Cantabrians are being urged to "closely" monitor the latest locations of interest after two cases of COVID-19 were detected in Christchurch on Thursday - with a further two also testing positive on Friday.
Friday saw 125 new cases of COVID-19 in the community, including the two in Canterbury, one in Northland and four in Waikato - the remaining 118 are all in Auckland. It is the second highest total of cases to date, with 129 recorded on October 22.
The two new cases in Christchurch are close contacts of two initial cases announced on Thursday. They are from a single household. Thirteen other close contacts have now been identified.
The city remains at alert level 2. One of the cases reported on Thursday is a truck driver who made deliveries across Christchurch.
In other developments, a resident of a retirement home in west Auckland is among the latest cases. There are four new infections in Waikato. An additional two cases detected on Friday will be included in Saturday's numbers - both were in Kāwhia at the time they were tested, but travelled to the Auckland region before receiving their results. The new case in Northland is a household member of an existing case and was already isolating.
What you need to know
- There are 125 new cases to report on Friday - 118 in Auckland, four in Waikato, one in Northland and two in Canterbury.
- The two new cases in Canterbury are "expected" as they are close contacts of the two cases detected in Christchurch on Thursday - they are from a single household.
- Thirteen other close contacts have been identified, all of whom are isolating.
- Two additional cases have been confirmed in Waikato and will be included in tomorrow’s numbers. Both were in Kāwhia at the time they were tested, but travelled to Auckland before receiving their results.
- A resident at Edmonton Meadows retirement village in west Auckland has been confirmed as a case.
- A Wellington MIQ facility had just one guest for an entire week, a revelation National has branded as "a slap in the face" for Kiwis stranded overseas.
- MIQ stays will be slashed to seven days and three days of home isolation
- Waikato moved to the first step of alert level 3 on Wednesday night, similar to the restrictions in Auckland
- The Ministry of Education is looking at a staged return to school for students at alert level 3, with a tentative starting date of November 15
- Click here for all the locations of interest.
These live updates are now closed
7:37pm - Matangi Online reports all frontline staff working at Fua'amotu Airport when the Christchurch flight arrived had been transferred to quarantine after the COVID-19 positive result was confirmed.
Seasonal workers returning to Tonga were among the passengers who are now quarantining as well as members of Tonga's Olympic team.
They also reported the infected person has been fully vaccinated.
7:10pm - Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told the Project New Zealand is doing well in its fight against COVD-19, despite the rise in cases.
"We have seen a rise in cases in New Zealand but without the restrictions we have in place it would have been a lot worse. It shows the controls are working well.
"We are not out of trouble but we are doing well."
Baker said he expects New Zealand to reconnect with the rest of the world in the first quarter of 2022 - a lot sooner than many might expect.
He said new variants of COVID-19 might be an issue but the drug companies who had made the vaccine were already looking at combatting those.
He even said science might one day be able to eliminate the virus.
6:27pm - New World Bishopdale in Christchurch is the latest location of interest in the city.
See the full and updated list here.
6:17pm - The Ministry of Health is investigating reports in Tongan media of a positive COVID-19 result from a person who boarded a commercial flight to Tonga from Christchurch on Wednesday.
In a statement the Ministry said the case retuned a negative pre-departure test before leaving New Zealand. They are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and had their second dose on 15 October.
They were tested in routine Day 0 testing yesterday and returned a positive result today.
The Ministry, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is working with officials in Tonga to confirm the case. There will be further updates on this tomorrow.
6:07pm - There are two new cases of COVID-19 in Northland.
A statement from the Ministry of Health said Northland DHB has this afternoon advised the Ministry of Health of two new community cases of COVID-19 in Southern Kaipara.
The two cases are in the same household and at this stage have no known links to the current Northland cluster. Investigations are underway to determine connections to the current outbreak.
The pair were tested on 27 October and have been isolating with public health oversight.
Investigations are continuing to determine further details around their movements and to identify any locations of interest. A further update on will be provided tomorrow.
5:57pm - Matangi Tonga is reporting the Tongan Prime Minister Pohiva Tuʻiʻonetoa has confirmed the country's first case of COVID-19.
The case is one of 215 passengers who arrived from Christchurch on Wednesday.
The PM made the announcement on the radio, warning Tongans there could be some form of lockdown. He told them to prepare this weekend.
5:40pm - The Ministry of Health has released more locations of including a number in Auckland's North Shore.
5:30pm - Kaniva News is reporting the infected person was in MIQ in Nuku’alofa.
5:27pm - Kaniva News is reporting a traveller from Christchurch to Tonga has tested positive for COVID-19.
This would be the island nation's first case.
The Tongan Prime Minister is expected to confirm the news later on Friday.
Kaniva News says 200 other passengers on the plane are now quarantining
The news organisation said they had seen an email from a senior doctor confirming the news.
“We have 1 positive case," the email said.
4:27pm - Christchurch might dodge being lockdown after two more people in the city tested positive on Friday, taking the total number to four.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Stuff there would need to be evidence the latest transmission had taken off before increasing restrictions. The city is currently at level 2.
Hipkins told Stuff they would be able to “ring-fence” the number of people involved because the cases had not been to many high risk places.
4:03pm - MBIE has announced the next MIQ room release will be Tues 2 Nov at 1pm (NZT) for approx 3,700 rooms across Dec, Jan and Feb.
3:47pm - The Delta outbreak hasn't affected job numbers according to the Monthly Employment Indicators from Infometrics.
The report says "filled job numbers in September showed sustained growth, with a 0.3 per cent monthly increase (seasonally adjusted), adding nearly 5,700 jobs. This growth was slower than in recent months, but still means there have been eight months of uninterrupted growth.
Earnings growth remains strong too, with a 2.3 per cent pa increase in the monthly earnings per filled job, leaving year-end earnings per job growth at 5.8 per cent pa.
North Island jobs growth remains strong, up 4.3 per cent pa, with Auckland employment activity not showing any real signs of the Delta lockdown, sitting 4.0 per cent higher compared to both September 2020 and 2019.
