-traffic-updates

    Seems a lot of arrivals for a locked border.

    Reply
  5. artcroft

     /  14th August 2020

    Just been for a walk around the block in East Auckland. Funny what qualifies as essential workers this time. I saw newsletters being dropped in letterboxes, and renovations still get going flat stick with few masks in evidence.

    And economists are saying that it’s better to lock down as many times as necessary to eradicate the virus. Apparently predictions were off last time and we bounced back well. “You can’t lose the tourism sector twice” some nong was saying. Well you won’t be spending cash in Queenstown or Ruapehu this month. Nor in Rotorua or anywhere else that was making a come back. Lots of companies will refuse too restart in such uncertain times.

    I suspect predictions will be wrong again. You can snuff a candle once and it’ll often flare back up… but snuff it twice and it’s gone.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  14th August 2020

      Agree. This lockdown will hurt a lot more a lot more.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  14th August 2020

        aI predict an extension of L3.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  14th August 2020

          Auckland will be in lockdown for 6-8 weeks. If L4 the election will be delayed. If L3 most likely the election will eventually also have to be delayed. L3 likely to be imposed on the whole of the North Island if not immediately then soon.

          Reply
          • Gerrit

             /  14th August 2020

            If they did lock down for four to six weeks, an announcement on how people were going to be paid would need to be made at the same time. Either helicopter payments to all (would need to be at least $600 each per week) or another wage subsidy round.

            I don’t know if the state can keep funding a lockdown every time 15 people get the virus. On past performance every 100 days you would have 35 or 42 days lockdown.

            Not going to happen ad infinitum plus puts extreme faith on a vaccine cure. A vaccine that may not ever exist judging by the inability to create vaccines for other coronavirus flu’s.

            Worth a read

            https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2020-04-17/coronavirus-vaccine-ian-frazer/12146616.

            Reply
          • Blazer

             /  14th August 2020

            Incorrect…as usual.

            Reply
        • Blazer

           /  14th August 2020

          Correct…as usual.

          Reply
    • Pink David

       /  14th August 2020

      “And economists are saying that it’s better to lock down as many times as necessary to eradicate the virus. ”

      Who are these economists?

      Reply
        • Tom Hunter

           /  14th August 2020

          Will read the Stuff article in a bit but being an MSM source it’ll likely be as shallow as a bird bath.

          Far better, in-depth analysis here at the Croaking Cassandra blog, Evaluating Choices.

          Reply
        • Pink David

           /  14th August 2020

          Shamubeel Eaqub

          Ah, should have guessed.

          Reply
        • Tom Hunter

           /  14th August 2020

          Oh FFS….

          First off, has there ever been a decision or policy from Greens or Labour that Shamubeel Eaqub has rejected?

          Second, given that New Zealand is already well known for collecting data late and broad the fact is where still months away from having solid figures about even GDP losses, let alone the micro stuff of business failures and unemployment. Just as one example, we already have good data from European countries about their GDP stats through the 2nd quarter. By contrast we’re likely not going to know our 2ndQ stats for another few weeks.

          Third, it raises the question about this “international data” of which is written. Is there separate data gathering on the NZ economy that is being done by international groups? Most international stuff I’ve seen has been based on data produced by nations themselves, with exceptions only made for the likes of North Korea where external data estimates are likely to be better.

          Fourth, “If New Zealand loses control of the virus, that would be a game changer for the economy.” Why? If we “lost control” it would mean we’d suffer the same deaths as have been seen around the world: old people in LTC’s. Restrictions have negatuve economic impacts, but unless death won’t unless it occurs in the working (spending and consuming) population.

          For all the talk of GDP the Cassandra analysis uses QALY – which is cold-blooded but is the same measure that our Public Health System uses to decide which old people get surgery/medicine and hence which ones live or die.

          Apparently QALY was dumped in this case because the deaths of old people this time would be public with massive MSM coverage, as opposed to their deaths under normal conditions.

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  14th August 2020

            “By contrast we’re likely not going to know our 2ndQ stats for another few weeks.”

            Those numbers are not released until mid Sept. Shamubeel Eaqub seems to believe they will be far better than other countries have seen.

            I find the whole ‘control the virus’ thing fascinating. They really do all seem to believe this is something that is controlled.

            Reply
  6. Griff.

     /  14th August 2020

    As a long time member of this bog I find it strange that some one is getting an usual number of up votes for gibbering conspiracy nonsense.
    I am reminded of redbaiter and his wanking of up votes to make his nutbar opinions seem more supported than they are on both wale oil and kiwi blog.

    Reply
  7. MaureenW

     /  14th August 2020

    A sensible outcome .. a good decision in the circumstances.

    Reply
    • Yes, I think they have got the balance of caution while minimising restrictions, and also two weeks initial period makes sense.

      It helps that my weekend plans can proceed, hopefully.

      Reply
    • I agree, Maureen (don’t faint)

      It is a huge relief that we are not all in L4 again and that Auckland isn’t.

      Reply

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