As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Friday, October 15

Two more groups of people have been arrested for allegedly breaching COVID-19 restrictions by leaving Auckland, which remains in alert level 3.

On Thursday night, police confirmed a 36-year-old man had travelled from Auckland to Wellington on October 8 before heading to Wānaka on October 12. He has been charged with failing to comply with a COVID-19 Order and is due to appear in the Queenstown District Court on October 18. 

Two women have also been arrested and charged with failing to comply with a Health Order after they travelled from Auckland to Blenheim in the South Island. The pair, aged 48 and 49, were due to appear in Blenheim District Court on Thursday. Both have been tested negative for COVID-19.

Sixty-five new community cases of COVID-19 have been reported on Friday after the "sobering, but not unexpected" total of 71 on Thursday. Thirty-one have yet to be linked to an existing case and 34 people are in hospital with the virus. Thirty of the cases reported yesterday were infectious while in the community.

On Friday morning, the Ministry of Health announced that a second wastewater sample collected from the Te Awamutu catchment on Wednesday has tested positive for COVID-19. The virus was also detected in a sample taken from the Waikato town earlier in the week. Public health teams have yet to identify anyone in the area who has recently returned from a managed isolation and quarantine facility, the ministry said.

Locals who are symptomatic, have family or household members who are symptomatic, or who travel regularly in and out of the community for work are urged to get tested as soon as possible.

COVID-19 was also detected in a composite sample collected from Wellsford on Tuesday.

What you need to know:

  • Sixty-five new cases have been recorded on Friday, all in Auckland - 31 of the cases have yet to be linked to the outbreak. 
  • Thirty-four people are in hospital, six in the ICU or HDU
  • Auckland will remain in alert level 3 under step one of the Government's 'roadmap to recovery' until at least next Tuesday.
  • Northland and parts of Waikato will remain in alert level 3 until at least 11:59pm on Monday, October 18. 
  • COVID-19 has been detected in wastewater samples from Te Awamutu and Raglan. A second sample taken from Te Awamutu on Wednesday has tested positive as of Friday morning. Symptomatic locals or those who travel regularly for work are urged to get tested as soon as possible.
  • Dr Ashley Bloomfield has granted a coalition of around 25 businesses across a range of sectors an exemption to import 300,000 rapid antigen tests. 
  • Dr Shane Reti has berated Health Minister Andrew Little's ICU surge management plan as a "disaster", saying ICUs in areas with large Māori populations were already at capacity pre-COVID.
  • Politicians, healthcare workers and community leaders are gearing up for the Super Saturday national vaccination drive tomorrow (October 16). Countdown, Uber and the Chiefs are among those supporting the campaign with vaccination perks - incentives so far include free rugby tickets, rides to vaccination clinics for eligible people, groceries, food vouchers and an abundance of free food, including ice-cream, fish and chips and sausage sizzles.
  • Click here for all the locations of interest.

These live updates have finished.

7:20pm - The South Island's West Coast has seen a sharp rise in people having their COVID-19 shots and is giving the rest of New Zealand competition in the race to become the most vaccinated region. 

The percentage of people who've had their vaccines in the areas surrounding Hokitika has had the sharpest increase this past week. 

In a vaccination ute, vaccinators will drive 350 kilometres from Hokitika to Haast. Westland District Mayor Bruce Smith says every road will be covered. 

"They'll get up every bush road, every back road, I think it's a wonderful initiative." 

Read the full story here.

7:10pm - The Ministry of Health has announced 16 new locations of interest as of 6pm. 

New locations of interest include Waitakere Hospital Emergency Room Henderson, 10 Countdown stores, Clevedon Road Liquor Papakura, Golden Bakery East Tamaki, Unichem Sunnynook Pharmacy Sunnynook, Hollywood Bakery and Espresso Albany.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Friday, October 15

6:35pm -  Newshub can exclusively reveal that a crew member on a New Zealand warship conducting military exercises in the South China Sea has tested positive for COVID-19.

The infected sailor, who is vaccinated, is onboard the Navy's frigate, the HMNZS Te Kaha.

The sailor returned a positive result after a port visit to Guam, a US island territory in Micronesia.

Guam has recorded more than 220 COVID-19 deaths and reported 95 new cases on Thursday.

A New Zealand Defence Force spokesperson told Newshub the crew member will remain on the vessel.

"The sailor, who is asymptomatic, is receiving medical advice and support, and is in isolation on the ship".

The other 174 crew members on the frigate and "all other crew" have returned negative results.

Read the full article here.

6pm - It's time for Newshub Live at 6pm for the latest on the COVID-19 outbreak. You can watch online here or on Three.

5:25pm - Kiwi's have taken to social media to reveal what life is like during and after contracting COVID-19, proving long haul COVID certainly exists. 

A Kiwi couple in the United Kingdom contracted COVID-19 in the early stages of the outbreak and the consequences are extensive. 

Posting on Reddit, the person says their partner, an ex-professional athlete in his 30s, has had lasting effects. 

"He is now allergic to dairy, legumes and beer." 

But that isn't it, they say he can't do any cardio exercise or get too hot, which includes being in the sun, without breaking out in sweats. 

"It's been particularly hard for him as he's always been a picture of health and strength."

Read the full article here.  

4:40pm - As COVID-19 cases continue to grow, the international media has painted a grim picture of the current outbreak in New Zealand. 

New Zealand's reputation in the international media for having one of the world's leading COVID-19 responses has been put in doubt with many forecasting New Zealand could be on track for "disaster."  

In Australia, NewsCorp website, journalist Ben Graham wrote that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's "crown may be about to slip". 

He noted New Zealand had long recorded minuscule numbers of cases compared to many other countries but there had been a "seismic shift" in the direction the country was going in recent weeks.

Read the full story here. 

4:00pm - Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield has announced people who contract COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated are likely to require shorter periods in isolation. 

Bloomfield told Morning Report that vaccinated people appeared to be infectious for a shorter period of time. 

"They're less likely to pass on the virus and if they are infectious, they are infectious for a shorter period so therefore, especially if they're asymptomatic ... they would only require a shorter period at home." 

By contrast, those who are unvaccinated - even if they didn't have symptoms - were more likely to pass on the virus, Bloomfield said.

"So they would need to remain isolated to avoid passing it on to others, for a longer period."

Read the full story here

3:45pm - New Zealand's largest Māori Public Health Organisation has designed a platform to counter data inequity and disinformation ahead of the Super Saturday Vaxathon. 

Hāpai Te Hauora have teamed up with Atamai Digital to create a safe platform to connect whānau and Māori health providers to trusted information, bridging the gap between Ministry of Health information and community intel.