Construction employment is going in one direction only, with job growth accelerating to 7.8 per cent pa in September, adding 14,115 workers to the industry. Professional service and health sector employment was also strong, (up 7.2 per cent pa and 6.3%pa respectively), and the accommodation and food services sector also recorded further job gains.
"Employment activity appears unperturbed by the Delta lockdown so far, reinforcing the stronger starting point for the economy and the government’s wage subsidy support. However, uncertainty remains and we are still cautious for if there may yet be a delayed effect on employment as we approach Christmas.
"Auckland’s resilience is impressive, with still-solid filled jobs, falling Jobseeker Support recipients, and firm business confidence readings all point to the region weathering the extended lockdown so far. However, concerns remain over how long some firms can hold out with a tougher summer looming."
3:27pm - Police say a woman who appears to be travelling north with the anti-lockdown Sovereign Hīkoi of Truth (SHOT) group and who has shared a video in which she says her whiteness may have allowed her easy access through checkpoints had the correct documentation.
"I did not get asked to do a test. I'm a white lady in a mint Chrysler so maybe that's got something to do with it. I don't know," the woman said.
However police confirmed to Newshub she provided legitimate documents for travelling north. Read the full story here.
2:45pm - An expert has given her thoughts on Friday's developments.
Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, an immunologist, the Head of University of Otago Wellington's Pacific Office, and a senior lecturer in Pathology & Molecular Medicine, says vaccination rates across Aotearoa must continue to increase across all age demographics and ethnic groups to keep everyone safe.
"As has already been demonstrated, our Māori and Pacific communities remain highly vulnerable to being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and will still likely bear the heavy burden and toll of any further outbreaks," she said on Friday.
She says accessibility issues persist for hard-to-reach communities and more outreach activities and events are needed to boost uptake.
"Although improving, Māori and Pacific vaccination rates remain behind the overall rate as more time was needed to catch-up with other groups given the initial vaccination roll-out in Aotearoa New Zealand prioritised other groups to get vaccinated first," Dr Sika-Paotonu said.
"To ensure no-one is left behind, vaccination target details for Aotearoa New Zealand need to ensure at least 90 – 95 percent full vaccinations for Māori and Pacific peoples. This will help keep our most vulnerable communities safe from COVID-19 – and also includes protecting our children and young people."
It was reported earlier this week that an expert panel advising the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted overwhelmingly to recommend that authorisation be given to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged five to 11. If this recommendation is adopted by the FDA and authorisation is granted, a US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel will be convened next week to determine their advice and recommendation on the vaccine, before a final decision is made by the CDC Director.
Dr Sika-Paotonu says until the vaccine is authorised for children aged five to 11, parents and adults alike need to protect the young by getting their jabs.
"Of those affected by the current Delta outbreak in Aotearoa New Zealand, 510 (17 percent) were children aged nine years and under – and also included babies. Although more likely to have mild or asymptomatic disease, children can still catch the SARS-CoV-2 virus and become sick, they can still end up with long COVID-19, and for children and youth with underlying medical conditions, they are at higher risk of serious illness and hospitalisation," she said.
"Approximately one-third or 1031 (34 percent) of the total number of COVID-19 cases in the current Delta outbreak were aged 19 years and under. The 12-15 year old age group is the most recent cohort to be added to the vaccination programme and has had less time to get protected. If the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved by MEDSAFE for use in children aged five-11 years, this age group will also need to be supported to get vaccinated.
"The best way to protect our children who currently don't yet have access to a vaccine approved for them, is for everyone around them to get vaccinated - we have an obligation protect those who cannot protect themselves right now, and keep them safe from COVID-19."
2:35pm - An Auckland primary school will no longer request children to be on-site under alert level 3 for assessments, something that had previously concerned a parent.
Newshub was this week provided with an email sent from Epsom Normal Primary School to parents and caregivers, asking if they would feel "comfortable to send your child to school for a few hours" while Auckland remains under alert level 3 restrictions and most students aren't attending school.
In its email to parents, the school explained it was "difficult to assess children over Zoom" and that children should come into class to help staff write their end-of-year reports.
"This will ensure your child's report is as accurate and as detailed as possible and will give us some valuable information for placing your child next year," the email said.
After Newshub asked the Ministry of Education about the situation, the ministry got in touch with the school, which now accepts their request for students to return "did not meet the alert level 3 criteria".
The school was asking for five children from each class to come in on a day over two weeks and work with teachers one-on-one in separate classrooms, "while being distanced from the other four children so we can assess them all on that day".
A parent who spoke to Newshub anonymously said they were "very surprised to say the least" to receive the email as they didn't expect "the school to call students to class to write an assessment in the middle of a pandemic" - especially when "everything is locked down and the case numbers are rising every day".
2:10pm - Here are the latest locations of interest and potential exposure events as of 2pm.
New locations of interest outside of Auckland include the Ōtorohanga Mini Mart in Waikato's Ōtorohanga District and the Bus Interchange in Christchurch Central City.
For the relevant dates, times and public health advice, click here.
2pm - Here is a compliance update from the police:
Alert level 3 compliance update
Since alert level 3 came into place, 45 people have been charged with a total of 49 offences in Tāmaki Makaurau, Northland, and parts of the Waikato, as of 5pm on Thursday, October 28.
Of these, 35 were for Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19), 10 were for Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction, two were for Assaults/Threatens/Hinders/Obstructs Enforcement Officer, one was for Failing to Stop (COVID-19 related) and one was a Health Act breach.
In the same time period, 34 people were formally warned.
Police have received a total of 6191 online breach reports relating to businesses, mass gatherings or people in Tāmaki Makaurau, Northland, and parts of the Waikato.
Alert level 2 compliance update
Fifty-three people have been charged with a total of 58 offences in alert level 2, as of 5pm on Thursday, October 28.
Of these, 51 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, 24 people have been warned – 13 for Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction and 11 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 2624 online breach reports relating to businesses, mass gatherings or people in alert level 2.
As of 11:59pm yesterday, a total of 965,342 vehicles have now been stopped at the checkpoints at Auckland's northern and southern boundaries, 11,439 of which have been turned around.
