Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Saturday, August 28

New Zealand has entered its second weekend at level 4, but an easing of restrictions is in sight for everyone south of Auckland.

While Auckland and Northland will likely stay in alert level 4 beyond 11:59pm on Tuesday, barring another outbreak the rest of the country will move to level 3. 

Eighty-two new cases were reported on Saturday, bringing the outbreak to 429. 

What you need to know

  • 82 new cases were reported on Friday, bringing the outbreak to 429 .
  • Most of New Zealand will move to alert level 3 on Tuesday night, but Northland and Auckland will stay at alert level 4. For how long will be decided on Monday, but the Prime Minister says it's likely Auckland will be there for two more weeks.
  • More than 31,000 individual contacts have been identified, the majority of which are close contacts.
  • 25 people with COVID-19 are in hospital, with two in a stable condition in ICU.
  • Police are to "intensify enforcement" of alert level 4 rules and deploy more road patrols.
  • Anti-lockdown activists are confused and angry after only one of them showed up to a protest on Friday.
  • COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has said so many people are rushing to get jabbed, there aren't enough doses presently in the country for every eligible child to get vaccinated.
  • Vaccinators have warned the "extraordinary" and unexpected uptake in vaccines means we might run out before the next big delivery in October.
  • The latest locations of interest can be found here and a map of them can be found here.

Newshub's live updates have now finished.

7:40pm - Everywhere south of Auckland is now on the countdown to a level change on Tuesday night with preparations already underway.

Excitement is brewing over the prospect of a takeaway coffee and about the further possibility of moving down to level 2.

Read more here.

7pm - A 78-year-old who's part of the Assembly of God church cluster in Auckland says communication from health authorities has made an already anxious time even more difficult. 

Aniva Epati on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19. In total, eight people in her wider family have the virus, with two being in hospital.

She's concerned about the way health authorities are managing cases in the Pacific community.

See Michael Morrah's exclusive report here.

6pm - Newshub Live at 6 is now on-air with the latest on the outbreak. Watch it here.

5:20pm - A COVID-19 modeller has said it may be four more days until we see a decline in the 7-day rolling average of cases.

"Try to avoid reading too much into daily case numbers, but if you want a reason for optimism and don't mind if it involves a 2nd derivative, there is a downward trend in the % change in average daily cases. This does show growth is not exponential," Michael Plank said on Twitter.

"This is definitely not a prediction but if this trend continues it will be 4 more days until we see a decline in the 7-day rolling average."

4:55pm - Here is the Ministry of Health's case summary. Note the new cases are made up of 82 community cases and a single case in MIQ.

Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Saturday, August 28

4:35pm - Police called to an accident at a Queenstown mountain bike park found more than 50 bikers using the track.

Police say they are "extremely disappointed" by the amount of bikers on the track and have reminded New Zealanders to stay local when exercising in alert level 4.

Read more here.

4:15pm - The latest locations of interest are out:

  • NZ School of Tourism in Auckland Central - Friday August 13 between 9am and 3pm
  • Bus NX1 Britomart (Lower Albert St) To Albany Station - Thursday August 12 between 2:59pm and 3:59pm
  • Bus NX2 Albany Station to Auckland Universities via Wellesley St - Wednesday August 11 between 10:09am and 11:09am
  • Bus NX2 Auckland Universities to Albany Station via Wellesley St on several dates and times
  • All About Children Manurewa - Monday August 16 between 2:45pm and 3pm

Full information can be found here.

4pm - We are waiting to see if there any new locations of interest. They are usually released every two hours from 8am. 

3:40pm - In case you missed it earlier, here's a wrap on some of the big COVID-19-related events to happen around the globe over the last 24 hours.

3:20pm - Here is the latest police data:

Since Alert Level 4 came into place, 93 people have been charged with a total of 99 offences nationwide as at 5pm yesterday (28 August 2021).

These arrests are primarily the result of protest activity in the first few days of Alert Level 4 and other intentional behaviour in breach of the restrictions.

Of the 99 charges filed, 65 are for Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19), 21 for Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction, 11 for Health Act Breaches, and 2 for Assaults/Threatens/Hinders/Obstructs Enforcement Officer.

In the same time period, 256 formal warnings were issued – 87 of the formal warnings were for Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19), 104 for Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction and 68 for Health Act Breaches.

Since 19 August 2021, Police have been issuing infringements for COVID-19 related breaches.

As at 5pm on 27 August 2021, Police have issued 1594 infringements nationwide.

  • Person failed to remain at current home / residence – 1465
  • Person failed to wear a face covering on premises – 41
  • Person failed to comply with applicable physical distancing rule – 55
  • Obstruct/Hinder Medical Officer of Health or Person Assisting Med Officer/Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19) – 16
  • Person failed to wear a face covering on public transport – 4
  • Person in control of premises failed to close as required – 2
  •  Person in control of workplace failed to display QR code – 6
  • Person organised a gathering in an outdoor place - 5

Police have now received a total of 11,103, 105-online breach notifications.

