As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, August 30

Fifty-three new cases of COVID-19 have been reported on Monday, bringing the outbreak to 562 - a significant drop from the numbers seen over the weekend.

Experts believe the outbreak of COVID-19 is beginning to plateau after case numbers remained relatively steady over the weekend, with 82 infections reported on Saturday and 83 recorded on Sunday. However, a question mark remains over how long it will take for the outbreak to tail off completely, with officials continuing to identify potential exposure sites and close contacts.

The Government has confirmed that all of New Zealand south of the Auckland-Waikato border will move to alert level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday. Northland will move to level 3 on Thursday if wastewater tests come back clear.

Auckland is set to stay in level 4 for another two weeks.

All of the 53 new cases were detected in Auckland. To date, only 15 have been found outside of the region - all of which are in Wellington. Thirty-seven people are now in hospital, five of whom are in a stable condition in the ICU. More than 34,000 individual contacts have now been identified.

Meanwhile, the first death linked to the Pfizer vaccine has been recorded in New Zealand. The woman developed myocarditis, a side effect experts say is "very, very rare". The death has been referred to the Coroner.

What you need to know:

  • Fifty-three new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday, bringing the outbreak to 562 - two people have now recovered
  • Of the cases, 547 are located in Auckland and 15 in Wellington
  • Thirty-seven people are in hospital, five of whom are in the ICU in a stable condition
  • Everywhere south of Auckland will shift to alert level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday and Northland will move to level 3 on Thursday if wastewater test results come back clear
  • Auckland will stay at level 4 for at least another two weeks
  • More than 34,000 individual contacts have been identified
  • The first death linked to the Pfizer vaccine has been recorded in New Zealand - it's understood a woman died from myocarditis, a rare side effect
  • Naval barracks on Auckland's North Shore are in lockdown after a wastewater sample from the facility tested positive for COVID-19 last week
  • Officials have now identified almost 450 potential exposure sites, with a west Auckland grocery store and central Auckland pharmacy added to the list on Monday. Click here for the latest locations of interest - a map can also be found here.

These live updates have finished.

9:15pm - Infectious disease modeller Shaun Hendy is warning Kiwis not to celebrate too early as daily case numbers came down for the first time today in this outbreak. 

He says there could be a few reasons for the drop. 

"As I have to say over and over again, one day's data even two days data... you can't read too much into it," Hendy told The Project.

"It is good it's coming down, we'd rather it coming down than going up but we need to watch the trend over several days."

Read and watch the full story here.

Shaun Hendy.
Shaun Hendy. Photo credit: The AM Show

9pm - Auckland Councillor Danial Newman says more vaccines targeted in the city is needed to ensure the success of the country's vaccination campaign.

Newman, a Manurewa-Papakura ward councillor, says a higher concentration of vaccine doses coupled with changes to improve uptake among Māori and Pacific population groups are vital to reduce the threat of yo-yoing lockdowns.

"While the overall surge of vaccinations is welcomed, the momentum is not even. The uptake of vaccination among Māori and Pacific peoples, particularly those in younger age groups, is still not high enough," he says.

"The Ministry of Health's own vaccination data by ethnicity and suburb illustrates that rates of uptake among Māori and Pacific peoples is still lagging. The booking system is a helpful way to manage access to vaccines and will become vital if supply decreases and necessitates rationing."

Newman says that walk-ins and drive-through clinics that don't require bookings are important too to help remove barriers to the vaccine.

"Prioritising Auckland and removing any barrier that inconvenience residents who need to be vaccinated needs to be the number one public health response to COVID-19. Until we see a marked improvement in vaccination rates across every ethnic group, the battle against COVID-19 will not be won."

8:15pm - Kiwis are being urged to stay vigilant as scammers look to take advantage of increased uncertainty and stress levels during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Research released by Bank of New Zealand on Monday as part of 'Scam Savvy Week' shows expedited COVID-19 tests and vaccinations and 'redelivery' of parcels requiring payment of a fee are among the scams in circulation.

Kiwis are urged to check links in emails and text messages before opening them - and be on the alert for scammers pretending to be trusted companies and services. 

Read the full story here.

8pm - Two HelloFresh employees in Auckland have tested positive for COVID-19.

The two people are from the distribution centre and some other team members have gone into self-isolation.

In an email to customers, HelloFresh chief executive Tom Rutledge said the site has been deep cleaned and the Auckland Regional Public Health Service says its products are safe for distribution and consumption.

He also warns that customers may face delays with deliveries - or might not even get their orders at all.

"We will be working hard to adapt our operations as quickly as possible to account for this workforce shortage, however in some cases we will be unable to complete deliveries."

7:30pm - Jerome Mika, who is the spokesperson for the Assembly of God church congregation, says it's been a very difficult time for the community being New Zealand's largest sub-cluster.

"The last two weeks have been pretty tough, but the church is really resilient and they're really united in terms of being able to get through this together," he tells The Project.

"We're heading into a very tough time and a tough week for our families. We've got a number of them in MIQ and some who are hospitalised, and we're just wanting to support them, not only through their health but through their mental wellbeing as well."

Mika says it's been quite hard seeing people he knows get sick and have to go to hospital. He says you're thinking about it constantly and you almost lose sleep over it since it's about people's lives.

"Knowing that some had moved from MIQ to hospital, and then also understanding some that might've moved to ICU, that plays on your mind emotionally and I think for us we're just trying to stay strong for the church community."

7pm - Wellington's Sky Stadium has extended its drive-through vaccination clinic.

Capital and Coast DHB says appointments are still available for Wednesday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

6:30pm - Most Aucklanders expected the news they were staying in alert level 4 for another two weeks, but hearing it wasn't exactly welcomed.  

Businesses in particular are wondering just how they're going to survive and are calling for more Government assistance to get through.

Read and watch the full story from Newshub's Tom McRae here.

6:15pm - Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand's level 4 restrictions are "making a difference" to our case numbers, suggesting daily cases may have been ten times higher on Monday if not for the lockdown.

At this afternoon's press conference, she said modelling had shown lockdown had prevented us seeing what could've been as many as 550 cases a day by now.

She held up a graph, created by disease modelling experts, that suggests daily case numbers would have been "literally off the charts" by now.

"The sacrifice everyone is making is extremely important and is making a difference," she said.

"Yesterday, I received this graph. The red line shows what would've happened if we hadn't moved hard and fast into level 4. It tells us that the daily case numbers are literally off the charts."

Read the full story here.

5:55pm - The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says they're continuing to evaluate MIQ's capacity for overseas returnees - particularly as New Zealanders infected in the outbreak take up space in facilities.

On August 25, there was an announcement that travel from Australia would be possible in September through a few red flights from the country. But with the new constraints from New Zealand's outbreak, one red flight from Sydney on September 5 has now been scheduled to bring back people who qualify for an emergency allocation of an MIQ voucher, MBIE's website says.