 "This project was born out of the sheer frustration of seeing my iwi have to wait days for information to be made public when community and local health provider intel is travelling faster, allowing us to keep pace with Delta and giving us time to send "Kia mataara" messages out to our people," Hāpai Research Unit Lead, Maria Ngāwati says. 

Hiria Te Rangi, Founder of Atamai Digital and a Māori tech advocacy expert is unsurprised by this response. 

"Whānau, hapū, iwi and hāpori Māori have always led the way in times of crisis, that Māori continue to lead in the war against COVID-19 is no different," she says. 

"Our Māori health providers who are dedicated to frontline efforts are tired and need all the support that they can get, to fight this ngāngara." 

"Timely, public health data needs to help inform and support the important work that is being carried out on the ground - they need urgent IT infrastructure and funding support to amplify the mahi already being done."

3:25pm - Victoria University has announced that they're making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for students and staff living and working in student accommodation in 2022. 

Students wanting to live in one of the University's halls of residence will be required to show evidence they have been fully vaccinated. Staff working in the halls will also be required to be fully vaccinated. 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says they came to the decision after consultation with staff and students representative groups and the Tertiary Education as well as a detailed risk assessment. 

"The health and safety of our students and staff is a priority for the University. Our halls of residence provide a 24/7 living environment where students are in close proximity to each other and also with members of University staff who work, and in some cases, live in the halls. 

"We already have a wide range of measures in place to reduce the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19 but our risk assessment has shown the higher level of protection provided by vaccination is required given that the Delta variant is now spreading within New Zealand. 

"We are satisfied that given the living environment in our halls of residence, mandatory vaccination for those residing and working there is the right response to the existence of COVID-19 in the community." 

The University is currently considering requirements for others who work in its halls of residence, such as contractors and external providers of maintenance and other services.

2:55pm - Here's some of the latest vaccination figures:

  • 88 percent of Auckland's eligible population has received at least one dose
  • 67 percent of eligible people in Auckland are fully vaccinated
  • New Zealand's overall vaccination rate is 83.4 percent (at least first dose) with 61.8 percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated
  • More than 68,000 vaccines were administered nationwide yesterday
  • 3571 first doses were administered to Aucklanders on Thursday and 17,399 second doses.

2:45pm - Hawke's Bay District Health Board (DHB) has raised concerns about an anti-vaccination contractor.

Dr Elena Bishop, an anatomical pathologist, works for Southern Community Laboratories on-site at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

She has called Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine "a crime against humanity" in an online video, claiming the Government, doctors and nurses are "implicated" and the media also "will be punished".

"We have to stop this before it's too late," she said.

Southern Community Laboratories chief executive Peter Gootjes would not comment to RNZ about his staff member's statements.

But in a statement to RNZ, Hawke's Bay DHB said it had contacted Gootjes about Bishop, raising concerns that "her practice may not be in line with Medical Council requirements".

"The DHB has further concerns, regarding her position, following the Government announcement that vaccination will be a mandatory requirement for healthcare workers from December 1."

Dr Bishop is one of a handful of doctors who have pushed anti-vaccination views in online videos.

Read more here.

2:40pm - With daily cases tipped to reach "triple-digits", the Government is shifting its strategy against the virus - so expect changes to MIQ, rule enforcement, and how the infected are treated as New Zealand enters a new phase of the COVID-19 response.

From MIQ to home recovery, here are five things to watch for as officials alter their approach to cope with "triple-digit" case numbers.

2:30pm - The outbreak in Auckland has grown at a pace "beyond what we have expected", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has admitted. 

Ardern's comments came as she visited vaccination sites in Taranaki on Friday. She was asked how likely it would be for Auckland to see further relaxing of restrictions in the coming weeks.

"You will have already seen that we laid out a plan for Auckland that depending on what is happening with the outbreak and of course vaccination levels, we considered opportunities week-by-week for those step downs," she told reporters. 

"As you will have seen though of course, the outbreak has continued to grow - we expected that - but at a pace that is beyond what we have expected. 

"What I'm asking Aucklanders: please, continue to stick to those rules, keep getting vaccinated. That will help us with easing restrictions."

Read more here.

2:15pm - Here are the latest locations of interest and potential exposure sites as of 12pm.

New locations of interest include New World in Birkenhead, Countdown in Ponsonby, Chemist Warehouse in Glen Innes, Chemist Warehouse in Henderson, West Liquor in Glendene and Fresh Choice in Glen Eden.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Friday, October 15
As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Friday, October 15

2pm - The Warehouse Group is showing its support for the Super Saturday initiative by providing more than $80,000 in spot prizes for vaccination clinics and on-site store locations across Aotearoa.

"We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves, our whānau and our community. Vaccination is the most important tool we have to keep our country safe. We're pleased to play our part in supporting Kiwis to get vaccinated," says Nick Grayston, The Warehouse Group CEO. 

More than $65,000 in vouchers from The Warehouse will be up for grabs on Saturday at key vaccination sites across the country and throughout the live televised Vaxathon event. There will also be 500 six-month MarketClub memberships from given away over the course of the day.

Vaccination sites will also be set up by the Ministry of Health at the following The Warehouse locations:

  • The Warehouse Dargaville from 10am to 6pm

  • The Warehouse New Plymouth from 9am to 3.30pm

  • The Warehouse Bell Block from 12pm to 2pm

  • The Warehouse Hillcrest from 10am to 4pm.

"We encourage everyone in New Zealand to get vaccinated during 'Super Saturday' to protect themselves, their workmates, their friends and their whānau against COVID-19," says Grayston.

The Warehouse Group has actively supported team members to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by offering on-site workplace vaccinations at selected locations, as well as a one-off payment of $100 to all fully vaccinated employees across the Group, which includes The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, Torpedo7 and

1:45pm - The Southern COVID-19 vaccination programme has partnered with Dunedin City Council to host a vaccination event in Dunedin's Octagon, 10am to 3pm, on Super Saturday.

About 70 vaccination sites will be open across the Southern District Health Board area offering walk-in vaccinations and the opportunity to talk through any questions you might have. Find a full list of sites here.

The Southern COVID-19 vaccination programme is aiming to vaccinate at least 90 percent of its eligible population by Christmas and programme lead, Hamish Brown, is urging everyone to take up the opportunity to get vaccinated so we can all get back to the things we love.

"We have been so pleased with the public response to the vaccine and the hard work of all our healthcare workers on the ground who have kept up with demand, especially under the recent restrictions," he said on Friday.

"We are now getting into the last push to protect our population and urge everyone who hasn't yet received their vaccine to take the opportunity to now, not only to protect themselves, but to protect their whānau and wider community - especially those who are unable to get the vaccine themselves such as children under 12."

