Lockdown once again

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo YouTube

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown has said the latest lockdown will be a devastating blow to Kiwis as Auckland faces its second day at Alert Level 3 shutting all but essential businesses.

At 11.59pm Sunday night, Auckland moved to Level 3 for a period of 3 days, until midnight on Wednesday.

The rest of New Zealand moved to Level 2 for the same period.

This will be reviewed on a 24-hour basis and we will provide daily updates.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said three days will give the Government time to gather further information, undertake large-scale testing and establish if there has been wider community transmission.

“The levels remain the same as you will recall from August,” the PM said.

“That means the main thing we are asking people in Auckland to do is stay in your bubble other than for essential personal movement.”

Simeon Brown said news of the change to Alert Level 3 in Auckland following news on Sunday of three new Covid-19 cases in the community will not be the news that Aucklanders will have wanted to hear.

“It is important we all follow the public health advice and to get tested if required,” said Brown.

“It will be an anxious time for many people and I encourage you to reach out to family, friends and neighbours who may need some reassurance or support.

“The latest lockdown will be a devastating blow to New Zealanders who have sacrificed so much to keep this country Covid-free.

“I feel for those who have already sacrificed their livelihoods, their jobs and their businesses to keep Covid-19 out. This will be difficult news for all New Zealanders.

“The Government must now move quickly to find the source of this latest community outbreak and to vaccinate our border workers as a matter of absolute urgency.”

Meanwhile, Botany has been identified by the Ministry of Health as a current location of interest related to Covid-19 in the community.

Anyone who was at Bunnings Warehouse in Botany at 320 Ti Rakau Drive, Burswood on Saturday between

1.30pm – 4.30pm is being asked to stay at home and get a test on February 18 and call Healthline on 0800 3585453.

Meanwhile, Howick Local Board chair Adele White said the board office is currently closed and the board has reverted to conducting its workshops and meetings online.

“We can still be contacted by email or phone but, most importantly, I wish to remind residents to contact Auckland Council’s call centre (phone 3010101) with any queries or issues requiring urgent attention.”

These can also be reported using “Report an Issue” on Council’s website.

“In the essence of being a close and caring community, I ask that keep an eye out for the needs of others during this time,” White said.

Police are reminding Aucklanders that checkpoints have been re-established under Alert Level 3 in and out of the Auckland region.

The boundaries will be set mostly in the same locations as the last time Auckland was in Alert Level 3 in August.

Eight checkpoints on the outskirts of Auckland will be stopping vehicles and questioning drivers, ensuring there is no non-essential movement through the region.

From midnight, anyone attempting to travel across the regional boundaries should expect to be stopped and asked for proof of essential travel.

The exemption process will run the same way as it has previously.

More information is available on the Covid-19 website (www.covid19.govt.nz).

Police will also be highly visible across the region to provide reassurance and to educate people and ensure they are aware of the restrictions in place.

All police front counters in Tāmaki Makaurau are closed to the public with the exception of Henderson (Waitematā), College Hill (Auckland City) and the Counties Manukau Hub, which are all open 24/7 but with restricted access.

People can report non-emergency situations online at www.police.govt.nz/105support or call 111 if it’s an emergency.

The Prime Minister has outlined Level 3 and what is expected of Aucklanders:

  • Stay home to avoid any risk of spread.
  • Stay in your bubble other than for essential personal movement.
  • Work from home unless that is not possible.
  • If you go outside your home maintain physical distancing of two metres outside, or one metre in controlled environments where you know the others present.
  • We are asking children to stay home from school. But you will remember, that in Level three schools (years 1 to 10) and Early Childhood Education centres can open for children whose parents need to be at work.
  • Supermarkets, pharmacies, primary produce retailers and petrol stations can remain open. So once again, no need to rush out … to any of these places. But we are again asking all other businesses that usually interact face-to-face with customers to move to non-contact methods – click and collect or online ordering.
  • The main rule here is maintaining physical distancing between staff and not physically interacting with customers.
  • Public venues will be closed. For example, libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets.
  • Gatherings outside of your bubble are prohibited, with the exception of groups of 10 for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures legally must be maintained at those events.
  • Healthcare services will revert to using virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.
  • Inter-regional travel will be highly limited – for example people can go home if they are in Auckland and that is not their place of residence, and vice versa. Mask wearing on planes, trains, buses, ferries and in taxies will be required. But a border will be put in place in Auckland.
  • The border will be broadly similar to last time Auckland was at Level 3, but improvements have been made based on that experience. Those who need to travel through the border can go to the MBIE website.
  • People at high risk of severe illness, such as older people and those with existing medical conditions, are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home.
  • If you are in Auckland, we ask that you use a face covering if you need to leave your home.