On Thursday, 26,999 vehicles were processed at the checkpoints with 181 of those turned around.
A total of 60 out of 5717 vehicles were turned away at the northern checkpoints on Thursday, while 121 vehicles out of 21,282 were turned around at the southern checkpoints.
As of 11:59pm last night, 59,646 heavy vehicles have been stopped - 1428 have been turned around attempting to leave Tāmaki Makaurau, with 43 of those turned around on Thursday.
1:45pm - Here is the latest update on COVID-19 vaccinations in the Waikato region - this data is accurate as of 11:30pm, October 27 and is the latest data available.
To date (as of 9:04am, October 29), 555,510 vaccinations have been delivered across the region.
- 306,149 first doses have been administered
- 249,361 second doses have been administered
- 4018 vaccinations were delivered across the Waikato on Thursday, October 28.
1:30pm - Here is a breakdown of the key developments on Friday:
- There are 125 new community cases - 118 in Auckland, four in Waikato, one in Northland, two in Canterbury.
- As of 10am, 74 of today's cases are linked, including 29 household contacts - 51 remain under investigation.
- The two new cases in Canterbury are close contacts of the two Christchurch cases announced on Thursday, both from a single household.
- A total of 13 other close contacts have now been identified, who are isolating and will undergo further testing.
- COVID-19 was detected in a Christchurch wastewater sample taken on Wednesday, from a catchment which covers a population of more than 300,000.
- Aucklanders in the suburbs of Redvale, Rosedale, New Lynn, Wiri, Drury, Henderson and Manurewa are asked to get a test as soon as possible if they have symptoms, no matter how mild and even if they are vaccinated.
- A resident at Edmonton Meadows retirement village in Henderson has tested positive, with the risk of transmission deemed to be low - investigations are underway to determine the source and no staff members are required to stand down.
- Of the new cases in Waikato, one has been linked to existing cases and interviews with the remaining cases are underway - three of the new cases were in the Te Awamutu/Kihikihi area and one in Ōtorohanga.
- An additional two cases have been confirmed today and will be officially included in Saturday's numbers - both were in Kāwhia at the time they were tested but travelled to Auckland before receiving their results.
- The one new case in Northland is not unexpected as a household member of an existing case - they were already isolating.
1:10pm - Here is the Ministry of Health's press release for Friday, October 29
125 community cases of COVID-19 including 2 in Christchurch; more than 44,000 vaccinations yesterday
There are 125 new community cases of COVID-19 to report today - 118 in Auckland, four in Waikato, one in Northland, two in Canterbury.
The rise in case numbers is a reminder of the infectiousness of COVID-19, and particularly the Delta variant, and the importance of vaccination as the best protection. With over 30,000 tests processed nationwide yesterday, these results aren't unexpected.
A further case in Auckland who is a MIQ worker, first announced on Thursday, remains under investigation to determine whether they are a community or border-related case.
As of 10am, 74 of today's cases are linked - including 29 household contacts and 51 remain under investigation.
Number of new community cases*
Number of new cases identified at the border
3 and 1 historical
Location of new community cases
Auckland (118), Waikato (4), Canterbury (2), Northland (1)
Location of community cases (total)
Auckland 2,911 (1,511 of whom have recovered); Waikato 105 (32 of whom have recovered); Wellington 17 (all of whom have recovered); Northland 8 (all active cases); Nelson/Marlborough 1 (active case); Canterbury 4 (all active cases)
Number of community cases (total)
3,046 (in current community outbreak)
Cases infectious in the community
27 of yesterday's 89 cases have exposure events
Cases in isolation throughout the period they were infectious
62 of 89 cases yesterday have no exposure events
Cases epidemiologically linked
74 of today's 125 cases
Cases to be epidemiologically linked
51 of today's 125 cases
Cases epidemiologically linked (total)
2,650 (in the current cluster) (289 unlinked from the past 14 days)
Cases in hospital
39 (total, up from 37 yesterday): Waitemata (9); Middlemore (12); Auckland (18)
Average age of current hospitalisations: 49 years
Cases in ICU or HDU
Confirmed cases (total) *
5764 since pandemic began
Historical cases **
179 out of 3,950 since 1 Jan 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)
389 (as at 10am 29 October)
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
New detection in Christchurch on 27 October, further testing underway.
COVID-19 vaccine update
Vaccines administered to date (total)
6,761,930; 1st doses: 3,682,213 (87 pct); 2nd doses: 3,079,717 (73 pct)
Vaccines administered yesterday (total)
44,779; 1st doses: 12,780; 2nd doses: 31,999
1st doses: 403,647 (71 pct); 2nd doses: 289,868 (51 pct)
1st doses: 241,024 (84 pct); 2nd doses: 190,255 (66 pct)
Vaccines administered to Auckland residents to date (total)
2,430,162; 1st doses: 1,301,761 (91 pct); 2nd doses: 1,128,401 (79 pct)
Vaccines administered to Auckland residents yesterday (total)
10,519; 1st doses: 2,413; 2nd doses: 8,106
NZ COVID Tracer
Registered users (total)
Poster scans (total)
Manual diary entries (total)
Poster scans in 24 hours to midday yesterday
There are two new expected and linked community cases of COVID-19 to report in Christchurch today, both from a single household linked to the cases identified earlier this week.
This brings the total number of active cases in the region to four. A total of 13 other close contacts have now been identified, who are isolating and will undergo further testing.
The new cases reported today were close contacts of the two initial cases. They are currently isolating with public health support. The local public health unit is gathering further information from these cases to identify any close contacts and exposure events, including any locations of interest.
People across Canterbury are urged to closely monitor the Ministry's locations of interest webpage, which is updated regularly, with initial sites already identified.
In addition, anyone in Canterbury – especially those in Christchurch – with any symptoms, no matter how mild, are asked to please get tested. Those in Canterbury are also reminded to get vaccinated today and this weekend if they have not already.
Testing and vaccination sites are available across Canterbury, today and into the weekend. Please see the Canterbury DHB website for site locations and hours.