To date, 83.9 percent of the Southern District aged over 12 have had at least one dose of the vaccine and 61.4 percent are fully vaccinated.

Walk-in appointments are now available at vaccination centres in Dunedin and Invercargill and vaccinating pharmacies across the district. Other providers may also be in a position to offer walk-in appointments and will advertise these locally.

Appointments are still available to book at a time and location most convenient to you via or over the phone by calling 0800 28 29 26.

1:30pm - Dr Ashley Bloomfield has shared a rare tweet calling on New Zealanders to get vaccinated tomorrow for Super Saturday. 

"Shot Aotearoa," he wrote.

1:25pm - Tāmaki Makaurau, Northland and part of Waikato compliance update

Since alert level 3 came into place, 21 people have been charged with a total of 22 offences in Tāmaki Makaurau, Northland and parts of the Waikato as of 5pm on Thursday.

Of these, 17 were for failing to comply with order (COVID-19), two were for failure to comply with direction/prohibition/restriction, two were for assaults/threatens/hinders/obstructs enforcement officer and one was a Health Act breach.

In the same time period, 26 people were formally warned.

Police have received a total of 3,883 online breach notifications relating to businesses, mass gatherings or people in Tāmaki Makaurau, Northland and parts of the Waikato.

Alert level 2 compliance update

Forty-five people have been charged with a total of 50 offences in alert level 2 as of 5pm on Thursday.

Of these, 43 are for Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19), three for Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction, three for Failing to Stop (COVID-related), and one is for Assaults/Threatens/Hinders/Obstructs Enforcement Officer.

In the same time period, 20 people have been warned – 12 for Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction and eight for Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19).

One person has received a youth referral for Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19). 

To date, Police have received a total of 2023 online breach notifications relating to businesses, mass gatherings or people in alert level 2.

Checkpoint figures

As of 11:59pm yesterday, a total of 675,341 vehicles have now been stopped at the checkpoints on Auckland's northern and southern boundaries, with a total of 8847 vehicles turned around.

On Thursday, 24,918 vehicles were processed at the checkpoints, 207 of which were turned around.

A total of 71 out of 4638 vehicles were turned away at the northern checkpoints yesterday, while 136 vehicles out of 20,280 were turned around at the southern checkpoints.

As of 11:59pm last night, 38,148 heavy vehicles have been stopped and 1177 of them have been turned around attempting to leave Tāmaki Makaurau, 25 of which were turned around yesterday.

1:10pm - Here is the Ministry of Health's full press release for Friday, October 15:

65 community cases of COVID-19; 1 new case in managed isolation; more than 68,000 vaccines administered yesterday  

There are 65 new community cases today. As at 11am, 34 of these cases are linked, 10 are household contacts, and 31 remain unlinked with investigations continuing to help determine their connection to the current outbreak. 

Super Saturday

Vaccination remains our number one protection against COVID-19. We are asking everyone in Aotearoa to either get vaccinated or support someone to get vaccinated as part of Super Saturday – our national day of action for vaccination, tomorrow (October 16, 2021).

There will be more than 120 extra vaccination sites open, with many sites operating with extended hours and events and prizes on offer around the regions.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Healthline (0800 28 29 26) will also have extra staff available to answer any vaccine-related questions.

A live Vaxathon will run from midday to 8pm. The event will celebrate the regions with the biggest change in vaccination numbers and will be supported by well-known Kiwis.

Visit the Unite Against COVID Super Saturday webpage for more information.



Number of new community cases


Number of new cases identified at the border


Location of new community cases

Auckland (65)

Location of community cases (total)

Auckland 1801 (1170 of whom have recovered); Waikato 37 (2 of whom have recovered); Wellington 17 (all of whom have recovered)

Number of community cases (total)

1855 (in current community outbreak)

Cases infectious in the community  

30 of yesterday's 71 cases have exposure events

Cases in isolation throughout the period they were infectious  

41 of yesterday's 71 cases

Cases epidemiologically linked

34 of today's 65 cases

Cases to be epidemiologically linked

31 of today's 65 cases.  

Cases epidemiologically linked (total)

1712 (in the current cluster) (107 unlinked from the past 14 days)


Given the number of unlinked cases each day, subclusters are not currently being used in the active management of the outbreak in Auckland. Epidemiological links are being explored during case interviews and whole genome sequencing is being undertaken on all cases, but the focus is on isolating cases and identifying, testing and isolating close contacts.

Cases in hospital

34 (total): North Shore (3); Middlemore (18); Auckland (12); Palmerston North Hospital (1)

Cases in ICU or HDU


Confirmed cases (total)

4538 since pandemic began

Historical cases, since 1 Jan 2021 (total)

169 out of 2723 since Jan 1, 2021



Number of active contacts being managed (total):


Percentage who have received an outbound call from contact tracers (to confirm testing and isolation requirements)


Percentage with at least one test result


Locations of interest


Locations of interest (total)

428 (as at 10am, October 15)



Number of tests (total)


Number of tests total (last 24 hours)


Tests processed in Auckland (last 24 hours)


Tests rolling average (last 7 days)


Testing centres in Auckland




Wastewater detections

A second wastewater sample taken from Te Awamutu on Wednesday has tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19  was also detected in a composite sample collected from Wellsford on Tuesday.

COVID-19 vaccine update


Vaccines administered to date (total)

6,113,819; 1st doses: 3,512,376 (83pct); 2nd doses: 2,601,443 (62pct)

Vaccines administered yesterday (total)

68,003; 1st doses: 15,121; 2nd doses: 52,882


1st doses: 361,310; 2nd doses: 236,057

Pacific Peoples

1st doses: 223,947; 2nd doses: 156,831

Vaccines administered to Auckland residents to date (total)

2,214,969: 1st doses: 1,256,071 (88pct); 2nd doses: 958,898 (67pct)

Vaccines administered to Auckland residents yesterday (total)

20,970: 1st doses: 3,571, 2nd doses: 17,399



Registered users (total)


Poster scans (total)


Manual diary entries (total)


Poster scans in 24 hours to midday yesterday


New case identified at the border

  • Arrived October 13 from Russia via the UAE and tested positive on arrival.

Waikato update

Waikato DHB is continuing to carry out regionwide testing to help rule out any undetected community spread of COVID-19.

There are five community testing centres available across Waikato today, including a pop-up testing centre in Te Awamutu following a second positive wastewater detection in the area.

Public health officials have yet to identify anyone who returned to the area from managed isolation and quarantine and could be shedding the virus in the area.

