Coronavirus live updates: Latest on Auckland's outbreak - Saturday, August 22

Six new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Auckland, with two not yet linked to the original cluster. 

The Ministry of Health is investigating how these two people could have caught the virus. 

What you need to know

  • There are 111 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, including 95 found in the community and 16 found in isolation facilities
  • Six new cases were detected in the community on Saturday, with two not yet linked to the south Auckland cluster
  • Another case not linked to the cluster is the Rydges Hotel maintenance worker, who entered a lift minutes after a positive case they are genomically linked to
  • Nine people are in hospital, with three in intensive care
  • The total number of cases confirmed in New Zealand is now 1321
  • Auckland is under alert level 3, while the rest of the country is at alert level 2.

Saturday's live updates have finished.

8:10pm - There are conflicting messages about the bus drivers who transport returning Kiwis from the airport to isolation hotels.

The head of managed isolation and quarantine, Air Commodore Darryn Webb, says the drivers don't have to wear masks while on the road.

But a leading epidemiologist says that makes no sense and the government agency overseeing quarantine, which Webb reports to, also says masks should be worn by drivers at all times.

Newshub's Michael Morrah has more here.

7:55pm - Aucklanders are spending another weekend in alert level 3 lockdown - and they aren't wanting to take risks.

The Waiheke ferry terminal would normally be bustling on a sunny Saturday morning, but today it was deserted.

Others were keeping it local.

Read more here.

7:20pm - Tens of thousands of Kiwis are living with pain on a surgery waiting list as a result of the COVID lockdown.

In level four, all elective surgeries were cancelled - pushing tens of thousands of Kiwis onto a waiting list backlog.

And now that Auckland's gone into level 3 again, there's a growing concern from health professionals and their patients it's getting worse.

Read more here.

6:10pm - Here are some photos from down at Countdown New Lynn. It's closed for a deep clean after an infected individual visited it earlier this week.

 Coronavirus live updates: Latest on Auckland's outbreak - Saturday, August 22
Photo credit: Newshub.
 Coronavirus live updates: Latest on Auckland's outbreak - Saturday, August 22
Photo credit: Newshub.
 Coronavirus live updates: Latest on Auckland's outbreak - Saturday, August 22
Photo credit: Newshub.

6pm - It's time for Newshub Live at 6pm.

Tune in on or on Three.

5:30pm - ARPHS says an investigation has found two people who later tested positive for COVID-19 travelled on the same Auckland bus on August 12. They were not travelling together, "but the cases appear linked, with one person believed to have picked up the virus from the other".

This was on bus 22N, between 10:30am and 1:04pm from the Symonds St Overbridge (stop 7162) and Avondale (stop 8200).

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield mentioned on Friday that a bus trip was being investigated as a potential source of exposure for a St Luke's mall worker who tested positive.

Auckland Transport has confirmed 16 other passengers travelled the same route, plus the driver. Eleven of these have been identified as close contacts, with nine being contacted by the national contact tracing service with advice on isolating and testing.

The additional two people did not use registered HOP cards.

"Because of this, we do not have their contact details. Our advice is that anyone who knows that they took the same bus as the confirmed cases between 10.30am and 1.04pm on Wednesday 12 August should self-isolate, call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice and get tested as soon as possible."

A further five people who travelled on the bus are not considered at risk as they alighted before the cases boarded.

ARPHS says the two cases took other bus trips "during their infectious periods".

"ARPHS’ investigations are continuing and information about the routes, dates and times of these other trips will be shared as it becomes available.

"As a general rule, people should continue to adhere to Auckland’s COVID-19 alert level 3 restrictions, and to be vigilant for the signs of COVID-19."

It says using HOP cards will help with contact tracing if it's necessary.

"HOP cards enable contact tracers to access vital data such as where people got on and off buses and trains, and how many people were travelling together.

"Public health advice is also to wear a mask at all times when in public or sharing confined spaces with others. AT advises that its buses are thoroughly cleaned every evening."

If you think you may have travelled on the affected bus service, you can use your registered AT HOP card to check your transaction history and where you may have ‘topped up’ your balance. This can be done on the AT Mobile app or by logging on to the AT HOP page at

5:20pm - The Auckland Regional Public Health Service says an individual who later tested positive for COVID-19 earlier visited two Countdown supermarkets. 

"The person was infectious at the time but the risk to staff and other shoppers is considered low.

"Countdown has chosen to close and deep clean the stores in line with its organisational policy."

The person visited Countdown Te Atatu South between 3pm and 4pm on Wednesday, August 12, and Countdown Lynnmall between 4pm and 5pm on Sunday, August 16, and between 6:30pm and 7pm on Monday, August 17.

"While the risk remains low, shoppers and staff who were in these stores at these times should remain vigilant for the signs of COVID-19."

Countdown New Lynn.
Countdown New Lynn. Photo credit: Newshub.

5:15pm - Here's the latest summary from the Ministry of Health.

 Coronavirus live updates: Latest on Auckland's outbreak - Saturday, August 22
Photo credit: Ministry of Health.

5pm - NZ Post has stood down 70 staff members working the day shift at their Highbrook processing plant, after two people on the shift tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

The 70 staff members are now in self-isolation until August 29, which is the rest of the two-week incubation period from when the last infectious staff member was on site.

Since the two positive test results over 300 people who work at the NZ Post Auckland operations centre in Highbrook have been tested.