Yesterday across Canterbury, more than 3000 tests were carried out and nearly 11,000 vaccinations were administered – with 90 percent of residents now having received their first dose, and 71 percent fully vaccinated. Thank you, Canterbury.
COVID-19 was detected in a Christchurch wastewater sample taken on Wednesday (October 27), from a catchment which covers a population of more than 300,000.
Further samples are being collected today from a range of sites across Canterbury, in addition to testing in Christchurch, with laboratory results expected early next week.
We are continuing to concentrate on testing in areas with higher positivity rates and where the risk of unidentified cases is higher. We are asking people in the suburbs of Redvale, Rosedale, New Lynn, Wiri, Drury, Henderson and Manurewa to get a test as soon as possible if they have symptoms – no matter how mild and even if they are fully vaccinated.
Testing is available at GP and urgent care clinics, with the locations of these can be listed on the Healthpoint website.
In Auckland, public health officials are now supporting 478 COVID-19 cases in the community to safely isolate at home.
Auckland retirement home
A resident at Edmonton Meadows retirement village in Henderson has been confirmed as having COVID-19.
Public health staff are confident the risk of infection is low but, as a precaution, testing is being arranged for all staff and residents. Both staff and residents at the village have very high vaccination rates.
Investigations are underway to determine the source of the infection and identify close contacts. At this stage, no staff members are required to stand down.
There are four new cases reported in the Waikato. One has already been linked to existing cases and interviews with the remaining cases are underway..
Three of the new cases were in the Te Awamutu/Kihikihi area and one in Ōtorohanga.
An additional two cases have been confirmed today and will be officially included in tomorrow's numbers. Both were in Kāwhia at the time they were tested but travelled to the Auckland region before receiving their positive results. They are now in isolation in the Auckland region.
A pop-up testing centre was set up in Kāwhia this morning at the Maketu Marae which will be running for the next three days from 11am to 3pm each day.
Anyone in the Kāwhia areas with symptoms, even if they are mild and they are vaccinated, is urged to get tested.
As well as the permanent testing site in Hamilton, there are five pop-up testing sites operating today in Hamilton, Kāwhia, Ōtorohanga, Whatawhata, and Te Awamutu. Please see the DHB website for location details and the Healthpoint website for all other testing providers.
There were 3230 swabs were taken/tests were processed throughout Waikato yesterday and 4018 vaccinations were given.
There remains no new cases in the Nelson Marlborough region following a case from Waikato notified late last week. The case has been isolating in Blenheim.
ESR advises that wastewater samples taken from Blenheim and Picton on Tuesday have returned negative results.
Today we are reporting one new case in Northland, bring the total associated with this cluster to eight. This case is not unexpected, they are a household member of a case and were already isolating.
There were 667 swabs taken and 1163 vaccinations in Northland yesterday. Northland DHB is continuing to encourage regionwide testing to rule out any undetected community spread.
There are dedicated testing sites operating at Kaitaia, Rawene, Kerikeri, Ōhaeawai, Kawakawa, Dargaville and Whangārei. Details of testing locations are available on the Healthpoint website and the Northland DHB website.
1pm - SkyCity announces COVID-19 vaccination certificate mandate
SkyCity Entertainment Group CEO Michael Ahearne has announced that COVID-19 vaccination certificates (CVC) will soon be a requirement for entry to all SkyCity sites across New Zealand.
The vaccine certificate mandate will cover the SkyCity workforce - around 2900 employees - as well as customers, contractors and visitors.
Ahearne said the decision will ensure SkyCity has in place the highest available levels of protection against COVID-19 for its people and customers to meet its legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
"As one of the biggest entertainment venues in New Zealand, and a significant employer in New Zealand, we need to take measures to help keep Kiwis safe," he said on Friday.
"While we have existing safety controls in place to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, public health information and research confirm that COVID-19 vaccines will provide the best protection for our staff and customers.
"As the result of running a risk assessment process SkyCity expects the CVC requirement will cover all employees (around 2900), customers, contractors and visitors at our New Zealand sites to protect them from the harmful effects of COVID-19, as well as minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission within our sites, workplace, and the wider community.
"Very early on we set the target of 100 percent of all eligible SkyCity employees being fully vaccinated and, over the past six months, we've been strongly encouraging our people to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. We've supported this by providing them with paid time off to get vaccinated, petrol vouchers for travel and holding vaccination events for staff across the country.
"SkyCity has been significantly impacted by the August Delta outbreak, particularly in Auckland where our flagship property has been closed for 72 days. Supporting the vaccination targets set by the Government is going to help our industry reopen, stay open and recover faster."
An employee survey process has commenced to ensure SkyCity staff have the opportunity to provide feedback on the new requirements.
12:35pm - There will be no press conference at 1pm today - instead, the Ministry of Health will be releasing the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak via a statement.
We'll publish the statement to these live updates as soon as we receive it.
12:25pm - The family of a Northland man has been forced to speak out after rumours he died from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine transformed him into an anti-vaccination poster boy.
Liam Ranby, 21, died of a brain aneurysm and cardiac arrest earlier this month, just hours after talking to his mum about whether or not he should get the vaccine against COVID-19.
He had been living in Whangārei and working on a berry and kiwifruit farm prior to his collapse at a gym.
His mum confirmed he hadn't received the Comirnaty jab, but that hasn't stopped "keyboard warriors" insinuating his death was related to it.
The speculation became so rampant that Liam's father was forced to address the lies during a eulogy for his son.
"People have been messaging me telling me that I'm lying, that it's my duty to tell the public the truth," Tania Ranby told the New Zealand Herald.
"I'm not vaccinated, I'm pro-choice. I've heard both sides and it upsets me, people pushing the vaccine onto others. But it makes me sick that people are using my son to push their ideas through."
She said people, including strangers, had messaged her while her son was on life support - so much so that she had started to doubt herself whether he had been vaccinated, even checking Liam's medical notes.
12:10pm - Three new potential exposure events have been added by the Ministry of Health as of 12pm.