For this reason, anyone in the Te Awamutu area who has symptoms of COVID-19 or have family or household members who are symptomatic - or anyone who travels in and out of the area regularly for work - is urged to get tested as soon as possible.

Anyone who has been at a location of interest at the relevant time and is now in Te Awamutu should also get tested.

The locations of testing sites in and around Te Awamutu and Waikato are available on the Healthpoint website and the Waikato DHB website.

There are no new cases to report in Waikato today, with the total number of cases in the region associated with this outbreak remaining at 37. Of these cases, two (who are within the same household) are yet to be linked to another case, with investigations into the source of their infection ongoing.

Results of whole genome sequencing from samples from these two cases reported on Wednesday (October 13) show they are linked to other local cases and the Auckland outbreak. Hamilton residents are encouraged to keep checking the Ministry's website for any locations of interest.

Meanwhile, vaccination rates in Waikato remained high yesterday with 6502 people receiving a dose – of these, 1939 were first doses and a further 4563 were second doses. There were also around 3500 swabs taken across the region yesterday.

Next update

The Ministry's updates over the weekend will be via media releases, unless there are any significant developments.

Alert levels for Northland, Auckland, and the Waikato will be reviewed again on Monday.

At this stage, the next press conference is scheduled for Monday, October 18.

12:55pm - We're standing by for the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak. The Ministry of Health is set to release a statement containing the new developments at around 1pm.

We will publish that statement as soon as it is available.

12:50pm - Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is backing the Super Saturday vaccination drive this weekend and is calling on Aucklanders to step up and get the jab to protect their communities from COVID-19.

"Aucklanders are doing an incredible job of vaccinating, with around 87 percent of those eligible having received their first shot," Mayor Goff said on Friday.

"But we need to keep pushing that number higher. Every single vaccine dose counts in the fight against Delta and every single person who gets vaccinated is helping to make our community safer and bringing us one step closer to life with fewer restrictions.

"That's why we are supporting Super Saturday and calling on every Aucklander to do their bit to help. If you're not vaccinated yet, it's time to get it done. If you are, think about how you can encourage your unvaccinated whānau, friends or community to play their part.

"Aucklanders have led the COVID-19 response and have made incredible sacrifices to help keep New Zealand safe. Now we need a big push to get as many people as possible vaccinated, so we can all look forward to a fantastic summer of festivals, concerts and good times with friends and whānau."

Manukau Ward Councillor Alf Filipaina agrees. "A high vaccination rate is a critical part of the plan to keep our people safe and to reduce restrictions on business, activities and events in time for summer," he said.

"The more people we get fully vaccinated now, the more protection we will have against COVID-19, and the more freedoms we will have available. Now is the time for everyone to roll up their sleeve and get the jab - it's about whānau, aiga."

"We've already seen a massive effort from our communities to get vaccinated and I want to thank everyone involved for their dedication and their mahi, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Ward Councillor Josephine Bartley said.

"Now we need to really turn up the dial and get the message out to everyone in our community who is not yet vaccinated.

"Please reach out to everyone you know who may not yet be vaccinated and encourage them to attend a Super Saturday event. Everyone who gets vaccinated this week brings us closer to our 90 percent target - which is a key number we have to reach so we can look forward to enjoying greater freedoms this summer."

"With summer just eight weeks away and COVID-19 still spreading in the community it has never been more urgent to get everyone vaccinated," Mayor Goff added.

"That's why I am calling on every Aucklander to get vaccinated this Super Saturday, so we can all enjoy a super summer."

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is calling on residents to get vaccinated this Super Saturday so Aucklanders can enjoy a classic Kiwi summer.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is calling on residents to get vaccinated this Super Saturday so Aucklanders can enjoy a classic Kiwi summer. Photo credit: RNZ

12:45pm - Pop-up vaccination centre a 'shot in the arm' for Lincoln University campus community

Lincoln University is hosting a drop-in vaccination event for students, staff and their families and friends on Monday, October 18.

Run in partnership with Canterbury DHB, the drop-in vaccination centre will operate from 9:30am to 3:30pm on the basketball court at the university's recently redeveloped sport and recreation centre, Whare Hākinakina/Lincoln University Gym.

As an added incentive to encourage participation in the pop-up event, the organising partners are offering a free bacon butty, or vegetarian alternative, to all those who turn up to receive their first or second vaccination.

Lincoln University acting vice-chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie is highly enthusiastic about the event and optimistic there will significant uptake from members of the wider campus community.

"At Lincoln we're deeply committed to promoting the health and wellbeing of everyone on our campus and throughout the Lincoln community, and we believe vaccination is critical to getting Aotearoa back on track towards a more productive and successful future," McKenzie said on Friday.

"We're a tight-knit campus, with a very supportive and collegial spirit, and we're confident that we can lead by example and encourage a positive community-wide mobilisation.

"Getting vaccinated is one way we can all protect ourselves, our friends and families and our wider community from the devastating effects of this virus, and we are proud and privileged to play such an important role in keeping our whānau safe."

Canterbury's senior responsible officer for the COVID-19 response, Dr Helen Skinner, says the DHB is pleased to see yet another COVID-19 vaccination initiative in the region.

"These drop-in events provide a convenient, local and familiar environment where people can be vaccinated.

"No booking is required, anyone can drop in during their free time, and we hope that this is an appealing option for our university students and staff," Dr Skinner says.

The Lincoln University drop-in vaccination event is free and no booking is required, although participants who know their NHI number are encouraged to bring it along.

12:30pm - Several new potential exposure events have been identified as of 12pm, the majority involving Sandringham Superette in Auckland.

The times of the potential exposure indicate a worker has been infected.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Friday, October 15
As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Friday, October 15

12:20pm - Uber offering 5000 free rides to and from vaccination centres

Uber is working with the Ministry of Health to provide 5000 free rides to and from vaccination centres for eligible unvaccinated Kiwis in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on Super Saturday. 

On October 16, the national day of action for vaccination, eligible unvaccinated kiwis in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington will be provided with access to two free rides (up to the value of $20 each way) to and from vaccination centres between 7am and 9pm.

Vouchers will be made available on Saturday with links distributed to eligible participants through text message by the Ministry of Health. If you are part of the group selected by the Ministry of Health, you will receive a text message with a link.

Uber general manager Dom Taylor said a lack of access to transport shouldn't be a barrier to vaccination.

"No single entity can end this pandemic. We are all in this together, government, not-for-profits, businesses and individuals and we want to play our part," he said.

"We want to play a role in helping more Kiwis get access to the vaccine and believe that by leveraging our platform, which already helps millions get from A to B easily and at the push of a button, we can help make a difference."

