The government’s announcement that it is likely that Auckland will spend a month at alert level four is not welcome news, says Auckland mayor Phil Goff.
However, it will be accepted by most as being necessary in the circumstances of the rapid spread of the highly contagious delta variant across Auckland, he says.
The Prime Minister this afternoon announced all of NZ south of the Auckland border would go to Alert Level 3 from midnight Tuesday. Auckland and Northland – where there are fears of potential spread from Warkworth – are likely to endure another two weeks of lockdown at Level four from Tuesday.
There are 70 new cases of Covid-19 in the New Zealand community today; all are in Auckland. This brings the total number of cases in the community outbreak to 347.
The total number of community cases in Auckland is now 333 and in Wellington it is 14.
“All of us want to be back at level one as soon as possible,” says Goff.
“The lockdown has high costs to disruption of life and to workers and businesses not able to earn an income.
“However, what has happened in Sydney is a lesson that we have to take on board. To be effective, the lockdown needs to be swiftly implemented, be a hard lockdown and to stay in place until the spread of the virus has been suppressed.
“A partial lockdown incurs costs without being able to realise the benefits that we all enjoyed living relatively normally without the virus taking lives, causing large numbers of people to be ill and overwhelming our hospital system.
“It’s great that the rest of New Zealand will move down to level 3 next week and we celebrate their being able to do so.
“Auckland’s role as New Zealand’s gateway city however means that it has endured longer and more frequent restrictions and lockdowns than the rest of the country.
“It will be important for the government to recognise this and provide whatever assistance it can to help people in the region, who make up a third of the country’s population, to get through the costs that the lockdown will impose on them.
“Ongoing support such as the wage subsidy, assistance to Auckland Transport, which has to keep essential services going without normal fares to offset those costs, and ensuring vaccination in the Auckland region is carried out as quickly as possible are among the ways the government can help.
“Remember this weekend to stay the course. Stay home except for essential purposes like grocery shopping, getting vaccinated, or getting a test if you have symptoms or have been advised to do so by health authorities.
“If we observe the rules and work together, we can once again stamp out the virus and ensure we get back to normality more quickly. But all of us have to play our part.”