A COVID-positive person travelled on the 983 bus from Hibiscus Coast Station to Gulf Harbour via Vipond Rd on Friday, October 22 between 12:54pm and 12:57pm.
A confirmed case also travelled on the 982 bus from Gulf Harbour to Hibiscus Coast Station between 1:10pm and 1:40pm that day.
Countdown in Glenfield was visited by an infectious person between 11am and 11:40am on Tuesday, October 19.
For public health advice, click here.
11:50am - National's COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop has responded to the revelation that just one room was occupied at the Grand Mercure managed isolation facility in Wellington for the week of October 21-28.
The 102-room hotel had just one guest for the week due to the MIQ cohorting system, a spokesperson told Newshub on Friday.
In a statement on Friday, Bishop said the news is "unbelievable".
"This is a massive slap in the face for the tens of thousands of Kiwis offshore who are desperately trying to come home and who are forced to participate in the lottery of human misery that is the MIQ system," he said.
"This news will go down like a cup of warm sick. While stranded Kiwis have been logging in and spending hours sitting at a computer screen in the MIQ virtual lobby and lodging desperate emergency allocation requests, almost an entire hotel stood empty.
"This would be comical if it wasn't so painful for so many Kiwis who are desperate to see their families, whānau, and friends."
Bishop has called the MIQ 'lottery' a "humanitarian catastrophe", noting that New Zealand citizens are being deprived of their right to return home.
"It must be resolved, now," he said.
"Fully vaccinated travellers with negative pre-departure tests present negligible risk to New Zealand, as data I revealed last week shows.
"We need an explanation from the Government about how on earth this was allowed to happen. This is an unacceptable level of negligence and ambivalence to the suffering of New Zealanders."
11:35am - Just one guest stayed at the Grand Mercure managed isolation facility in Wellington earlier this week.
A managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson confirmed to Newshub that just one guest stayed at the 102-room hotel during the week of October 21 and October 28.
"Other guests have not been staying at this facility to maintain the cohorting system between incoming and arriving guests," the spokesperson said.
The last cohort of 65 returnees left on October 21. The next cohort of 105 returnees arrived on Thursday, October 28.
The Grand Mercure has 89 isolation rooms and 13 quarantine rooms. However, from May to early-October, capacity was halved while maintenance work was carried out on the facility's ventilation systems.
"During quieter periods, the on-site health team work remotely to support their nursing colleagues in Auckland."
According to Stuff, up to 50 staffers were working at the facility during that week.
The outlet understands the single guest had arrived on a private plane due to a family issue in New Zealand.
11:10am - Trucking companies say a vaccine mandate at regional borders would be problematic as they are already struggling with a shortage of drivers and fragile supply chain.
The Government is looking at making vaccination a requirement to cross regional boundaries for most travel.
Transporting Forum chief executive Nick Leggett said the sector could not afford to take unvaccinated drivers off the road.
"We have a shortage of drivers and a shortage of people in the overall freight industry. We've got issues with ships being able to call at our ports," he told RNZ.
"We are compromised and a compulsory vaccine requirement at borders I think would cause significant disruption and slow our economy even further at a time when we can't afford it."
Anyone leaving Auckland for essential travel must return a negative test in the seven days before departure.
But the testing regime did not catch an unvaccinated person who later tested positive for the virus in Christchurch following a visit to Auckland - and now, there are calls for vaccination to be a requirement for anyone leaving the region.
Leggett said drivers did not pose a great risk of transmitting COVID-19.
"It's a solitary occupation for much of the time drivers are sitting in their cabs often not interacting and when they do interact they can have decent PPE and keep distanced," he said.
"We shouldn't run down a rabbit hole and compromise our supply chain potentially unless we really know what we are going to gain from a vaccine border mandate."
10:55am - More than 1000 fake bookings have hampered efforts to get people vaccinated in Tairāwhiti, the region with the lowest immunisation rates against the virus.
In the area including Gisborne and the East Cape, just 77 percent of people have had their first dose of the vaccine - only 62 percent have received their second jab. Regionally, both rates are the lowest in the country.
Health authorities have been working hard to boost uptake in Tairāwhiti, but bogus bookings are not helping.
Di Akurangi, a communications advisor for the local District Health Board Hauora Tairāwhiti, said it was a surprise to see a recent surge of 1300 bookings - and a shock to see they were all fakes.
"Look, I had to laugh about it because I'm thinking 'oh gee, our comms are really working here in Tairāwhiti', on the other hand I'm thinking 'oh no, our team's now got to go through a process to delete all of those' and that's a process in itself too that the Ministry of Health actually assists with so, definitely time-wasting," she told RNZ.
10:45am - A truck driver who tested positive for COVID-19 in Christchurch delivered bulk goods between two warehouses, according to Stuff.
On Thursday it was announced that two people from the same household in Christchurch had tested positive for the virus. Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, confirmed one of the cases is a truck driver who had driven around Christchurch and north of the city.
A spokeswoman for beverage company Lion New Zealand told Stuff its Hornby warehouse, which is managed by Move Logistics and Warehousing, had been exposed to a case of COVID-19.
The exposure relates to an external truck driver who had been delivering bulk goods between two warehouses. The truck driver is not a Move or Lion employee, the outlet reports. The Hornby warehouse has since been closed for deep-cleaning and staff are being tested.
Move Logistics executive director Chris Dunphy told Stuff a Toll Group driver had been identified as a positive case by one of their warehousing clients. Move was not informed until Thursday, Dunphy said.
The first case, who returned to Christchurch from Auckland on October 15, passed on the virus to one of their family members, who is the second case. The pair, who live in the same household in Bishopdale, are both unvaccinated.
The two cases had not been regularly documenting their movements with the NZ COVID Tracer app. Both are now in a managed isolation facility in Christchurch.
Thirteen locations of interest have been identified in Christchurch so far. The Garden City remains at alert level 2.
10:30am - No locations of interest have been identified so far on Friday, with the three most recent potential exposure events added at 6pm yesterday.