To learn more, please visit

How it works - Voucher codes for rides will be distributed via SMS to selected groups by the Ministry of Health.  Users will click a link to access the app, where the discount will be applied to their rides.  Rides will be available between 7am and 9pm on Saturday, so there's plenty of time to travel to nearby vaccination centres.

12:10pm - Here's a recap from the Ministry of Health regarding the new positive detection for COVID-19 in Te Awamutu's wastewater. 

12pm - There will be no press conference at 1pm today. The Ministry of Health will instead provide the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak in a statement.

We will publish the statement as soon as we receive it.

11:40am - The overwhelming majority of cases hospitalised in the outbreak have been unvaccinated, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told RNZ's Morning Report on Friday.

Of the 170 people admitted to hospital so far, just three were fully vaccinated, he said. Only 4 percent of the cases in the outbreak have been fully vaccinated. 

11:35am - The courthouse in the rural Manawatū-Whanganui town of Dannevirke has not opened for its usual sitting on Friday due to a COVID-19 scare in the town, according to Stuff.

Stuff understands there are fears someone from Waikato travelled to Dannevirke and went to a party attended by people due to appear in the Dannevirke District Court on Friday. 

The courthouse has reportedly been locked since 8:40am, with people due to appear and lawyers not already in the building forced to wait outside.

Many of those waiting were not wearing masks or maintaining a physical distance.

11:30am - The Chiefs are also doing their part for the nationwide 'Super Saturday' vaccination drive, offering free entry to their first home game of next year's inaugural Super Rugby Pacific as an incentive. 

The Hamilton-based Super Rugby franchise are giving away free tickets to the first 1000 people who visit one of the selected vaccination sites in the Waikato region.

Chiefs chief executive Michael Collins says it's important for the team to show its support for the vaccination drive - a national day of action that calls on every remaining eligible New Zealander to get their shot.

Candidates will simply need to scan the Chiefs poster QR code at any of the selected sites to claim their general admission ticket to the game, against a yet-to-be-confirmed opponent.

"Rugby is a large part of our community and it is important we play our part in helping our community stay safe," says Collins.

 "We are encouraging our players, coaches and staff to support their whanau, community, and themselves to get vaccinated to join those in the community who are already vaccinated."

Read more here.

11:20am - Countdown is getting behind the Super Saturday national vaccination drive by supporting local events throughout Aotearoa. The supermarket giant will be setting up a drive-through vaccination site at its south Auckland support office in Favona. 

The drive-through vaccination site will run from 11am to 2pm at Countdown's main office, located at 80 Favona Road, Favona. There will be boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables, a Mr Whippy truck with free ice-cream and plenty of other treats on offer for those getting vaccinated.

Stores nationwide will also be providing supplies for sausage sizzles at other community events. Countdown is also donating $22,000 worth of vouchers to encourage some of the most vulnerable in Aotearoa to get vaccinated. 

Countdown's director of corporate affairs, safety and sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, says Countdown's 20,000-strong team is incredibly excited to support Super Saturday. 

"We've been at the front line of COVID-19 in New Zealand for over 18 months now. We are committed to keeping our communities safe and healthy. Our stores have jumped at the opportunity to get behind their local vaccination events by helping out with what we know best - kai! 

"A year ago, we never thought we'd be hosting a drive-through vaccination site at our support office, but it helps even one whānau in Favona get vaccinated, then that's a win for us." 

11:05am - Meanwhile, across the Tasman, Victoria has recorded 2179 community cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths. New South Wales has recorded 399 new cases and four deaths.

10:50am - The Government's new website, My COVID Record, will offer electronic vaccination certificates in the near future. 

The website, launched this week, currently only allows users over the age of 16 to access their vaccination records.

But the functionality is expanding, with the Ministry of Health saying both overseas and domestic vaccination certificates will soon be available to download on smartphones.

"There will be two different vaccination certificates - one for use within New Zealand and one for international travel," the Ministry of Health states on its website.

"Your international certificate will have more personal information so it can be used alongside your passport.

"The certificates will include a QR code which you'll be able to print or save on your smartphone in your Apple Wallet or Google Pay."

The new functionality will be available by the end of November. The certificates will also be able to be printed if users prefer to have a hard copy instead of a digital version.

Read more here.

10:35am - Two new potential exposure events have been added as of 10am

Anyone who was Super Value in Raglan on Bow St between 8:30am and 9:15am on Saturday, October 9 or at Pak'nSave in Auckland's Clendon Park between 4pm and 5pm on Monday, October 11 is asked to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the date of exposure. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home a negative result is returned AND for 24 hours after symptoms resolve.

10:25am - Māori political leaders say they understand why so few tangata whenua are getting vaccinated - but it has to change. 

Just 40 percent of eligible Māori ( (aged 12 and over) have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 63 percent have had at least one. The rates lag behind every other ethnicity tracked by the Ministry of Health, such as Pasifika (54 percent double-dosed), European/other (62 percent) and Asian (74 percent). 

Various explanations have been given for the discrepancy, such as a vaccine rollout that didn't take their specific needs into account and existing inequities in the health system.

But it's distrust of authority that Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer singled out on The AM Show on Friday. 

"We're gravely behind as Māori," said Ngarewa-Packer.

"We understand the apprehension and the lack of trust. But we do ask that you trust in us. Those that know us and those that know the front lines we have been on, we would never go on a front line that we didn't say we needed to be in it to actually look after our whanau and protect ourselves… 

"Especially now that the elimination phase is ending, we need to really dig in, whanau. Look at our history, look at what we're contending with now. Trust in those that are always with you, shoulder-to-shoulder, in every journey that we have as Māori in our inequities… I get it, but we really are in this now and we need to dig deep." 

Read more here

10:15am - Second positive wastewater result in Te Awamutu, symptomatic locals urged to get tested

The Ministry of Health has been advised by ESR that a second wastewater sample taken from the Waikato town of Te Awamutu has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The sample was taken from the Te Awamutu catchment on Wednesday and tested positive for the virus. 

On Thursday it was announced that the virus had been detected in a sample collected on Tuesday.

Public health officials have yet to identify anyone who has returned to the area from a managed isolation and quarantine facility who could be shedding the virus.

Anyone in the Te Awamutu area who has symptoms of COVID-19, has relatives or household members who are symptomatic, or who travels in and out of the town regularly for work is urged to get tested as soon as possible.

Anyone who has been at a location of interest at the relevant time and is now in Te Awamutu should also get tested.

The locations of testing sites in and around Te Awamutu are available on the Healthpoint website and the Waikato DHB website.

