From midnight tomorrow, Tāmaki Makaurau will remain at alert level 3 but the Aucklanders will see some restrictions relaxed.
Watch today’s Alert Level announcement :
The Prime Minister has set out a three-step roadmap for easing restrictions and outlined what will change from 11.59pm tomorrow.
The health director general said restrictions would ease in the region over four to eight weeks.
“I’m sure like everyone, especially in Auckland, we look forward to a summer where we can enjoy freedoms and our ticket to that is vaccination, so the next four to eight weeks in early December are critical to getting our vaccination rate up. “
Cabinet agreed the rest of New Zealand would remain at Alert Level 2 – the only change being the removal of the 100-person limit in reception places.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said from the start that the government described Delta as a game changer, “and it turned out to be the case. It was more contagious and more persistent … what we called a long tail. more like a tentacle that has been incredibly difficult to shake. “
The Cabinet asked, she said, how to make things a little easier and, together with the public health team, devised the roadmap.
“Science tells us that Covid has a hard time spreading outdoors… kids can have a play date in a park, friends can meet outside for a walk, a picnic or a beer.”
She says the “outside” part may not seem relevant, but it’s actually the most relevant part of all. “Keep him out”.
Ardern says the public health team believes that with the right precautions in place, the risk posed by reopening the ECE is low. This includes limits of 10 in an ECE bubble and strict infection control.
“To make sure this is done in the safest way possible, we are encouraging early childhood teachers to get tested alongside other Aucklanders who will be returning to work and we will be looking at options for more regular monitoring tests. but less invasive in the future. This is an added precaution and a recognition that children of this age cannot be vaccinated. “
Ardern says the public health advice is that these changes are unlikely to contribute to an uncontrolled growth of the epidemic. They are believed to make a material difference in the lives of the Aucklanders as well.
“Vaccines mean that in the future we can do things differently”
The continued increase in vaccination rates in Auckland will be part of the government’s decision to advance all three phases of this roadmap when Cabinet reviews it weekly.
This transition does not include a return to high-profile events in Auckland. Ardern says a more vaccinated population and vaccine certificates are the best way to get back to it, and the government is in conversation with affected sectors on how that might work. The government will review its plans for this diet next week.
Ardern says the restrictions prevented what could have been an exponential growth of the virus over several weeks.
She says the restrictions were the right choice, and the only choice at the time because of vaccination levels – 42 percent of Aucklanders had a dose of the vaccine and 25 percent of Aucklanders were fully vaccinated .
Over the next seven weeks, those numbers jumped to 84% and 52%, she says.
“The modeling is also telling us now that although we are still seeing cases, it is now 50% less than we would have seen without vaccination.”
She says the vaccinations mean that in the future we won’t need so many restrictions, but “we’re not there yet.”
For this outbreak, it’s clear that long periods of severe restrictions didn’t get us to zero cases, says Ardern, “but it’s okay. Elimination was important because we didn’t have vaccines, now we have some “.
She says we must continue to use the tools at our disposal, including immunization, testing, tracing, isolation and control of any epidemic now and in the future.
“It’s a change in approach that we were always going to make over time, but the Delta epidemic has accelerated that transition. The vaccines will support it,” she said.
Ardern says she knows the continued alert level restrictions are frustrating, especially in the South Island where no cases have been seen for some time, but it’s important to remember that these are the restrictions that prevented the virus from spreading further.
“Vaccines mean that in the future we can do things differently… but that means we need you to be vaccinated. I have heard people who are ready to be vaccinated say that they are waiting a bit. longer before making this choice.
“They might not be worried about immediate side effects, but they want to see long term health effects. I want to give you the reassurance you need that the vaccine is safe… I encourage you to have this conversation with your healthcare professional. “
“This is not an Auckland problem, but rather a solution that only the team of 5 million people can provide and we need everyone to play their part.”
Chief Health Officer Dr Ashley Bloomfield said in addition to today’s 29 new cases there are three other domestic cases linked to the Raglan case that will be included in tomorrow’s count as they have been entered into the system after 9 a.m.
Seven of today’s cases remain unrelated and nine of yesterday’s new cases remain unrelated.
He says an additional 25 to 30 cases are expected from households and other close contacts.