These latest locations of interest are New World in Bishopdale, Christchurch, New World Eastridge in Mission Bay and West Liquor Westside in Swanson.
Keep up-to-date with the latest locations of interest via the Ministry of Health's official list, which is regularly updated throughout the day.
10:15am - The first results for the new financial year show the continued strength of New Zealand's economy, despite the challenges of COVID-19, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Friday.
The Crown accounts for the three months to the end of September take into account the improved starting position from the previous financial year and the continued strength in economic activity. However, the current Delta outbreak has dampened this improvement.
The result of the stronger economy means core Crown tax revenue was $2.3 billion above the Budget 2021 forecast, coming in at $24 billion. GST revenue was $184 million above forecast, owing to stronger than expected consumer demand.
The accounts also show the operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was a deficit of $5.4 billion, $0.8 billion higher than forecast. This is a result of the Delta outbreak which triggered a shift in alert level restrictions and the payment of Government financial support.
As a result, core Crown expenses at $31 billion, were $3.2 billion above forecast mainly owing to the payment of wage subsidies and COVID-19 resurgence support payments.
Net core Crown debt was 33 percent of GDP which was lower than the 36.2 percent forecast.
"This result is better than expected, particularly given the impacts of the current alert level restrictions," Robertson said on Friday.
"We have been taking a balanced approach as we protect New Zealand from the global COVID-19 pandemic. This approach has been reflected in these results.
"As the country transitions to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework and the fewer restrictions that go with it, the prospects are strong for the economy to support the recovery and meet other challenges."
9:55am - Christchurch residents are confused and angry following the news that two unvaccinated people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community.
Dave Brown, the owner of Pannell dairy in Wainoni in the city's east, told RNZ he found out his store was a location of interest through the media and had yet to hear from health authorities.
"Well it would be nice to know what we have to do from here on, whether we can continue trading or we shut down."
While his staff are all fully vaccinated, one of them is immunocompromised, he said.
He is angry one of the COVID-positive people had been allowed to travel into Auckland and back without a vaccination.
"First off I'm bloody peed off with the Government as is just about everyone else that's been in the shop, there's a lot of angry people in Christchurch."
9:40am - Waikato's regional councillors have joined the chorus of voices supporting the COVID-19 vaccination drive, recommending that all elected members, staff and the public get the jab.
Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington said on Friday that although councillors agree vaccination is a personal choice, a motion to "emphatically support the Government's COVID-19 vaccination programme" was passed in a 13-1 vote during a virtual meeting on Thursday.
In their decision, councillors recommended that elected members and staff, as well as the public, whether it's mandated or not, be vaccinated against COVID-19, consistent with the Ministry of Health's advice - unless there are valid health reasons for an exemption.
"There were differing views around the council table, we listened to them all and it was a respectful discussion," Rimmington said.
"But overall we agreed it was important to show leadership, to send a clear message to council staff and to the people of our region - we support vaccination, and that's because the alternatives are so much worse.
"We have so many vulnerable communities in the Waikato region. Getting our vaccination rates up is the key to protecting them, and the rest of our rohe, and getting out of lockdown."
During the meeting, the council's people and capability manager, Nick Ollington, told councillors that work had commenced on a COVID-19 vaccination policy for the organisation, which will include role-based risk assessments.
"The topic is a complex one, with issues spanning health and safety, employment and privacy legislation, along with the Bill of Rights Act. We're aware that mandating workplace vaccination is a complex issue that will need to balance individual rights with our obligation as an employer to take all reasonably practicable steps to provide a safe workplace."
Waikato Regional Council chief executive Chris McLay said staff are being supported to get vaccinated.
"It's been really important to us that we make it as easy as possible for staff and their dependents to get vaccinated, so we've enabled them to attend vaccination appointments during work time, and provided information on the vaccination programme."
9:30am - By the Government's logic, Aucklanders will not be able to travel outside of the region for Christmas or summer if overseas returnees still must complete a stint in MIQ before entering the community - even if they are double-jabbed and COVID-negative, says the host of The AM Show, Ryan Bridge.
On Thursday, the Government announced that Kiwis stranded overseas must still complete a stint in a MIQ facility before they can finish their quarantine period at home.
"At the moment, we still don't have cases all over the country in the way that we do in Auckland, so the risk settings are different. We don't want to accelerate the spread of COVID-19 out of Auckland by prematurely making changes to the international border," COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.
On The AM Show on Friday, Bridge raised the question - if MIQ still applies to vaccinated citizens returning to New Zealand, then why would they let Aucklanders travel elsewhere, even with both jabs and a negative test?
"That means after a third of the year in lockdown, Aucklanders aren't going to the bach, a beach out of the city, or a festival in Gisborne," Bridge said.
"I'm not saying Rhythm and Vines will be cancelled, or that Jaffas will be stuck in their prisons for summer too. I'm saying on the basis of this logic, it seems inevitable. What we need from the Government on Friday is clarity and honesty.
"Here's a message to Chris Hipkins - give it to us straight bro. Is the summer roadie for 1.5 million people cancelled or not?"
9:20am - Another case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Waikato region.
Ōtorohanga Mayor Max Baxter announced on Friday morning that the latest case is in Kāwhia, a coastal community in the King Country.
"Unfortunately there has been a positive case of COVID-19 detected in Kāwhia yesterday," Baxter said.
"The person and a close contact of that individual were visiting Kāwhia until Tuesday this week and are now in isolation outside of the Kāwhia area.
"There will be a testing station set up in Kāwhia today. Please get tested and book a vaccination now if you have not already been vaccinated. Keep Kāwhia safe and stay in your bubble."
The testing station will be open at Maketu Marae for three days and from 11am until 3pm on Friday.
9:15am - Decisions have yet to be made on whether Aucklanders will be able to leave the region for Christmas, says Labour's David Parker, as National's Simon Bridges blasts the Government for making up "policy on the hoof".
On Thursday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said fully vaccinated travellers returning to New Zealand would not be able to self-isolate at home without a prior stint in MIQ until at least some time in the first quarter of next year - when the traffic light system had been bedded in.