"Vaccination is our number one protection against COVID-19. Residents of Te Awamutu who haven’t already been vaccinated are urged to do so today or this weekend for Super Saturday," a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said.

"There are several Super Saturday vaccination sites open in Te Awamutu. For more details of those and further sites in surrounding areas please see the Waikato DHB webpage."

10:05am - Auckland's Middlemore Hospital is planning to set up a tent to triage COVID-19 patients as early as next week as the region braces for a surge in cases.

Middlemore Hospital's emergency department (ED) and ICU clinical director, Vanessa Thornton, told Stuff that the hospital is preparing for an influx of infections. Part of their preparation includes establishing a tent at the ED to triage patients with COVID-19.

"We're monitoring on a day-by-day basis but we're planning for that tent to be up and going next week, based on the predictions," she said.

A second dedicated COVID-19 ward is also ready for use if required, Thornton said. The existing unit is equipped with 17 beds, 11 of which were occupied as of Thursday.

9:50am - Those who contract COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated are likely to require shorter periods in isolation, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says.

Bloomfield told RNZ's Morning Report on Friday that vaccinated people appear to be infectious for a shorter period of time.

"They're less likely to pass on the virus and if they are infectious, they are infectious for a shorter period so therefore, especially if they're asymptomatic ... they would only require a shorter period at home," he said.

In contrast, those who are unvaccinated - even if they are asymptomatic - are more likely to pass on the virus, Bloomfield said.

"So they would need to remain isolated for a longer period, to avoid passing it on to others."

He says getting vaccinated is the "best way" to protect hospitals and ICUs from being overwhelmed by cases of COVID-19 amid capacity concerns. 

"The best way to protect our hospitals and our ICUs is to get vaccinated. There's a huge difference in whether people need hospital or ICU care if they're vaccinated."

9:35am - In case you missed it, the leaders of every major political party united this morning in a display of solidarity to encourage Kiwis to get vaccinated ahead of Super Saturday.  

So far 60.5 percent of eligible New Zealanders - those aged 12 and over - have had two doses, and 83.1 percent have received their first. Epidemiologists say well above 90 percent will need to be protected against COVID-19 if New Zealand is to return to any kind of normality.

Two weeks ago epidemiologist Rod Jackson told The AM Show he wanted politicians to push the vaccination message as a unified team

"We're now into the last quarter of the game," he said. "We can win this, and you win it by vaccination. Politicians have to stop sniping at each other. This is the time when politicians need to put aside [their differences]. There's no bloody election for a couple of years."

Appearing on The AM Show on Friday were Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, National Party leader Judith Collins, ACT leader David-Seymour, Greens co-leader Marama Davidson and Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. Each delivered their own message in a bid to boost vaccine uptake among all facets of the political spectrum.

Read more here.

9:25am - Locally owned business LJ's will be giving away free fish and chips this weekend to everyone who gets vaccinated on Super Saturday at the Highbrook Vaccination Centre in Highbrook, East Tāmaki.

"We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves, our whānau and our community by getting vaccinated. The more of us that are fully vaccinated, the more protection we have against COVID-19, and the more freedom this gives us!" a spokesperson for LJ's said on Friday.

LJ's mobile fish and chip unit will be stationed at the Highbrook Vaccination Centre from 10am on Saturday, "serving up a taste of summer to all the legends getting their shots so we can all get back to it".

"As members of the hospitality industry which has been decimated by the alert level 3 and 4 lockdowns in Auckland, the team at LJ's feel this is the best way they can use their resources to get as many people vaccinated," the spokesperson said.

The vaccination clinic is located on 31 Highbrook Drive, East Tāmaki, Auckland.

9:15am - Ninety percent vaccination milestone within Canterbury's reach

Approximately 84 percent of Cantabrians have now had their first vaccination, meaning about 30,300 more people need their first jab for the region to reach the 90 percent milestone by Labour Weekend, says Leeann Watson, Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive and the spokesperson for the 90forCanterbury campaign.

The '90 percent for Canterbury' campaign is a local vaccination initiative to help the region reach its goal of getting 90 percent of Cantabrians vaccinated with at least their first dose by Labour Weekend. It is being led by the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, local marketing agency Harvey Cameron, Christchurch Airport and others who have donated time and resources to support the initiative.

Watson says over the last three weeks, there has been a noticeable increase in support for the vaccination rollout.

"We are currently at about 84 percent for first vaccinations and for the past few weeks Canterbury's first doses have been over 20 percent above the national average. I'm confident we can reach 90 percent in just over a week, but it is going to require a lot more people rolling up their sleeves - literally," Watson said on Friday.

"We're encouraging everyone from throughout the community to get behind and support the 90 percent target - from our business community and sports clubs to churches and community leaders.

"We're focused on helping to ensure vaccination sites are accessible for everyone, and are engaging with businesses to help reach their workforces and also working in partnership with community leaders and groups to help reach 18-35-year-olds, especially in harder-to-reach suburbs, including in south and east Christchurch.

"A vaccination rate of at least 90 percent among all demographics is the only way we can return to the way of life we all enjoy, particularly as we head into summer and Christmas. It's also the only way we can keep our businesses and schools open, our people employed and our vulnerable safe."

The '90 percent for Canterbury' campaign will be supporting the Super Saturday vaccination initiative on October 16 at:

  • Ngā Hau e Whā National Marae, 250 Pages Rd, 10am-3pm - Anton Matthews and the team from Fush will be giving away free kai to anyone who receives a vaccination and Mr Whippy will be offering free ice cream.
  • Eastgate Shopping Centre, 10am-3pm - a team from Christchurch Mitre 10 will be working the BBQ giving away free sausages and bread to anyone who receives a vaccination. They will be supported by Rollickin Gelato who will be handing out free gelato to those who get vaccinated.

No bookings are needed at these or any other Super Saturday events. A full list of all vaccination sites including access to free public transport can also be found on at 90forCanterbury

9:10am - The vaccination drive in Auckland will ramp up this weekend with free ice cream, sausage sizzles, live music and spot prizes on offer at vaccination centres.

Super Saturday will also see up to a dozen pop-up events taking place across the city.

Thirteen percent of the city's eligible population has yet to get their first dose.

To get behind the campaign, Air New Zealand is transforming one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets into a vaccination clinic. Three-hundred people will be getting vaccinated in business class, however these spots have already been filled.

Opening hours across the majority of the region's 16 community and drive-through centres have been extended for Super Saturday. In the CBD, the local vaccination site will feature rainbow decorations, live music, a sausage sizzle and spot prizes.

At Albany, there will be free coffee, a Mr Whippy truck, spot prizes and chocolate fish handed out to those who receive their jab.