Read more on that here.

4:30pm - Nine COVID-19 patients are hospitalised in New Zealand, with a third of those in intensive care.

The Ministry of Health's Saturday update revealed that of the 111 active COVID-19 cases in New Zealand, nine are currently in hospital.

Two patients are at Auckland City Hospital, four are at Middlemore Hospital, two are in North Shore Hospital and a single patient is found at Waikato Hospital, Hamilton.

Read more on that here.

 2:25pm - A Trade Me auction for six people to have lunch with Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has hit a bid of $3210.
The winner will get to have lunch with Dr Bloomfield at Wellington restaurant Bellamys. 
The auction is a fundraiser for the Cancer Society which says it is grateful for Dr Bloomfield's support. 
Read more here.

1:20pm - Police have reportedly asked anti-lockdown protesters to disperse from Britomart as the protest has now become a "gathering".

1:13pm - There are six new cases of COVID-19 in the community, two which have not yet been linked to the Auckland cluster.
The Ministry of Health is investigating how these two people could have caught the virus. 
There are 145 people linked to the cluster who have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility, including 75 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts.
The Ministry of Health has identified 2060 close contacts, 2004 of which have been contacted and are self-isolating.

Read more here.

12:45pm - More than a hundred people have flooded Auckland's Aotea Square to protest the city's alert level 3 lockdown.

One speaker, who did not identify himself,  referenced people who support the lockdown as "dogs" saying they would "walk on all fours and bark like a dog if the Government told them to".

Police have urged protesters to practice physical distancing but the crowd has largely refused with one person shouting "anti-social distancing!" as a speaker reminded the crowd.

Speakers at the protest.
Speakers at the protest. Photo credit: Getty
People in the crowd.
People in the crowd. Photo credit: Newshub.


10:44am - National says if it's elected, Kiwis overseas who can't find an Immigration NZ-approved lab to do a COVID-19 test won't be allowed to come home. Health spokesperson Shane Reti also admitted he didn't know if implementing such a policy would require a law change.

It follows National's border policy announcement earlier in the week which promised a new agency to oversee efforts to keep COVID-19 out of the country and mandatory negative tests for homecoming Kiwis before they board a plane.

Read more here. 

10:05am - Countdown has removed all its product limits, saying Kiwis have shown they can shop responsibly.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown's general manager of corporate affairs, says introducing limits was the right idea at the beginning of Auckland's lockdown but thanks to New Zealanders staying within the limits, things can go back to normal.

"When the changes in alert level were announced, we put the product limits in place to help prevent panic-buying and to make sure there was plenty for everyone. While we did see some initial rush for the COVID-19 staples, customers have done a great job of only buying what they need, so thank you."

9:49am - NZ Post has stood down staff from its Highbrook parcel processing centre until next Saturday.

It follows two workers testing positive for COVID-19 last week, and two more staff members are now "feeling unwell" although no additional positive tests results have been received.

More than 300 people working at the NZ Post Auckland Operations Centre have been tested.  

Mark Stewart, NZ Post's chief executive says he's following health advice.

"Following advice from health officials late last night our 70 people on the processing day shift are now in self-isolation until Saturday 29 August."

"This is for the remainder of the two week incubation period from when the last infectious staff member was on site, which was Friday 14 August." 

The delivery of mail will not be affected at this stage.


9:30am - In just over a week, 40 out of 78 people have been excused from paying the $3100 fee for their managed isolation.
One person has been denied and 37 requests are still being processed. 
RNZ reports the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is receiving up to 60 calls a day from people asking about the managed isolation fee and waiver process.

9:05am - Kiwis facing hardship withdrew almost $15 million from Kiwisaver last month. Figures from Inland Revenue show more than 2000 people were forced to resort to taking money out of the savings account - it's the most withdrawals from the financial hardship category year-on-year.

9:00am - An Auckland Chamber of Commerce survey of nearly 1000 businesses shows they fear further lockdowns. A question by Newshub Nation included in the survey, asked how many 14-day level three lockdowns super city businesses could survive. 

Almost a fifth report they could not manage with 18 percent saying even just one more could result in their immediate closure.

A quarter believe they could survive two more lockdowns, before being forced to shut up shop.


8:15am -  More than  800,000 people worldwide have died from COVID-19. As of Saturday morning 800,116 deaths have been recorded from the virus. There are 23,033,700 confirmed cases and 15,638,570 people have recovered.

7:41am - The World Health Organisation has warned against repeated lockdowns, saying it is not a long-term solution in the fight against COVID-19.
It wants to work with countries on how to ease restrictions, saying health and the economy is inseparable.
Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus says the pandemic is not something leaders can simply ride out.
"We do not need to choose between lives and livelihoods, or between health and the economy. That's a false choice." 
Read the latest from around the world here.

7:33am - Singapore will open its borders to New Zealand from September 1. All travellers will need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival. Once it comes back negative, they will be able to go out and about, with the country's isolation period reduced to just one week.

7:20am - There are calls for mask wearing to be made mandatory on public transport after the Ministry of Health said a worker at St Lukes could have caught the virus on the bus. 

Epidemiologist Michael Baker says there's a high possibility this is the case.

"Any indoor environment where people are quite close together, you can transmit this virus on respiratory droplets and aerosols that people generate just by talking, breathing and laughing," he told Newshub.