6753 were about a gathering, 3305 were about a business, and 1045 were about a person.

In addition to the online breach notifications, a total of 7097 Covid-19 related calls were made to the 105-phone line.

The majority (5044) of calls were requests for information, and 2053 were to report perceived Covid-19 breaches.

Overall, Police are encouraged to see how well people are behaving across the country but there is a small number of people who are continuing to flout the rules.

Further information about travel at Alert Level 4 can be found at:

3:15pm - Police are reminding people to stay local during lockdown.

Here is a statement from Police Commissioner Andrew Coster:

"Police continue to be pleased with compliance during Alert Level 4 restrictions despite a small number of incidents which have attracted Police attention.

"While Police are still taking an education-first approach, as our responses show, we will move to enforcement action quickly when required.

"We would like to remind people that under Alert Level Four exercise should be in your neighbourhood only and any recreational activity that could lead to a rescue or emergency response is not permitted.

"Queenstown Police were extremely disappointed yesterday when they were called to a crash at a mountain bike park in Fernhill.

"Upon arrival Police estimated there were 50 or more mountain bikers on this track.

"Due to where the crash happened, it took two hours, a 4WD and several Police and ambulance staff to remove the injured woman from the site.

"The woman then had to be transported to Dunedin Hospital via helicopter.

"Police will be speaking to the biker at a later date and enforcement action for breaching restrictions will be considered.

"The other mountain bikers on the track were educated on Alert Level Four rules.

'Our staff are out and about around the country conducting reassurance checks, and people can expect to be questioned about their movements.

"Counties Manukau Road Policing staff have been visible in the southern part of the district today.

"They noted low volumes of traffic this morning and high rates of compliance."

3pm - Record numbers of people are getting vaccinated in an accelerated roll out under lockdown conditions, but not everyone is so eager to get the potentially life-saving jab. 

Ministry Of Health (MOH) surveys have found 23 percent of the population is somewhere between ‘unsure’ and ‘definitely not getting vaccinated’. 

Watch Newshub Nation's full report here.

2:45pm - The Ministry of Health has just released new locations of interest. They include bus routes in Auckland, the University of Auckland library level 4, and a childcare centre. Find more here

2:30pm - University of Auckland microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles says it's "understandable" people may be worried about the still high case numbers despite the country being in lockdown for nearly two weeks.

"I know people are probably freaking out a little because we are still having such high daily numbers despite being at L4 for 10 days. That’s completely understandable," she wrote in a Twitter thread. 

"Remember we had some superspreader events just before we went into L4. Delta spreads well in households & workplaces, so that’s likely what we are seeing now. Hopefully they were already isolated but if not L4 will definitely be helping.

"It would be really helpful if the Ministry of Health provided some info on how cases are linked when they release numbers, but there is likely a lag as interviews are done. In other words, it probably takes a few days to join new cases to existing cases"

Read her whole thread here.

2:20pm - From the Ministry of Health's statement:

"An error at a vaccination centre in the Canterbury DHB area earlier this month means that 13 people may have received a lower dose of the COVID-19 vaccine than intended.

"No patient harm would have resulted from this occurrence, but we acknowledge this would be concerning for the people involved.

"Twelve of the group have been contacted and are booked in for another dose of the vaccine. A range of methods is being used to contact the remaining person. They are also booked in to receive their second dose.

"Incidents of this nature are not common but it is important each is reported and acted on. DHBs and healthcare providers have systems in place to detect them when they do, including clinical oversight and strong quality assurance processes.

"The Ministry of Health has worked closely with the vaccination team to support their response to each person affected.

"The provider will also be implementing improvements and additional training for staff.

2:00pmNew South Wales' COVID-19 nightmare continued today with 1035 new cases, taking the Australian state's total to 23,183. 

Two more deaths were reported as well. 

"I want to express my sympathies and the sympathies of the entire New South Wales Health system and our government to the families of those two ladies. It's a terrible situation," said NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

Earlier, the state of Victoria reported 79 new locally acquired infections and ACT 21. Queensland reported none. 

1:25pm - The Ministry of Health said there were  no new unexpected detections of COVID-19 in wastewater to report.

"Positive results have been previously reported from Warkworth, Auckland, Wellington at the Moa Point site, and Christchurch, which was consistent with virus shedding from those cases in managed isolation and quarantine facilities there.

"Samples collected from Waimakariri at Rangiora and Kaiapoi on Tuesday and Thursday were negative. Further samples from a range of sites in Christchurch are currently being analysed.