"With emergency allocations suspended for people in Australia since July, this brings Australia back in line with the rest of the world, where people have continued to have access to emergency allocations," they say.

"People in Australia who have already applied and were granted an emergency allocation have been advised by MIQ that they are eligible and are being contacted to arrange ticketing for the flight.

"Emergency allocations of MIQ vouchers are still available for the Sunday 5 September flight from Sydney. Travellers who wish to apply for an emergency allocation should apply as soon as possible, carefully checking the eligibility criteria and providing the evidence required."

Find out more and see how to apply for an emergency allocation request here.

People can apply until 5pm (NZST/3pm AEST) on September 2.

If people can't submit an application in time for this flight, MBIE will continue to process emergency allocation applications and eligible people will be given priority on the next scheduled flight, which is still to be confirmed.

"All travellers on red flights must not have been at a location of interest in the previous 14 days and must present a negative pre-departure test when checking in at the airport," MBIE says.

"Eligible people who are booked on the flight this Sunday must also allow time to have their pre-departure test, to be taken within 72 hours of departure."

This flight isn't open to the public for bookings, they say, and they aren't in a position yet to open up MIQ vouchers and travel from Australia via further red flights.

"As the situation with COVID-19 becomes clearer over the coming weeks, decisions will then be made on future travel from Australia."

The entrance of an MIQ facility.
The entrance of an MIQ facility. Photo credit: Getty Images

5:50pm - An immunologist says it is too early to say whether a woman's death is connected to a COVID-19 vaccine or another issue.

The Ministry of Health reported her death earlier today after she died from myocarditis - a rare side effect.

"We know already there is significant risk of myocarditis occurring following infection with the COVID-19 in some patients," says Professor Graham Le Gros, the director of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.

"There is a much smaller risk of people developing myocarditis following a vaccine, with there being no (zero) deaths in the 1226 reports of myocarditis after mRNA in the US from Jan-June 2021."

He says we should still be concerned and conduct an investigation to find out how her death occurred.

5:40pm - All personnel connected with the Royal New Zealand Navy accommodation facility at Narrow Neck in Devonport have tested negative for COVID-19 following a positive waste water test last week, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) says.

All 64 results have come back negative. This number comprises of 56 NZDF personnel and eight contractors who either live at or have visited the site.

No NZDF personnel have tested positive for COVID-19 in the current community Delta outbreak, they say.

Additionally, none of those isolating at Narrow Neck have worked at the Crowne Plaza MIQ facility.

5:35pm - Reacting to Auckland's level 4 extension, Mayor Phil Goff says that while most in the city won't like it, they'll understand the necessity for it.

"We know from Sydney's experience that unless lockdowns are swiftly implemented, are strong and well supported, the pandemic quickly gets out of control," he says.

"We all want to get back to life as normal as quickly as possible, but for that to happen the lockdown has to stay in place until the spread of the virus has been suppressed.

"The alternative is allowing huge numbers of people to become unwell, sometimes with lasting consequences, people to die in their hundreds and our hospitals and intensive care units to be overwhelmed."

Goff says they celebrate the fact that most of New Zealand can move back to level 3 this week. But he also points out that as the gateway city to the country - and with most of New Zealand's MIQ facilities - Auckland has carried the burden for most of Aotearoa.

"Auckland has already over the last 18 months been at higher lockdown levels than the rest of the country, and this will continue," he says.

"Because we live in the gateway city, Aucklanders are more vulnerable and at greater risk.

"It will be important for the Government to take all the steps that it can to help the region, one third of the country's population, to meet the costs of the lockdown."

Phil Goff.
Phil Goff. Photo credit: Getty Images

5:25pm - Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says police at checkpoints across Auckland have stopped and turned around a number of motorists for a range of reasons, including exercising or shopping outside their neighbourhood and attempting to visit family or friends. 

Other creative reasons for non-essential and long-distance travel around the country included needing to fix a shower, buying a puppy, delivering fish to a friend, getting "better quality meat", and going for a Sunday drive, Coster says.

Meanwhile in Wellington, police patrols on Sunday turned around a number of motorists who travelled to Pauatahanui inlet to see a pod of visiting orca.

Compliance update

As of 5pm yesterday, 107 people have been charged with a total of 115 offences nationwide since alert level 4 restrictions began.

The charges filed are:

  • Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19) - 75
  • Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction - 26
  • Health Act breaches - 11
  • Assaults/Threatens/Hinders/Obstructs Enforcement Officer - 3.

In the same time period, 293 people were warned for 295 offences. They are:

  • Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19) - 109
  • Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction - 101
  • Health Act breaches - 85.

Police have also issued 2179 infringements since August 19. They are:

  • Person failed to remain at current home / residence - 2018
  • Person failed to wear a face covering on premises - 41
  • Person failed to comply with applicable physical distancing rule - 62
  • Obstruct/Hinder Medical Officer of Health or Person Assisting Medical Officer/Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19) - 25
  • Person failed to wear a face covering on public transport - 6
  • Person in control of premises failed to close as required - 6
  • Person in control of workplace failed to display QR code - 13
  • Person organised a gathering in an outdoor place - 8.

5:15pm - Auckland Transport says it's seen 16 reported incidents involving abuse or aggression towards Auckland's train, bus, ferry, and security staff during alert level 4.

"It is appalling that someone should be attacked while doing their job as an essential worker," Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says.

"They are working under pressure during alert level 4 to keep public transport operating and support those who need to undertake essential travel.

"They deserve our respect and appreciation for the vital role they play within our community."

AT chief executive Shane Ellison says the increasing number of attacks against essential transport workers is a disgrace.

"We have staff working day and night to keep public transport operating and it's distressing when they come under attack from members of the public."

5:10pm - Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois says businesses doing it the hardest should be fairly compensated for their sacrifice - and the Auckland hospitality sector is "paying a heavy price" for the elimination strategy.

"Our most recent feedback from members shows that whilst they largely support the level 4 lockdown, 75 percent of those businesses wouldn't be financially viable after two weeks at this level," she says.

"What continues to be pushed under the carpet is the crippling losses that so many industries unable to operate at levels 4 and 3 are facing.

"Whilst we're pleased to see Northland coming down to level 3 on Thursday, there should be more financial recognition for our industry, particularly those establishments in Auckland."

Bidois says the hospitality industry knows what it needs to do to eliminate COVID-19 again, but there should be specific compensation offered to those who stand to lose the most.

5pm - Ardern and Dr Bloomfield's update has finished. To recap:

  • All of New Zealand south of the Auckland-Waikato border is moving to level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday
  • Northland will move to level 3 on Thursday if wastewater test results come back clear
  • Auckland will stay at level 4 for at least another two weeks.