Many of the mobile vaccination buses and vans - all run by Māori and Pacific provider partners - will be out and about in the community.

Celebrities, including sports stars and TV personalities, will be making appearances at some sites throughout the day.

For a guide to the vaccination events across Auckland this Super Saturday, click here.

9am - A south Auckland medical staffer fears he might have COVID-19 after spending hours with a patient who failed to mention their housemates had tested positive for the disease.

He is pleading for the public to cooperate with health personnel, who cannot afford to lose staffers to self-isolation as the city's outbreak worsens

Craig (not his real name) told Newshub a woman came into the clinic where he works on Wednesday complaining of abdominal pain. The clinic is strictly divided into two areas - a red zone for patients with COVID-19 symptoms, and green for those without. 

When asked basic questions designed to evaluate whether she was at risk of having the virus, Craig says the woman "lied" - but they didn't know that at the time. She also refused to be swabbed. 

With no other reasons to suspect an infection, she was admitted to the clinic's green zone, where she stayed for several hours before being put on a St John ambulance to Middlemore Hospital after midnight.

"As soon as she was in the hospital… as the ambulance [staff] were doing a handover to the hospital, she just blurted out of nowhere that she was actually living with people who had COVID symptoms, who had tested positive and were taken to MIQ," Craig told Newshub.

Abdominal pain has only recently been reported as a potential symptom of the virus, but is still considered quite rare. 

The woman finally agreed to a rapid test, Craig said, which came back positive. Craig has now gone into self-isolation, awaiting the results of his own test. The two St John paramedics who transported the patient have also been stood down.  

"St John was quite pissed - they were saying we didn't tell them that the person was actually in contact with COVID-positive patients, but we didn't know."

Read more here.

8:50am - Summer is cancelled, says ACT leader David Seymour, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern "the biggest party pooper".

In a statement on Friday, Seymour noted the large number of recent cancellations as the stricken events industry continues to suffer due to uncertainty and gathering restrictions. Among the cancelled events are Bay Dreams, Christmas in the Park, the Canterbury A&P Show, World of Wearable Arts and the Wellington Marathon.

"It's time for [the Prime Minister to cut the events industry some slack before they give up and stop organising things," Seymour said. 

"The events industry, like many businesses, is facing turmoil thanks to COVID-19. They spend months preparing for major events, only for them to be cancelled at the last minute thanks to lockdowns.

"It's not just the event organisers who lose out. It's the hundreds of workers and subcontractors involved in a major event, and often thousands of ticket holders. It's the people who bring in the generators, floodlights, portaloos, and temporary fences who lose out.

"The biggest loser is the public who miss out when events just don't happen because organisers cannot risk losing everything in a few days if there's a lockdown."

The party is calling for a $50 million Majors Events Insurance Fund to provide a security blanket for organisers, which Seymour says would be paid out if a large event is cancelled. 

"The fund would be available to events that host 500 people or more. It would only be paid out if events are cancelled. The money would come from the Government's COVID Fund and would be targeted spending," he said.

"It will mean event organisers can go ahead and plan things for New Zealanders to enjoy when we're not in lockdowns, because after the past two years, New Zealanders deserve to have things to look forward to."

8:35am - Six new potential exposure events have been identified in Auckland. 

New World Albany is a new location of interest, as well as Kiroms Convenience Store in Morningside, Hilltop Dairy in Orewa, Caltex in Te Atatu and Ezymart Dairy in New Lynn.

A new potential exposure event has been added for Village Wine and Spirits in Te Atatu.

For dates, times and advice, click here.

8:25am - Intensive care units (ICUs) in District Health Board areas with large Māori populations were already at maximum capacity even before the arrival of COVID-19 and the current outbreak of the Delta variant, says National's Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

"This is yet more evidence of very slim ICU margins that we have at the moment and [Health Minister] Andrew Little's failure to build capacity over the 18 months since the first outbreak may prove crucial," Dr Reti said on Friday.

"Lakes, Tai Rawhiti and Northland District Health Boards (DHBs) have a high proportion of Māori who are at increased risk of catching COVID-19 and ending up in ICU. Several of these DHBs have had periods at, or close, to full capacity.

"This is especially concerning for Lakes DHB, which has one of the lowest numbers of ICU beds across the sector - four - and was at 100 percent capacity five times during the first three weeks of the current Delta outbreak. What would have happened if there had been a COVID-19 outbreak in the Lakes region?

"Northland is included in these figures as another region with a high proportion of Māori, and one of concern at the moment. However, it seems to have some capacity, albeit in the context of a total of eight resourced ICU beds.

"Other DHBs such as Bay of Plenty have had high ICU occupancy rates over this period but do not have as large a Māori population as Lakes, Tai Rawhiti and Northland."

Dr Reti says the Health Minister's plan for boosting ICU capacity centres around surge management, which requires halting elective procedures, lockdowns to "reduce accidents" and "cannibalising" other critical resources from elsewhere.

"We urgently need to build new ICU capacity, both in human and capital resourcing," he said.

"Andrew Little's surge management plan is a disaster. It is not sustainable."

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Friday, October 15
Photo credit: Newshub

8:15am - Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says she understands the "apprehension and lack of trust" in authority, but asks people to trust in the party and its work to protect whānau.

"To our whānau - as Marama said, we understand the apprehension and the lack of trust. But we do ask that you trust in us. Those that know us and those that know the front lines we have been on, we would never go on a front line that we didn't say we needed to be [on] to actually look after our whānau and protect ourselves… Especially now that the elimination phase is ending, we need to really dig in, whānau," she told The AM Show.

"Look at our history, look at what we're contending with now. Trust in those that are always with you, shoulder-to-shoulder, in every journey that we have as Māori in our inequities… I get it, but we really are in this now and we need to dig deep."

Ngarewa-Packer noted that vaccination rates among Māori are "gravely behind" other groups, but uptake has been improving.

8:10am - Greens' co-leader Marama Davidson is urging Māori to look to Māori experts and health professionals as trusted sources of advice and information regarding the vaccine. 

"It's about aroha, it's about acknowledging as tangata whenua. Those who haven't yet decided that they will add that layer of protection - I absolutely acknowledge the generations of people feeling that they haven't always been part of the team of five million - we can look to our Māori experts, our kaupapa Māori health experts and doctors, who have stood up against the inequalities that so many people are feeling, and therefore not understanding whether they can trust authorities or politicians," she told The AM Show.

"I'm asking people to trust our kaupapa Māori experts… our tupuna had the wisdoms and the insights to understand how important it was to protect each other collectively. Our Māori health experts, who have fought for us forever, are very, very clear - do this to protect our whakapapa."