The traffic light system won't come into effect nationwide until all DHBs hit 90 percent full vaccination, something current estimates say isn't likely until January. Auckland will enter the new framework when its three DHBs hit 90 percent, estimated to be at the end of November.
Appearing on The AM Show on Friday, Parker said the Government is not yet willing to allow fully vaccinated Kiwis to return without first staying in MIQ, as they could still be potentially carrying COVID-19.
"Although we are experiencing a COVID outbreak in Auckland and we are trying to manage that now through vaccination, most of the country is still free of COVID," the Labour MP said. "If we had people coming through the border and going to those areas we would have an increased risk of COVID in those areas."
Following that logic, The AM Show's Ryan Bridge asked if that also meant fully vaccinated Aucklanders would not be able to travel outside of the region for Christmas - before all regions have hit 90 percent vaccination.
Parker said that by Christmas, Auckland is expected to be above 90 percent vaccination and "by that time, we will have taken decisions at a central Government level about inter-regional travel".
"It is true that those decisions have not yet been taken but they will need to be taken before Christmas. I am not saying what the answer will be. But by then we will be into the traffic light system.
"I am saying that decision will have to be taken before then and by then there will be other parts of New Zealand that are at 90-plus and they will be in the traffic light system too."
Bridges, the Tauranga MP and former National leader, said the traffic light system was a "traffic light shambles".
9:05am - New Zealand's largest general insurer, IAG (which encompasses insurers AMI, State, NZI, NAC, Lumley and Lantern) has introduced a range of new health and safety measures to help protect its people, customers and the wider community against COVID-19.
These include compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for employees who work from IAG offices and other worksites, as well as all locations outside of IAG where employees interact with customers, partners, suppliers and other people as a part of their roles, IAG's chief executive officer New Zealand, Amanda Whiting, announced on Friday.
As an extension to this, IAG will also require its business partners, including bank and broker partners, to be vaccinated before they enter IAG premises.
Whiting says the compulsory vaccination policy is being introduced after consultation with employees.
"We have made this decision because we strongly believe it is the right thing to do.
"Since the start of the pandemic our decision making has been guided by government advice and the priority of keeping people safe. We have always adhered to government restrictions, and in many cases, gone above and beyond those to provide our people, partners and customers with additional protections.
"As the pandemic continues to evolve, there is no question that vaccination is the best way to keep everyone safe in the short and long-term.
"We want to do our bit for New Zealand."
8:45am - NZ Post is urging Aucklanders to shop a little differently this Christmas with delivery delays expected to increase in the lead-up to the festive period.
Demand for online shopping in Auckland has increased over 90 percent since the beginning of lockdown - and in response to the demand, postal workers have gone from delivering 440,000 parcels per week in Auckland to over 740,000.
"There are limits on what we can physically do to increase our capacity to deliver. With the current outbreak meaning we don't know how long retail in Auckland will be switched off for, we all need to do things a little differently this Christmas," NZ Post chief customer officer Bryan Dobson said on Friday.
"We've got some tips to help Kiwis prepare and to make sure everyone's shopping can arrive on time and not get stuck in a backlog."
Think ahead, start planning what you want and need to buy during the shopping season now.
Make a list of what you need so you can place fewer, larger orders and reduce your shipping costs.
Use 'click and collect' options with your favourite retailers wherever possible.
Consider bulk buying items that you usually purchase online monthly or weekly into one larger order that can be sent in one go.
Across the country, NZ Post is currently delivering more than two million parcels every week - that's four every second.
"Outside of Auckland, our delivery service is operating closer to normal. But we are still asking Kiwis throughout the country to plan ahead for Christmas and to shop a little differently by following our tips."
NZ Post's latest eCommerce Spotlight report shows New Zealanders have spent $1.7 billion online over the last three months, an increase of 22 percent on the same period last year.
Auckland has had the biggest quarter for online shopping ever, with Aucklanders spending over $700 million online over the last three months, $122 million more than the same quarter last year, and a massive 51 percent increase on 2019.
The eCommerce Spotlight report shows Aucklanders have made 6.3 million transactions online in the last three months, or about 70,000 online transactions every day – an increase of almost 30 percent compared to the same period last year, despite Auckland also having a lockdown in the corresponding period. All indications show these trends are going to continue over the next three months in the lead-up to Christmas.
Customers are encouraged to check www.nzpost.co.nz for the latest delivery timeframes and the most up to date cut-off deadlines for Christmas.
8:35am - A young New Zealander stranded in Canada and unable to work is desperate to return home after his fifth failed attempt at the managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) lottery.
Nash Forrester travelled to Canada in November 2019 to see the world and gain some overseas experience. He is now desperate to return to New Zealand following the death of his father's fiancée, but efforts to secure a room in MIQ have so far proved futile.
"I just want to be there with my family right now… my dad wants me to come home more than anything," he told The AM Show on Friday.
He says he has entered the MIQ 'virtual lobby' - a lottery that randomly arranges users into a queue for available MIQ rooms - four of five times, but never got close to securing a space.
Forrester is technically allowed to be in Canada, but the visitor visa he has applied for does not allow him to legally work in the country. He is currently living off savings and the support of those around him.
He is calling on the Government to allow New Zealand citizens to come home, without their return being subject to sheer luck.
"I just want you guys to change the system. You guys need to let New Zealand citizens come home. It's not really a big ask, it's the country where I was born, the country where I was raised, the country where my family is. It's tough not being able to come home," he said.
"To me, it makes no sense. I've been double-vaccinated since August. I've also had COVID previously. Just to get home - home isolation is an option, it would be beneficial for me and other people in my situation to be able to quarantine at home."
8:20am - A 43-year-old man was arrested in Tauranga on Thursday in relation to a gathering earlier this month that allegedly breached COVID-19 restrictions, a police spokesperson said on Friday.
The man has been charged with failing to comply with order (COVID-19) and is due to appear in the Tauranga District Court on November 4, 2021.
The gathering occurred on October 16, 2021 at Coronation Park in Mt Maunganui.