4:57pm - Ardern says everyone will be vaccinated, even if you don't have ID.

ID can only be asked for to help with administration, but it is not a prerequisite for a vaccine.

Dr Bloomfield says the Ministry of Health provides a letter for people to prove they've been vaccinated if they need one.

4:53pm - On elective surgeries, Dr Bloomfield says they're starting to work with DHBs outside of Auckland on their plans to catch up on these.

For Auckland, they will look at semi-acute operations and whether they can be done elsewhere.

Dr Bloomfield adds that any urgent surgery is still being done.

4:49pm - Ardern says a split boundary with one area in level 2 and Auckland in level 4 could be possible.

There has been a level 2 and level 3 split before, but not a level 2 and 4 split.

Dr Bloomfield says that it could be level 2 but with some extra additions.

4:47pm - On the brief suspension of Parliament, Ardern says they worked hard on a virtual version of the House, but it wasn't agreed to at Business Committee.

Her preference is a virtual option, because it "does the same, if not more" than a physical meeting of the House.

"It's a shame the Opposition did not agree," she says.

4:43pm - If people are facing food insecurity due to the extended lockdown, Ardern encourages people to access MSD because they have flexibility to give people grants.

She also says that $2.8 million was put to existing providers and $7 million for those who work across food security. They could provide up to 60,000 parcels for those who need it.

Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield.
Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield. Photo credit: Getty Images

4:39pm - On opening new MIQ spots, Ardern says vouchers continue to be released, but new ones are on hold because facilities are being used for quarantine.

There is no timeline yet on when they will be offered again.

In terms of whether it's possible to go back to a large MIQ intake or reduce the risk and offer a smaller amount of rooms, Ardern says it's about reducind risk in other ways. This could be done through cohorting, testing, or vaccines, she says.

The ability to expand is limited due to staffing.

4:34pm - Ardern says vaccinators have been going into rest homes to reach people who may not be able to leave to get the vaccine.

In other cases, some centres are adapted to suits the needs of people who are autistic.

Dr Bloomfield says all DHBs have range of options to help people get a jab with a mobile vaccinators.

4:31pm - What happens when COVID is discovered in an essential workplace?

Bloomfield says it's same process with any case, but the cases are prioritised. They find all the workers in the workplace - usually it's just employees because we're in level 4 - and close contacts are stood down.

There is then a thorough assessment of the workplace. The place may stop producing, but in case of healthcare places, staff are stood down with replacements brought in.

4:28pm - On Northland moving to level 3 at the end of Thursday, Ardern says there are some sites in Warkworth that are concerning, because if cases emerge from large worksites, they're worried about moving too quickly.

The decision to hold the region there has nothing to do with Aucklanders' movements.

On testing, Ardern says Sunday has always been a low day, but hopes there will be more coming up, especially with more day 12 test results due soon.

4:25pm - After one Pasifika person was asked for a passport at a vaccination centre, Dr Bloomfield says there wasn't an intention to single someone out.

He says no one should be asked, but if someone doesn't have an NHI number, the process can be expedited by having a passport.

4:19pm - Dr Bloomfield says it was important to report the woman's death from the Pfizer vaccine because it helps vaccinators learn to look for side effects. He adds that the family has been helpful for research.

4:16pm - On vaccines, Ardern says that 35,000 vaccines per week is the goal.

She says there has been a surge in demand. Last week there were well over 500,000 doses and they are working on a strategy to meet the demand. 

"We are not running out of vaccine, but we are seeking to meet that demand," she says.

4:13pm - Ardern says Auckland will remain at level 4 for another two weeks.

On September 13 this will be reviewed. Ardern says they need to be confident Delta isn't circulating undetected in the community.

4:12pm - In terms of Northland, Ardern says additional wastewater testing in the region are due on Thursday, so Cabinet wants to wait for those results.

This means Northland move to level 3 at midnight on Thursday if tests come back clear.

4:10pm - Alert level 3 will stay for all of New Zealand south of the Auckland boundary from 11:59pm tomorrow, Ardern confirms.

Business owners are now able to enter their premises to get ready for this change.

3:55pm - We're just moments away from the alert level update. You'll be able to watch that here or follow along on this page.

3:45pm - A COVID-19 swabbing tent has been stolen from Tauranga.

"We are desperately sad to say that over the weekend our huge 6x6m pop up tent (with Party Hire branding) worth $4,000 was stolen from the back carpark at our practice, The Doctors Tauranga," they wrote on Facebook.

"COVID-19 testing continues here all day every day, for our community but it means that our nurses are now exposed to the weather. Plus, we were going to use it for COVID-19 vaccinations that are starting here too. "

They believe multiple are involved, given the size of the tent and how difficult it would be to steal.

They urge people to contact police on 105 if they know any details.

3:30pm - In half an hour, Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield will give an update on alert levels.

All of the country south of Auckland will move to level 3 from 11:59pm on Tuesday, but its northern neighbours will stay in level 4 - likely for another two weeks.

You'll be able to watch their update on Newshub's website. This page will also be updated as information comes to hand.

3:15pm - More from Auckland University Professor Helen Petousis-Harris on myocarditis.

She says in Europe there have been about 160 cases of the rare side effect following vaccination, and about five of those have died.

"The cases that have died have been older people with underlying conditions, so it gets harder to tease it out," she explained. "Most [cases] are reasonably mild and resolve with little treatment."

3pm - In a message to New Zealanders, Dr Tait said: "This is a very safe vaccine and the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks of developing COVID-19 or of being vaccinated.

"Vaccination is safe and a benefit to New Zealand."

2:58pm - Dr Tait reiterates that myocarditis is an "extremely rare" side effect associated with the vaccine, with research overseas indicating it is more common among younger males.

He says the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.

"The side effects are adequately reported," he said. 

2:55pm - Dr Tait says the woman developed myocarditis after receiving her first dose of the vaccine.

He says on the grounds of privacy, he cannot disclose the exact date of her death. The board was advised about three to four weeks ago.

2:53pm - Dr Tait says the onset of myocarditis typically begins three to four days after the first or second dose is administered.

He says despite the death occurring roughly a month ago, the correct processes had to be followed before the public could be informed.

He says 32 cases of myocarditis have been reported to the CV-ISMB as an adverse effect to the Pfizer vaccine to date.

2:50pm - The chairman of the COVID-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board (CV-ISMB), Dr John Tait, is answering questions about the death linked to the Pfizer vaccine. 

He says he cannot provide much information while the case is before the Coroner, but the woman was in her 50s.

