Police stop motorists at a Covid Police Checkpoint on State Highway 1 just south of the Brynderwyns. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Health officials are set to reveal whether there are any new cases connected to the Valentine’s Day Covid outbreak.
The Ministry of Health will send a statement about 1pm then the Prime Minister and director general of health Ashley Bloomfield will speak to media at 4pm after the Cabinet meeting.
Yesterday a mother, father and daughter tested positive for the highly infectious UK variant of Covid-19, spurring Auckland into alert level 3 lockdown and the rest of the country into alert level 2 lockdown for 72 hours.
Officials are hoping to rapidly trace and test people at the woman’s workplace – where she handles laundry from international flights – to find the chain of transmission.
They are also ramping up community testing and urging people who were at locations of interest visited by the family to get tested to check for wider community transmission.
The first set of results from the mass testing will be available in the statement.
Auckland moved to level 3 for at least three days at 11.59 last night, with employees asked to work from home, students urged to stay away from school and police setting up checkpoints at eight locations at the region’s border overnight.
Police officers are checking all vehicles arriving and leaving Auckland to ensure there is no non-essential travel. Alert level 2 is less restrictive. (The full list of rules are detailed below).
Ardern told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking today that the link to the British variant had led officials to think the virus might have come through airport transit or it had stemmed from an international airline crew member.
“We do still have people who transit through New Zealand and fly on to other destinations. They stay airside but of course, it means they are using the things that go through the laundry at this individual’s place of work,” Ardern told Newstalk ZB.
“The other possibility is that it’s international airline crew… they also do the laundry of a couple of international airline crew. And so, that is also one of the possibilities.”
It was still possible – but unlikely – the new cases had come from an MIQ case which hadn’t been sequenced, said Ardern.