8:05am - ACT leader David Seymour says Kiwis should not only get vaccinated for the team of five million, but for the Kiwis who remain stranded overseas and are desperate to come home.

The Government has previously stated it will look at loosening the restrictions at the border when around 90 percent of the eligible population is vaccinated.

"The sooner we reopen, the sooner the million Kiwis trapped overseas have the option of coming home and also New Zealanders can travel too," Seymour told The AM Show.

"We need our Government to succeed... This is not about left or right. Political leaders around the world... have all advocated the same strategy. The scientific evidence is crystal clear - that vaccination protects against the worst effects of COVID-19.

"Don't take it from me, take it from the hard evidence and the respected medical journals. This vaccine keeps you safe and by doing so, it protects ICU and hospitals and gives the country options to safely reconnect with the world and each other."

8am - Opposition leader Judith Collins says Kiwis need to get vaccinated for their families and for their communities. She is urging those who are hesitant to talk through their concerns with a medical professional.

"It is for yourself, it's for your family, it's for everyone you work with - please just do this. I know that those who haven't yet done this, they're worried about various things, [but you can] talk to very sensible medical practitioners… listen to people like Dr Shane Reti. Listen to people who you can trust, who are going to tell you the truth," she told The AM Show.

"Please understand that billions of people in the world… have already had this vaccine. It is not going to hurt you… there is a knowledge that we are very, very unlikely to end up in the ICU nor in hospital should we ever get COVID-19. Do this for yourself, do it for your community, and do it for your family."

7:50am - The leaders of our five major political parties are putting aside their differences in a display of solidarity ahead of the Super Saturday vaccination drive this weekend, united by a common goal of encouraging New Zealanders to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

On The AM Show this morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Opposition leader Judith Collins, ACT leader David Seymour, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer outlined their reasons why New Zealanders should get vaccinated  - and what double-jabbed Kiwis can do to support others.

"We're appealing to people's sense of community. Don't just do it for yourself, do it for others… If all of us reach out to one person who hasn't been vaccinated yet, and share our story and our reason, talk through people's concerns and support them to be vaccinated, then we'll get the job done," Ardern said.

The Prime Minister has been out on the road across the North Island, travelling to communities with some of the lowest rates of vaccination in a bid to boost uptake and talk through people's concerns.

7:40am - Dr Ashley Bloomfield says health officials are currently working to get COVID-19 cases isolated and finding contacts of the Northland women.

He told Newstalk ZB on Friday the Ministry of Health is still chasing cases in Auckland "but despite our very best efforts we haven't been able to get down to zero cases".

7:20am - National Party Deputy Leader and spokesperson for Health Dr Shane Reti has spoken to The AM Show about helping vaccinate Northlanders.

Next week Dr Reti intends to do his own campaign of going door-to-door. He will take a local kuia with him to talk to Māori whānau about getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

He said this week he delivered more first doses than second, which showed more people were deciding to get vaccinated which is positive. 

Dr Reti said he was concerned about the capacity of ICU, particularly in smaller regions with a high proportion of Maori.

"It won't take much to fill those beds as many will be at 50 percent capacity anyways."

He said surged capacity "isn't sustainable" and said over the past year New Zealand should have been building more capacity.

7am - Home quarantine could be the next step if elimination of the Delta strain isn't possible.

General practitioner Dr Jeff Lowe told The AM Show said he expects the Government to "switch" to home isolation when MIQ spots become full for COVID-19 positive Kiwis.

"Looking at the modelling and the daily case numbers now, I would imagine that the northern region would be ready to go with this any day now."

He said families will be isolating together in their homes.

Dr Lowe said we can "trust most New Zealanders" to follow home isolation rules, but it will need to be carefully monitored.

"Through lockdown we have seen breaches of that trust. You do need to put in measures to ensure people do the right thing and those measures need to be more stringent for some."

6:45am - Hospitals are preparing for an influx of COVID-19 cases as the spread of Delta ramps up.

Dr John Bonning, the President of the Australiasian College for Emergency Medicine, says the rise in cases was anticipated.

He says there is some concerns as to how emergency departments will cope with an increase in demand.

"Delta is kind of trickling on in Auckland and is spreading. We are going with the significant suppression. It's the unvaccinated that will end up getting sick and coming to hospital."

Dr Caroline McElnay.
Dr Caroline McElnay. Photo credit: Getty Images

6:30am - Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay has told the NZ Herald the two women who broke COVID-19 restrictions and travelled to Northland before testing positive have "probably" given health officials as much information "as they are going to get".

The women crossed the border on October 2 after allegedly falsifying information on a travel exemption application.

6:20am - A coalition of Māori health organisations in Auckland is urging the Government to return to a COVID-19 elimination strategy, saying many Māori will die if it does not.

They say the Government's move to relax restrictions while the number of cases among Māori are rising and the vaccination rate is still low painted a picture of Māori as "acceptable collateral damage".

Of the 71 cases of COVID-19 announced Thursday, 52 percent were Māori. Only 40 percent of the eligible Māori population is fully vaccinated.

The coalition of Hāpai Te Hauora, Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust, Te Hā Oranga and Raukura Hauora o Tainui said the elimination strategy had acted as protective korowai while the vaccination programme caught up, but it had now been dropped.

"That will no doubt result in loss of lives, with Māori being a major casualty," they said in a statement.

Read the full story here.

6am - The AM Show is on now.

General Practitioner Dr Jeff Lowe is on at 6:15 to talk about home isolation after COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed home-isolation for positive cases is in the works.

At 6:35am, The AM Show reporter Aziz Al Sa’afin is set to provide an update on COVID-19 vaccination rates.

National Party Deputy Leader Dr Shane Reti is on at 7:10am to talk about if New Zealand has enough ICU beds to cope with a growing outbreak or when restrictions relax.

Then from 7:40am it's a political blast with leaders Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, National leader Judith Collins, ACT's David Seymour, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer on the show to talk about Super Saturday.

You can watch the show on Three, Magic Talk and online here.

5:50am -Some Auckland schools are battling virtual truancy with more than 50 percent of students dropping off the radar as they head back into online classes on Monday.

For hundreds of thousands of students in Auckland next week sees them heading into week 10 of lockdown and strict COVID-19 restrictions with no face-to-face classes and no firm date for a return.

Jean Batten School in Māngere East has about 400 primary students and principal Nardi Leonard told Checkpoint a good day for attendance rates in lockdown was about "mid to low 40 (percent) engaging online".

"It's not just about not having a device, or you know not having access to wifi. There are numerous reasons why we're just not able to get through so."

Leonard said it was important people understood families did want to engage.

Read the full story here.