2:40pm - The locations of interest have again been updated as of 2pm. The latest updates are:

  • Headquarters Bar - Saturday, August 14, 11:30pm - 1:30am: Anyone who hasn't already been tested should self-isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing
  • Elliott Stables - Tuesday, August 17, 3:25pm - 10:15pm: Isolate at home for 14 days from date of last exposure. Test immediately, and on days 5 & 12 after last exposure 
  • Tasi Market, Massey - Wednesday, August 25, 7:30am - 6pm: Isolate at home for 14 days from date of last exposure. Test immediately, and on days 5 & 12 after last exposure. 

2:30pm - Vaccinologist and associate professor Helen Petousis-Harris from the University of Auckland has highlighted just how the rare myocarditis is.

Earlier today it was announced that New Zealand had recorded its first death linked to the Pfizer vaccine after a woman died with myocarditis, a very rare side effect. The cause of death has not yet been determined and the case has been referred to the Coroner.

Speaking to Newshub, Petousis-Harris said the odds of the woman contracting myocarditis were "one per million".

"Adverse events that are serious do occur. The risk for myocarditis was highlighted some months ago, since then quite a lot of research has been undertaken to try and establish more about that risk," she told Newshub.

"It's very, very, particularly rare outside of young males who are getting their second dose… so this case is quite atypical of the cases that have been reported.

"If you are female and older than 30, the risks are more [towards] one per million, just to highlight how rare this is."

2:15pm - Following the news on Monday that New Zealand has recorded its first death linked to the Pfizer vaccine, health professionals are reiterating that the message stays the same - we need to keep vaccinating to stop the virus.

It's understood the woman died from myocarditis a month ago, a very rare side effect.

Dr Bryan Betty, the medical director of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, has reiterated that as with all medications, there will be a small number of people who experience side effects.

"We have seen today's sad news about the death of a woman from myocarditis a month ago and while this is a very rare side-effect, it is no less devastating for her family," Dr Betty said in a statement.

"As with all medications, there will be a small number who experience side effects. The message from health professionals is still the same; as a country we need to keep vaccinating to stop the virus.

"The data still shows that the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing vaccine side effects."

As well as stamping out the current outbreak, there is also a long-term benefit by ensuring all eligible people are vaccinated.

"Vaccinating as many people as possible now, also creates another level of safety when the time comes for our borders to open up again," says Dr Betty.

In New Zealand, adverse events following vaccinations are reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM).

2:05pm - Registered clinical psychologist Dr Sarb Johal says although the lower case number is an "encouraging sign", New Zealanders must continue to adhere as closely as possible to public health advice.

"To really make sure we get on top of this outbreak and to give us the best chance of moving into a different stage, we need to really focus on adhering as closely as possible to public health advice. This isn't a time to go easy, slack off, or cut corners. Keep on keeping on. STAY HOME and protect each other," Dr Johal said in a Twitter thread on Monday. 

"We might wish that we could just get back to 2019 and how life was. Simple, care-free, no regulations or restrictions to keep us safe. But we actually did have restrictions that we accept, like traffic lights, wearing seatbelts, and not smoking in places where it can harm others.

"We might feel betrayed that vaccines won't automatically release us of all future restrictions too. The virus has changed. Although we may wish it wouldn't, this is the reality. We have no choice but to react in response while constantly updating our knowledge about the virus. This will change, and fast. And we need to react rapidly because our BEHAVIOUR is still our best protection."

1:50pm - In case you missed it, New South Wales has recorded a staggering 1290 new cases - the highest number ever recorded in a state in one day.

Read more here.

1:30pm - A summary of today's main developments:

  • There are 53 new cases of COVID-19 to report on Monday, all of which are in Auckland
  • The outbreak now stands at 562 active cases - 547 in Auckland and 15 in Wellington. Two community cases have recovered
  • Thirty-seven people are in hospital, five of whom are in the ICU in a stable condition
  • There are 522 cases that have been epidemiologically linked to another case or sub-cluster - a further 42 have yet to be fully linked
  • There are seven epidemiologically linked sub-clusters - the two largest clusters are the Birkdale Social Network cluster (79 confirmed cases) and the Assembly of God church cluster (280 confirmed cases)
  • Whole genome sequencing has determined 345 community cases are all genomically linked to the current outbreak
  • Last week, ESR conducted testing of wastewater samples on behalf of the NZDF - COVID-19 was detected in a wastewater sample from the Fort Takapuna naval barracks on Auckland's North Shore, however the virus was not detected in the other 10 samples tested
  • As of 9am today, 34,120 individual contacts have been identified and around 87 percent have had a test
  • Yesterday 47,897 vaccines were administered. Of these 36,476 were first doses and 11,421 were second doses. This is a record for a Sunday. More than 3.33 million doses of the vaccine have been administered to date.

1:20pm - Ministry of Health statement continued:

Amberlea Home and Hospital Care Facility (Algie's Bay)

A mobile testing site remains at Amberlea today for testing of residents and staff.


Testing nationwide remains an essential part of our response to this outbreak, in particular providing confidence for understanding the extent of any spread of COVID-19.

Our advice remains the same - wherever you are in the country, if you were at a location of interest, at the specified times, or have cold and flu symptoms, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.

By calling Healthline, people who have been at locations of interest at relevant times are logged into the contact tracing system. This means their swab can be tracked and processed faster by the laboratories.

Information on the Ministry's Locations of Interest page also includes advice for contacts on how they should be keeping themselves safe, depending on the location they visited.

Yesterday, 16,370 tests were processed across New Zealand.

Testing centres in Auckland had another busy day yesterday with around 15,000 swabs taken across Auckland, with around 10,500 at community testing centres and around 4,500 at general practice and urgent care clinics.

There are 26 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today, this includes 4 invitation-only testing centres for high-risk groups and to prioritise essential health care workers, 6 regular community testing centres and 16 pop-up testing centres.

The community testing centres at Wiri and Balmoral are operating extended hours this week and will stay open until 8pm to supplement existing testing in Urgent Care Clinics.

To speed up the process for our staff at testing centres it is helpful to bring your NHI number with you. You can find your NHI number on a hospital letter or prescription. Or call 0800 855 066 to find out yours.

For up-to-date information on all testing locations, please visit the Healthpoint website.

The total number of COVID-19 tests processed by laboratories to date is 2,967,673.

The seven-day rolling average is 34,260.

Whole Genome Sequencing

ESR has now run whole genome sequencing on samples taken from around 345 community cases. Analysis of these samples has determined they are all genomically linked to the current outbreak.


Last week, ESR conducted testing of wastewater samples on behalf of the New Zealand Defence Force.

In total, twelve samples were submitted by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to ESR (via Watercare and Protec Consulting).

Four samples were received last Monday (23 August), two samples received last Tuesday (24 August), and six samples received last Thursday (26 August).

COVID-19 was detected in a sample from Fort Takapuna, on Auckland's North Shore sampled on 23 August.

