Auckland will be dropping from alert level 3 to level 2 at 6am on Sunday, and while most residents will be hitting their local cafe right away - there are several who are still required to isolate.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced the drop on Friday afternoon. The rest of the country will move from alert level 2 to level 1 at the same time.
During the announcement, Dr Boomfield issued a legal direction, under section 70 of the Health Act, for some Aucklanders to continue to isolate.
The direction applies to anyone who attended City Fitness Gym at Hunters Plaza, 217 Great South Road, Papatoetoe, in Auckland on:
- February 20 2021 between 11:15am and 1:45pm
- February 26 2021 between 3:25pm and 4:30pm
These are the times a positive COVID-19 case also visited the gym.
The direction also applies to anyone else who has already been contacted by Auckland Regional Public Health Service and advised they are a close-plus, close or casual-plus contact during this outbreak.
Under Section 70, these individuals are required to:
- Isolate at their usual home
- To report and undergo medical testing for COVID-19 at a time and place to be specified by a medical officer of health; and
- Except as required to undergo testing as directed, to remain isolated until they receive further direction from a medical officer of health.
The Ministry of Health says Section 70 was enacted to "emphasise the importance of people following the advice they have been given by the public health units or the national contact tracing team".
"It also enables those affected to be visited immediately at their homes or at work by public health officials," Dr Bloomfield said.
"Any time a person receives a direction from a medical officer they must comply with it."
The Ministry of Health confirmed public health officials will be in touch with those ordered to isolate to provide them with the support needed to meet requirements.
"A lot of work by public health officials is continuing to ensure these people are followed up and supported as part of the country’s wider response to keep New Zealanders safe. We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their continued efforts," the Ministry said in a statement.
On Friday Dr Bloomfiled said there were around 10 people who visited City Fitness on February 20 and 26 still awaiting test results.
He added that two gym-goers who visited on February 20 - the date deemed less risky - were still unable to be located.