"Samples from 111 locations have now either been analysed or are currently in the laboratory being analysed. There are 88 locations in the North Island and 33 locations in South Island. These cover an estimated 3.8 million people, and over 90% of the New Zealand population connected to reticulated wastewater systems."

1:18pm  - There are 82 new cases in New Zealand today the Ministry of Health has reported. That brings the total up to 429

A statement from the Ministry of Health said: 

There are 82 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 429.

The total number of community cases in Auckland is now 415 and in Wellington it is 14.  

All of the cases have or are being transferred safely to a quarantine facility, under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including the use of full PPE.

There are 376 cases that have been clearly epidemiologically-linked to another case or sub-cluster, and a further 53 for which links are yet to be fully established.

There are currently seven epidemiologically-linked subclusters identified within this outbreak. The two largest clusters are the Birkdale Social Network cluster associated with Case A (64 confirmed cases), and the Mangere church cluster (197 confirmed cases).

Of these 82 new cases, 62 are Pacific peoples, five are Asian, four are European, two are Māori , one is Middle Eastern/Latin American/African, and the ethnicity of eight is unknown.

Of the current community cases, 25 cases are in hospital – 23 are in a stable condition on a ward and two cases are in a stable condition in ICU.

One case is in North Shore Hospital, 11 are in Middlemore Hospital, 12 are in Auckland City Hospital, and one is in Wellington Regional Hospital.

There are appropriate isolation and infection prevention and control plans in place at all hospitals where these patients are being managed.

The total number of active cases being managed in New Zealand is currently 429.

There is one new case in a recent returnee in a managed isolation facility.

12:52pm - The Herald is reporting there will be in excess of 80 cases today when the Ministry of Health releases its latest case numbers. 

 The Herald's source has been fairly accurate all week about the number of new cases and if they are correct today that would put the number of active cases to well above 420.

12:17pm - Westland Mayor Bruce Smith says COVID-19 is no different to polio and we should learn to live with it. 

Smith, speaking on NewsHub Nation also called for less advice from health professionals and more from business experts. 

"The reality is COVID is with us. It's no different to polio back in my grandparents' days. The only way that we can fix it is we've got to be vaccinated. 

"I've encouraged everybody to get vaccinated, but even then it's still going to come in. It'll come in from overseas. It's part of our lives from here on in and we need to adapt."

Smith also called for the South Island to be moved down alert levels a lot quicker. 

"It's a bit frustrating you know, to have Wellington with say 14 active cases and the South Island with none, and for us all to be at the same level doesn't make a lot of sense to me," Smith told Newshub Nation. 

"I have to say my thoughts last night were with the business community. We see lots on TV and it's always health professionals - we don't see our business community that keeps us alive. My thoughts are with them."

12:00pm - It has been dubbed as level 4 with takeaway coffee and McDonald's, but as of Tuesday 11:59 pm everyone south of Auckland will go into level 3. 

Residents of Auckland and Northland will likely have to wait another two weeks before they can order a Big Mac or Zinger Burger. 

For those south of the Bombay Hills here is a reminder of what you can do at level 3 

11:37am - Dairy owners and workers will now be given vaccination priority after being recognised as frontline workers. 

 A statement from from the Dairy and Business Owners Group said: 

"We wish to give a bouquet to both Countdown and to the Ministry of Health,” says Sunny Kaushal, Chair of the Dairy and Business Owners Group.

"It has been recognised that our people are definitely on the Covid-19 frontline. Out of 504 locations of interest, 10 now involve dairies and service stations.

"It might have taken a week since we first asked for vaccination priority, but dairies now have vaccination priority. We’d like to thank Countdown for interceding on our behalf with the Ministry of Health.  

"This is the grocery sector, big and small, acting as one team for the team of 5 Million.

"Registered stores have been emailed and non-registered stores are asked to register at so that we can provide details over how to secure vaccination priority."

11:27am - The Ministry of Health is expected to give an update on the new case numbers via an email at 1pm. Friday saw 70 new cases bringing the total of active cases in New Zealand to 347. 

Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio expects another rise in numbers today and today's numbers could well push that over 400 cases. 

10:47am - The Ministry of Health has issued new locations of interest today including a childcare centre and four new places at Auckland's AUT. 

The full list can be found here

10:37am - Southern District Health Board has put out a call to knitters who have some time during lockdown to knit baby hats for newborn babies. 

The DHB said supplies were running low and any donations would be appreciated.  

10:10amMicrobiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles has warned coming out of level 4 too early could lead to restrictions over Christmas. 

"The last thing we want is to move down the alert levels too quickly so that in a few weeks' time we end up with cases we didn't know about... and basically Delta comes back and we end up having to go back to alert level 4," Dr Wiles told Newshub.

"The timing of this means if that happens, we'd probably be in restrictions at Christmas time. Everybody wants us to get back to alert level 1 as soon as possible, but that means doing it slowly." 