The virus was not detected in the other 10 samples tested for NZDF.

Crowne Plaza update

Negative day 12 test results have now been received for all six people who were in the Crowne Plaza lobby at the same time as the earliest identified case.

Contact tracing

As of 9am today, 34,120 individual contacts have been identified and around 87% have had a test.

The percentage of people who've had a test will continue to fluctuate as the total number of contacts continues to change.

Locations of interest

Additional locations of interest continue to be identified. As at 8 o'clock this morning, there were 444 locations of interest.

Please remember to regularly check the Ministry's website. Locations are being automatically updated on a two-hourly basis between 8am and 8pm. If you have been to a location of interest during the relevant time, follow the advice on the website which will tell you whether you need to  self-isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing, or whether you just need to watch for symptoms.

However, anyone who develops symptoms whether or not they have been at a listed location of interest, should ring Healthline for advice on testing.

COVID-19 vaccine update

Yesterday 47,897 vaccines were administered. Of these 36,476 were first doses and 11,421 were second doses. This is a record for a Sunday.

More than 3.33 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date (to 11.59pm on 29 August).

Of these, 2.17 million are first doses and more than 1.16 million are second doses.

More than 197,000 Mâori have received their first vaccination. Of these, more than 104,000 have also had their second vaccinations.

More than 128,000 doses have been administered to Pacific peoples. Of these, more than 71,000 have also received their second doses.

1:19pm - There are 53 new cases of COVID-19 in the New Zealand community today. All 53 cases are in Auckland. This brings the total number of active cases in the community outbreak to 562.

The total number of community cases in Auckland is now 547 and in Wellington it is 15.  

There are 522 cases that have been clearly epidemiologically-linked to another case or sub-cluster, and a further 42 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  (79 confirmed cases), and the Mangere church cluster (280 confirmed cases).

Of the current community cases, 37 cases are in hospital – 32 are in a stable condition on a ward and five cases are in a stable condition in ICU. Two cases are in North Shore Hospital, 20 are in Middlemore Hospital, 14 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.

In addition to two recovered community cases in Auckland, one other case in a MIQ facility has now also recovered.

Our total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic is 3163.

Therefore, the total number of active cases being managed in New Zealand is currently 603.

There is one new case and one historical case of COVID-19 in recent returnees in managed isolation facilities.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, August 30

The historical case arrived on 25 August and tested positive at day 0. They are currently at a quarantine facility in Auckland.

The full travel history has now been confirmed for case one reported in yesterday’s statement – they travelled from Sri Lanka, via Auckland.

Since 1 January 2021, there have been 125 historical cases, out of a total of 1345 cases.

- The Ministry of Health.

1:04pm - Meanwhile, COVID-stricken New South Wales has recorded 1290 new cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm last night (local time).

12:58pm - The Ministry of Health is set to release today's case total at 1pm. We will publish the latest information as soon as we receive it.

12:50pm - To recap, this is the first death in the days following vaccination that has been linked to the Pfizer vaccine in New Zealand. To date, more than 3.28 million doses have been administered, with 1,148,640 people  fully vaccinated as of Sunday, August 29. More than 2.133 million Kiwis have received their first dose.

12:45pm - The benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 continue to greatly outweigh the risk of both infection and side effects, including myocarditis, the Ministry of Health says.

CV-ISMB chairman Dr John Tait says it's important to thoroughly investigate significant and serious adverse events related to vaccination.  

"We want to ensure that the outcomes from this investigation are widely available for others to learn from. The findings will be published to increase the scientific knowledge about vaccine-induced myocarditis," Dr John Tait said in a statement.  

Symptoms of myocarditis can include the sudden onset of chest pain, shortness of breath and an abnormal heartbeat. It's important anyone who experiences these symptoms in the first few days following vaccination seeks medical attention promptly.

"The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in protecting against serious illness and death from COVID-19, and we remain confident about using it in New Zealand," Dr Tait says.

It's important to get information from official sources. For reliable information about COVID-19. go to, or for information in English and Māori. For specific information about the Pfizer vaccine visit the Medsafe website.

12:40pm - The first death linked to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been recorded in New Zealand, says the Ministry of Health.

A woman died from a rare side effect of the vaccine, marking the first death in New Zealand with a clear link to inoculation.

"The COVID-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board (CV-ISMB) has advised the Ministry of Health to ensure that healthcare professionals and consumers remain vigilant and are aware of the signs of myocarditis and pericarditis. This advice follows the CV-ISMB's review of the death of a woman following her Comirnaty Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination,"  the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

"This is the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. While CARM [Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring] has received other reports of deaths in someone recently vaccinated, none are considered related to vaccination. Details of these cases have been published on the Medsafe website.

"The CV-ISMB has considered that the woman's death was due to myocarditis, which is known to be a rare side effect of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine."

The case has been referred to the Coroner and the cause of death has not yet been determined. The CV-ISMB noted there were other medical issues occurring at the same time which may have influenced the outcome following vaccination.

Further details cannot be released while the Coroner investigates. 

"The CV-ISMB extends their sympathies to the woman's family and friends during this difficult time and thanks the family for their assistance with this investigation."

In New Zealand, adverse events following vaccinations are reported to CARM. All cases with a fatal outcome are referred to the CV-ISMB for review. CARM provides as much information on the case as possible for the clinical experts on the CV-ISMB to help them in their consideration of whether there was a link to vaccination.  

12:35pm - A right-leaning political commentator has joined the chorus of opposition against the Government's segment of "spin" to start off the daily press conferences.

Several pundits and media commentators have urged the Government to "cut down on the spin", often centred around vaccination rates, at the start of the stand-ups and instead announce the outbreak's latest developments straight away.

"You see, the Government knows it's cocked up the vaccine rollout, so they're desperate to spin that we haven't. So we get spoon-fed good news and reports of daily records being reached," broadcaster Ryan Bridge said on The AM Show last week.

"But spin like this, before you've told scared and desperate Kiwis - trying to corral the kids to shut up for five minutes so you can hear one, how many goddamn cases have we got and two, did I visit a location of interest - is, well, pretty shameless."

Another pundit, former ACT Party staffer Trish Sherson, agreed - calling it a joke.

Read more here.

12:20pm - A local conspiracy group is in disarray after barely anyone turned up to an anti-lockdown protest in Auckland CBD last week.

Police arrived at Aotea Square to break up the demonstration on Friday after being alerted to chatter about the event on social media, but told Newshub only one person arrived with the intention of protesting.

"Police have been in the area and have spoken to one person who arrived intending to attend the protest," a spokesperson said. "Police spoke to the individual who was encouraged to comply with alert level 4 restrictions and chose to leave."

The embarrassing turnout has caused ructions within the prominent New Zealand conspiracy group, with one furious anti-lockdown protester turning on their fellow members and demanding answers for the no-show.

Read more here.

12:05pm - Another new location of interest has been added by the Ministry of Health as of 12pm.

Anyone who was at Newton Pharmacy Sport and Health between 3:15pm and 3:50pm on Friday, August 27 is asked to stay at home and get tested immediately.

Another test is required on or around day five after last exposure. People are asked to continue to stay at home until a negative result from the day five test has been returned.

12pm - To recap, there is no press conference at 1pm today. The Ministry of Health will instead release the latest developments via a statement. Newshub will publish today's case total as soon as it is made available.

However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will front a post-Cabinet press conference at 4pm to reveal the next steps for New Zealand's lockdown.

Everywhere south of the Auckland-Waikato border is set to shift to alert level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday, however, it's not yet known how long those regions will remain at level 3. Auckland and Northland will stay in lockdown, but again, the duration of alert level 4 has not been confirmed. Officials have indicated it could be another two weeks.

The Prime Minister will reveal this information at 4pm.

11:45am - Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall says it's "unacceptable" that members of the Pasifika community were asked to show their passports prior to vaccination appointments in the Bay of Plenty, behaviour that has been likened to the harmful Dawn Raids of the 1970s. 

Speaking to Morning Report, Dr Verrall said she "can't imagine" the reason behind the requests for documentation.

The DHB apologised to the Pasifika community on Sunday night, acknowledging the impact it might have had on their trust and confidence in the system.

"It certainly makes the people who we're calling to come in for vaccinations feel unwelcome and stigmatised and it should not happen," Dr Verrall said. "We want everyone to be protected by the public health response irrespective of your immigration status."

She reiterated that no one is required to bring their passport in order to get a vaccine.

Read more here.

11:30am - A reminder that you can keep up-to-date with the latest locations of interest via Newshub's infographic below - click on the 'Added' column heading to show the newest.

11:15am - The New Zealand International Students' Association (NZISA) says it is disappointed with the Government's lack of support for international students who are facing "significant hardship" during the ongoing lockdown.

In a statement on Monday morning, a spokesperson for the NZISA said a lack of employment opportunities for foreign nationals, and the limited availability of culturally responsive mental health support, is exacerbating hardship for struggling international students.

The President of the University of Canterbury Students' Association said international students are facing an "exceptionally difficult time right now", particularly following the "disappointing" closure of the International Student Hardship Fund.

"We pay extensive international student fees, support local economies, and contribute to the New Zealand job market. At the same time we are cut off from our families who are also struggling abroad," the spokesperson added.

"This disparity between the support given to international students and domestic students continues to drive a wedge between our communities. It goes to show that international students aren't a valued community in New Zealand and it shows a complete disregard for the immense contributions international students make to the country."

The NZISA is calling on the Government to consider reopening the National International Student Hardship Fund to provide financial support for struggling students.

Last year, the Government established the $1 million fund to provide direct financial relief or other support, including food parcels or payments towards living costs. 

Once the funding was allocated, it no longer accepted any new applications.

11am - The New Zealand Herald understands that roughly 50 new cases of COVID-19 will be reported on Monday, all of which are reportedly in Auckland.

This has not yet been confirmed by health officials, who will release the latest update in a statement at 1pm.

Cabinet will convene on Monday to discuss the next steps for Auckland and Northland, both of which will remain in lockdown as the rest of the country prepares to shift to alert level 3 tomorrow night. Officials have indicated that the Auckland region is likely to remain under level 4 restrictions for a further two weeks.

Most of the new cases will stem from swabs taken on Saturday, the Herald reports, with 23,000 people tested for the virus that day. 

If roughly 50 cases are reported on Monday, it will be a marked drop from the weekend's numbers. On Saturday, 82 new infections were recorded, with an additional 83 on Sunday. 

Last week, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said health officials were expecting the outbreak to reach its peak by the end of the week before beginning to plateau. This morning, modeller Professor Michael Plank confirmed the daily data was roughly in line with estimations, and said it appeared that case numbers are plateauing.

10:40am - According to a report by Stuff, just over half of trained vaccinators are actively administering the jab as the Government continues to face questions over the speed of its vaccination rollout.

Just over half of those trained to administer the vaccine have given out at least one dose, according to the report.

Nationwide, 11,170 people are considered "trained vaccinators", meaning they have completed their COVID-19 vaccinator and COVID Immunisation Register (CIR) training.

But as of August 21, only 6103 of them are "active vaccinators", meaning they have administered at least one dose since the rollout began.

As of Sunday, August 29, only 1.148 million second doses have been administered - meaning only about 22 percent of New Zealand's population is fully vaccinated.

10:25am - Three new potential exposure sites have been identified by the Ministry of Health.

All three are at the Tasi Market in the west Auckland suburb of Massey.

Anyone who was at the grocers between 7:30am and 6pm on Thursday, August 26 and Friday, August 27, or between 7:30am and 3pm on Saturday, August 28, are asked to isolate at home for 14 days from the date of last exposure and get tested immediately.

Customers who were there at the specified times are also asked to get tested on days five and 12.

10:15am - Epidemiologist Michael Baker has joined the growing number of experts calling for a rethink of the alert level framework.

According to RNZ, Baker is urging health officials to consider revising the alert level restrictions to ensure there is the necessary protocol in place to control and prevent aerosol transmission.

This would include reviewing who is an essential worker, the environment they are working in, and looking at ventilation and mask use.

It echoes calls made by Professor Shaun Hendy, who told Stuff workplace procedures regarding ventilation, distancing and mask use should be checked and tightened due to the increased infectiousness of the Delta variant.

"[There was] concern last year about surface transmission and handwashing. It seems now it's the aerosol spread that's dominant, so it's even more important to reduce the risk of that," he told the outlet.

10am - The AM Show's temporary host Ryan Bridge has revealed he was forced to Google himself on Monday morning to prove he was an essential worker to a police officer conducting traffic stops. 

Bridge, who is also a host for Magic Talk, said he was pulled over shortly before 4am while driving his partner's BMW to work.

Bridge said the officer "was a lovely guy" and took down his name and date of birth to check the car's registration, but it got tense when he found it was not in Bridge's name.

Read more here.

9:45am - New case numbers appear to be plateauing, says an expert, a sign Kiwis "can take some encouragement from".

COVID-19 modeller Professor Michael Plank from the University of Canterbury told Morning Report the recent case numbers have been "roughly" following the estimations outlined by data modelling. 

"I think it does look like the numbers are starting to plateau and we can take some encouragement from that," Plank said.

"And one of the things the modelling is showing is that if the numbers are going to come down, if the current settings are sufficient to control this outbreak, we should start to see that happening over the next week."