Going to level 3 while there's known transmission poses a huge risk, she said, even if most of us are still working at home where possible. 

Read the full story here

09:50am - Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio told Newshub Nation he expects another rise in numbers today. 

"As expected, there will be an increase in numbers today. I've not yet heard any reports that we've yet peaked. So the officials will work through to confirm those numbers and it will be announced later."

"The numbers will be increasing as we expected. You'll get that, the nation will receive that briefing at 1pm. I haven't seen any reports to indicate that [the outbreak has peaked]."

09:08am - As the country heads into its second weekend in level 4 many parents will be running out of ideas as to how to keep your beloved offspring amused. 

Those simple words  'what are we going to do today' can send shivers down the spine of locked-down parent. 

Newshub Lifestyle editor Sarah Templeton has done a guide to keeping your children entertained from home this weekend. 

Read her full guide here

Keeping the kids entertained in lockdown can be a nightmare.
Keeping the kids entertained in lockdown can be a nightmare. Photo credit: Getty Images

08:50am - Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says while moving to level 3 next week "does mean we're headed in the right direction", there's disappointment it can't be sooner.

"I guess the message the Prime Minister made... was that the bar's been sent a lot higher because of the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant," the former Labour MP told Newshub.

Wastewater testing had found traces of the virus in the city's supply. There's a good chance that's just from MIQ, but a community case is yet to be ruled out. Dalziel said testing of wastewater systems that aren't connected to MIQ have been underway.

"I'm hoping we will get a good result from that. We were actually expecting it by the end of the week but they clearly didn't have that [on Friday]. Without that, the Government wasn't going to make a call."

In the meantime, she's urging locals to keep following the level 4 rules, just in case.

"We've come this far - we have to keep going. It's important that we keep following the rules, wearing masks, maintaining social distances and using the QR codes when we can." 

And staying in our bubbles.

"This isn't just about protecting ourselves - it's about protecting the people that we love and care for as well."

08:03am - It seems some Kiwi men looking for love don't realise the level 4 lockdown means they need to keep their romantic aspirations in check for a few more weeks. 

Auckland woman Briar Pope is surprised by the number of men messaging her via dating app Tinder to hook up - one from as far away as Raglan. 

Pope told Newshub these men, some of whom work in the healthcare system, don't seem to realise hooking up in level 4 is not allowed. 

"One was a health worker who was like, 'Oh I am vaccinated, it's all good'. They just don't care... they don't think it's going to affect them.

"That triggered me. They didn't care at all but they were bragging about working in the healthcare sector." 

Read the full story here

The Ministry of Health says hooking up on Tinder is definitely not allowed during lockdown.
The Ministry of Health says hooking up on Tinder is definitely not allowed during lockdown.

07:37am - The Ministry of Health released 10 new locations of interest on Friday evening including a number of bus journeys made to and from the North Shore in Auckland. A full list of the latest locations is available here

07:28am - New Zealand's second weekend in lockdown is going to be a wet one but it should be warm for everyone. Metservice says the bad weather shouldn't last too long and we are in for a settled start to spring next week. Read the full weekend weather report here.

7:05am - A conservative Christchurch pastor claims the Government is "seeking to rape me of my God-given right to worship Christ" after police confronted him over his hosting of an alert level 4 church service over the weekend.

Carl Bromley, the founder of the Life Connection Missionary Baptist Fellowship, pushed ahead with church on Sunday despite COVID-19 rules banning gatherings outside of one's own household bubble to prevent spread of the virus.

Read the full story.

6:45am - Anti-lockdown activists are confused and angry after reports just one of them showed up to a protest in central Auckland on Friday

Newshub has seen conversations on Telegram where one person asks "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED NEW ZEALAND?".

"If we don't mobilise properly, we're finished," one person says.  

"Unless we step up our game... we are screwed," said another. 

"It seems New Zealand loves its servitude." 

Others called it a "fake" event, even though it was promoted on a prominent conspiracy theory Instagram page.

6:30am - An Auckland woman is frustrated after multiple people on Tinder asked her to meet up despite the entire country being in alert level 4 lockdown. 

Briar Pope says she's received at least 20 messages in the past week asking her to meet despite the COVID-19 restrictions. 

Read the full story.

6:20am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has described the rapid upswing in demand for vacccines as "extraordinary" but it might result in stocks running out before the next big shipment in October, Stuff reports

"We are vaccinating at an extraordinary rate," Ardern said, when asked on Friday if she plans to contact Pfizer to deliver more vaccines to prevent us from running out. 

"We do receive our doses from Pfizer weekly and you'll recall that we did flag that we start getting very large shipments in October, and in the intervening period you'll know that we've modelled around very high rates, but what we're seeing at the moment is extraordinary, so we're working hard on a strategy at the moment to accommodate that growth."