However, there remains a big question mark over how long it will take for the outbreak to tail off, he said.

"It's hard to say at this point. I mean, if the lockdown does prove to be really effective at stopping transmission between bubbles, it's possible we could see case numbers down to around 10 per day within the latter part of September... if we can get down to that level, we'll be in a really good position to eliminate the outbreak."

Plank believes an additional two weeks at alert level 4 for the Auckland region is a sensible time frame.

Read more here.

9:30am - The Government is working to secure more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from other countries to supplement our supply, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall told The AM Show on Monday morning.

Dr Verrall said while she could not divulge any information regarding the negotiations, the work is "progressing at pace".

The Government has been criticised for a sluggish vaccine rollout, with only about 21 percent of New Zealanders fully vaccinated.

Referring to Australia -  which purchased about 1 million Pfizer doses from Poland earlier this month - The AM Show host Ryan Bridge asked Dr Verrall whether the Government had been in contact with other nations in a bid to secure additional supply.

"Whenever you're in a negotiation you can't give the details away - it makes it very hard to be able to strike a deal. Nonetheless, officials have worked very hard in recent weeks over that and we hope that we'll be able to report back on that soon," Dr Verrall said. 

"We want to see if we're able to maintain this really high rate of vaccination that we've got at the moment and that's what we're working on."

Read more here.

9:20am - NZ Post is warning New Zealanders to expect some delays as the postal service prepares for an influx of parcels under alert level 3.

The national postal service says it is preparing for an increase in online shopping as the majority of New Zealand - excluding Auckland and Northland - is set to shift to alert level 3 on Tuesday night.

"As those areas south of Auckland move into alert level 3 and more items are available to be bought online, NZ Post is expecting an increase in parcels to be delivered, and there are likely to be some delays across the country," NZ Post chief customer officer Bryan Dobson said in a statement.

"We will be updating our website regularly and encourage customers to check there for updates on delivery times. NZ Post is gearing up to meet the increase in parcels and to reduce the impact of any delays." 

The service says it has redesigned its Auckland network since the last lockdown to ease potential areas of congestion, set up temporary processing sites and operate extended processing hours.

"We ask Kiwis to please be patient and understanding as we do our best to deliver your items to you as soon as possible… it may take a few more days than it would at normal times," Dobson continued.

9am - MetService has created a useful tool to help Kiwis make the most of their time in lockdown.

The interactive map shows the best times to get out in the garden or go for a walk in the neighbourhood based on the day's wind, rain and temperature forecasts. 

"We all know the rules, but remember if exercising to stay local, stick to your bubble, keep your distance from others, and don't undertake activities that could put others at risk if things go wrong."

8:45am - The popular bar Headquarters in Auckland's Viaduct is among the latest locations of interest - and outspoken owner Leo Molloy isn't pleased about it.

On Sunday night, the Ministry of Health added Headquarters as a potential exposure site, asking patrons who were there on Saturday, August 14 from 11:30pm to 1:30pm to isolate at home for 14 days from the date of last exposure - despite the event already being more than two weeks' old.

Patrons who were there at the specified time are urged to get tested immediately, as well as on days five and 12.

In a post shared to the bar's Facebook page last night, businessman Molloy - a prominent but controversial figure in Auckland's hospitality industry - claimed no staff or customers have presented "clinical signs" or been infected with COVID-19.

"The muppets rang us on the Tuesday the 24th and said they'd been trying to email us but they didn't have 'nz' on the end of the email address [sic]," he wrote. "I did advise them that this date was, even at that stage, two incubation cycles ago.

"It's only 15 days old... I hope you all got tested on the 19th and 26th… even though you had no idea we were a location of interest.

"Have I not been telling you this is a shambles?"

8:30am - Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall says the Defence Force is "going through the normal process in conjunction with public health" after COVID-19 was detected in an Auckland facility's wastewater.

According to Stuff, the naval barracks in the North Shore suburb of Narrow Neck are in full lockdown after wastewater samples collected from the facility last week returned a positive result.

The barracks accommodate personnel who are stationed at managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

Speaking to RNZ, Verrall said wastewater samples can test positive for COVID-19 "from time to time" and it's not always due to an active case.

A second test on Thursday returned a negative result.

A spokesperson for the Defence Force confirmed to the New Zealand Herald that the facility entered lockdown as a precaution after the wastewater sample tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The spokesperson said 54 personnel have returned negative results so far.

"The navy has called in personnel who were on reserve standby to replace personnel who were rostered to start a MIQF duty," the spokesperson told the Herald.

8:20am - An immigration lawyer is urging the Government to act swiftly as visa delays lead to the loss of urgently needed medical staff.

Kamil Lakshman is calling for a fast-tracked work-to-residence process for both doctors and nurses, noting that medics are the soldiers on the frontline against COVID-19.

Speaking to RNZ, Lakshman said there was a lack of urgency around immigration policy, especially given what was at stake.

"The way I look at it is this virus is like an enemy, an unseen enemy - and our doctors and our medical profession and our health care workers are the soldiers that are guarding us if it blew up," she said.

"So then surely we need to protect these people, surely we need to retain them. We need to look at it like an emergency and the narrative needs to change."

Expressions of interest (EOIs) in skilled migrant residence visas are still being accepted, but none have been selected for 18 months since they were suspended at the start of the pandemic.

More than 10,000 EOIs are waiting to be selected, including more than 900 nurses and 235 doctors.

Lakshman believes a fast-tracked work-to-residence visa without the usual minimum timeframes would solve the problem, as well as potentially attracting more medical staff to come from overseas.

Read more here.

8:10am - The Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is encouraging Kiwis to get "scam savvy" as fraudulent schemes run rampant online amid the ongoing lockdown.

New research from BNZ has found nearly four out of five New Zealanders have been targeted by a scam, with nearly a quarter falling victim to one.

The research also revealed that one in five New Zealanders believe organisations aren't doing enough to keep their personal information safe. It comes as BNZ launches its annual 'Scam Savvy Week' during lockdown, running from Monday, August 30 to Friday, September 3.

BNZ Head of Financial Crime, Ashley Kai Fong, says: "With Aotearoa back into lockdown more people are online - shopping, communicating, and keeping busy. But that comes with an increased risk of falling victim to the rising tide of scams and we all need to remain vigilant and get clued up on how to recognise and avoid scams.

"The best defence against scams is you. Knowing what to look for and what to do if you fall victim to a scam is one of the best ways to keep these criminals at bay.

"Launching Scam Savvy Week during lockdown is a no brainer. New Zealanders are online and on their phones and we want them to have access to the tools and resources at that will help them stay safe."

Fong says lockdowns create "a unique opportunity" for scammers, who will frequently mimic missed deliveries or offer expedited tests and vaccinations for a fee. 

"These are a depraved and hideous scam that prey on people's uncertainty, worry, and heightened stress levels," Fong says. "Remember, there is no cost to get a jab or a test. They are free and always will be. If you receive an email like this, report it to CERT NZ and if you're unsure if it's legitimate or not, ring Healthline on 0800 358 5453." 

8am - Teachers are calling on New Zealanders to help fund the thousands of food parcels going out to families in hardship as "the hardest lockdown yet" nears its second week.

In a statement via KidsCan on Monday morning, teachers urged Kiwis to help provide "critical support" for struggling families who are in urgent need of food.  

"I was lying awake last night unable to sleep trying to come up with a plan to help our whānau as the lockdown extension means critical support is now needed. We have 25 families that require food support, and I am at a loss of how to help them," one early childhood teacher wrote to KidsCan. 

"We just can't afford to buy enough food, there are hardly any cheap things in the supermarket because they are all sold out, so we have to buy the expensive brands," one parent wrote to their kindergarten. 

"Our whānau are struggling with transport, money, being a solo parent, overcrowded houses, emergency houses and supermarkets closing in their area as they were on the list of locations of interest," another teacher wrote. 

In response, KidsCan aims to deliver 2500 food parcels to struggling families in communities in Auckland and Wellington affected by COVID-19. 

"The children in these families would have been fed breakfast, snacks and lunch at early childhood centres and school every day," KidsCan's CEO Julie Chapman says. "Now, suddenly, their parents are having to find extra money for food in budgets that most people would struggle to survive on. 

"We're urging Kiwis who are in a position to help to once again donate $19 to turn COVID-19 into something positive - please visit and be part of the KidsCan village."

The $200 food parcels, from Foodbox, will be delivered directly to families needing support. Each parcel contains around 40kg of food, including bread, cheese, milk, butter, 2kg of fresh fruit and more than 6kg of fresh vegetables, 1kg of mince, two chickens, sausages, a tray of eggs, and pantry staples like olive oil, flour, baked beans, tinned fruit and vegetables, rice, oats, pasta, and pasta sauce.

You can donate at

7:50am - Naval barracks on Auckland's North Shore are now in lockdown after COVID-19 was detected in the facility's wastewater, according to Stuff.

The facility accommodates personnel who are stationed at the city's managed isolation facilities.

The barracks are located on Vauxhall Rd in Narrow Neck, a North Shore suburb neighbouring Devonport - where the first positive case emerged in the current outbreak.

Stuff understands about 60 officers and naval ratings are currently confined to their quarters at the barracks while they isolate and await test results.

It follows wastewater from the facility testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday after a sample was collected two days earlier.

7:40am - When asked about COVID-19 vaccinations, Dr Verrall said New Zealand has enough vaccines to vaccinate the population by the end of the year.

She noted there may be a temporary point where there may be limited supply and the rollout may have to be slowed down.

Dr Verrall said health authorities are in negotiations to potentially get more vaccines for New Zealand but wouldn't provide any details.

"Whenever you are in negotiations you can't give details away, it makes it very hard to be able to strike a deal. But nonetheless health officials have worked very hard in recent weeks over that and we hope to be able to report back on that soon.

She said they are trying to "maintain this very high rate of vaccination that we have got at the moment and that's what we are working on".

7:25am - Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said she didn't have an update on COVID-19 numbers from overnight.

Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall.
Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. Photo credit: The AM Show

7:05am - Gorman said while lockdowns are an important part of our elimination strategy currently, they aren't the best long-term COVID-19 strategy for New Zealand.

"If we pursue an elimination strategy into 2022/ 2023, that comes with a hard border which is not compatible with the way our society works, and frequent lockdowns. But with frequent lockdowns you run out of money and you run out of goodwill very, very fast. Long-term elimination strategies based on lockdowns are simply untenable. I think we need lockdowns now while we are being vaccinated but long term elimination is not a sustainable strategy."

6:50am- Gorman assured it is very unlikely New Zealand will still be in lockdown by Christmas.

"The only reason for that would be if we had a New South Wales situation where people have said 'I'm not going to sit at home, I'm going to wander around the neighbourhood and breathe on everybody I can.'"

He told The AM Show the Government's move to increase the number of contact tracers "tells you how ill prepared they were".

"There's nothing new that we are seeing here. We've known about this strain for a long, long  time. Better late than never of course in terms of boosting our contact tracing capacity, but the truth is, our testing capacity and our contact tracing capacity were nowhere near good enough. They simply weren't prepared."

He said it emphasises the importance of the COVID-19 lockdown to stamp out the virus.

6:35am - Gorman said the fact New Zealand "was so poorly prepared" meant there was a lot of spread of COVID-19 within households.

"Because of the queues to get tested, people got tested late, it took a day or so for the results to come back and people have been left in their homes for another day or so before they have been shifted on to a quarantine facility. It's made sure if there is one person who is infected in a family of six, by the time this has all occurred all six of you are infected."

6:25am - University of Auckland medical professor Des Gorman said it looks like New Zealand's COVID-19 numbers are plateauing but it's too soon to read much into them.

"Our public health measures were overwhelmed in the first couple of days of this outbreak," he told The AM Show.

"We just weren't ready. People were late getting tested and the results were late coming back and people were left in their homes when they were infected so it infected the whole family. So if you look at the numbers, they are entirely consistent with the spread of households and pre-lockdown infection. I can't see any evidence there at all that there is something dire or very worrying going on. What I see is entirely predictable." 

Medical professor Des Gorman.
Medical professor Des Gorman. Photo credit: The AM Show

6:10am - The AM Show is on this morning from 6am with the latest on the COVID-19 outbreak. University of Auckland medical professor Des Gorman is on at 6:15am to discuss the COVID-19 case numbers and New Zealand's elimination strategy. Then at 7:20am Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall will be asked to provide an update on the outbreak. At 8:50am Southern Cross Health Society chief medical officer Dr Stephen Child explains why you should go to the GP during lockdown.

Watch The AM Show on Three or online here.

5:45am - The trucking sector wants more details before checkpoints are established at Auckland's southern boundary.

Applications are open for border exemptions as New Zealand prepares to split into two different COVID-19 alert levels from Wednesday; Auckland and Northland level 4 and the rest of the country 3.

But Nick Leggett, from the Road Transport Forum, says it was a tedious experience during Auckland's last lockdown.

"If we don't have clarity and if there are hold ups at the road blocks, I think what we'll see is gridlock along those highways," he told Newshub. "We're going to see goods not delivered on time [and] people not being able to get tot essential work on time."

5:30am - On Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed four essential workplaces have had COVID-19 transmission among staff during the latest outbreak - and suggested tougher restrictions might be needed.

"If we need to tighten up our restrictions further, we will," she told reporters.