Police say allegedly 300 to 400 people attended the gathering and the majority were not wearing masks.
Enquiries into the gathering continue and police are not ruling out laying further charges.
8am - Kiwis stranded overseas have been left in turmoil after the Government announced on Thursday that returnees will still need to stay in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) if they travel into Auckland - where almost 300 cases are already in home isolation.
Entrepreneur Sir Ian Taylor told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that many New Zealanders stuck overseas are now stateless, without visas or money. He says the system is flawed and "not fit for purpose".
"The disconnect is appalling," he said on Friday.
"We're well over a year-and-a-half down the track and still using the blunt tools. MIQ is absolutely flawed. It's simply not fit for purpose."
7:45am - NZ Post is warning Aucklanders to expect significant delays for deliveries in the lead-up to Christmas.
"In Auckland, we're seeing a lot of demand for online shopping at the moment... the delays can take up to five additional working days," NZ Post chief customer officer Bryan Dobson told The AM Show on Friday.
"We're expecting to see significant delays and demand for online shopping as long as retail in Auckland is closed... as we head into Christmas, there is a chance those delays could get longer. We'll keep people up-to-date."
Dobson is urging Kiwis to send their Christmas presents as soon as possible - and to get prepared in advance.
"Plan ahead, make a list. If you get prepared... you could maybe do one bulk order.
"A lot of stores are offering click-and-collect, so that could be another option."
7:30am - Air New Zealand is set to make another substantial call on the government's standby fund, as it also mulls whether to insist domestic travellers are fully vaccinated before being allowed to fly.
The company's annual meeting has heard that the rebound in domestic tourism and business travel has been hit by the latest lockdown restrictions, and earnings have been affected, with the airline operating at only 40 percent of normal levels.
7:15am - Speaking to The AM Show, National's Simon Bridges says the current MIQ system is "well past its use by date".
Labour minister David Parker says until we get to 90 percent double dose and into the traffic light system, we still need the international border as a protection. If we were to let double vaccinated people in without MIQ, some people may go to parts of the country without COVID, creating an increased risk in those regions, Parker says.
Bridges says the Government has been slow on vaccine certificates and on MIQ changes. He doesn't believe they have thought out all of the detail yet.
Parker expects parts of the country to be at 90 percent double dose by Christmas and decisions will be made by Government before then on inter-regional travel. However, on current modelling, not all DHBs will be at 90 percent double dose by then.
Bridges believes the traffic light system is a "traffic light shambles". He says politics means the Government will likely open up travel at Christmas.
7am - Modelling by Stuff has found all three Auckland DHBs should be 90 percent fully vaccinated by November 27 if the current rolling average keeps up and people get their second dose three weeks after their first.
While that would mean a transition for Auckland to the traffic light system, the rest of New Zealand may be waiting a while longer. Tairawhiti doesn't get there until January 18 on the current figures. Lakes, Hawkes Bay, Whanganui, West Coast and Northland all also don't hit the 90 percent milestone until either late December or early January.
6:45am - The Russian capital brought in its strictest lockdown measures in more than a year as nationwide one-day pandemic deaths and infections hit new highs.
The Kremlin also denied a media report which said it was working to relaunch Russia's troubled vaccination advertising and public information campaign.
According to Worldometers, there have been 246 million COVID-19 cases with 4.99 million deaths.
6:30am - Here are the vaccination rates across all DHBs. It includes doses up to Wednesday night. Remember, for the traffic light system to come into effect in Auckland, all three of its DHBs need to hit 90 percent double dosed. For the rest of New Zealand, all other DHBs need to hit that mark.
6:15am - The Delta coronavirus variant can transmit easily from vaccinated people to their household contacts, a British study found on Thursday, although contacts were less likely to get infected if they were vaccinated themselves.
The Imperial College London study illustrates how the highly transmissible Delta variant can spread even in a vaccinated population.
The researchers underlined that did not weaken the argument for vaccination as the best way of reducing serious illness from COVID-19 and said booster shots were required.
6am - Professor Michael Plank, who does modelling for Te Pūnaha Matatini, told Newshub he was a "little bit surprised" by the Government's decision to keep Christchurch at alert level 2.
However, he says the likely key reason for that is the cases' lack of major exposure events.
"[That] means they haven't been out and making lots of contact out in the community. I think we are in a bit of a wait and see stage at the moment."
However, because the cases did have contact with at least three households and did visit a number of stores and other locations, Prof Plank says it's possible there has been transmission.
"It's possible that if other cases crop up we could still see an alert level change."
The cases became unwell around October 18 and 20 and were likely infectious for just under two weeks.
"If they did pass it on to someone else around that time, that means there has been an almost two-week period where the virus could have continued to spread more widely in the community," Prof Plank says.
"If we do get any positive test results from contacts during that period that would be a red flag that it is likely we are looking at a larger outbreak and that we might need an alert level change to control that."
He reiterated it was important people got tested even if they have mild symptoms and ensured they were vaccinated.
5:45am - Here's the latest case summary, including the cases reported on Thursday:
5:30am - As Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said on Thursday, the two cases in the city have served as a "wake-up call" for anyone there thinking they wouldn't see a return of the virus. Officials are hoping that may prompt more people to get out and get vaccinated.
Including Wednesday's data, the latest DHB by DHB breakdown of vaccination rates shows Canterbury has seen 89 percent of its eligible population have their first shot with just 3390 to go to hit 90 percent. The region sits at 69 percent on second doses.
5:15am - Kia ora, good morning, and welcome to Newshub's live updates for Friday.
Two cases of COVID-19 in Christchurch, including a truck driver who made deliveries around the city during their infectious period, has left many Cantabrians on edge.
The region remains at alert level 2, reflecting the fact there are no major exposure points and Bishopdale, the suburb where the cases are located, has relatively high vaccination rates.
But locals are being "urged to closely monitor" the updating locations of interest page.
"In addition, people in Canterbury – especially those who live in Christchurch – with any symptoms, no matter how mild, are asked to please get tested, even if they are vaccinated. Unvaccinated people are urged to get vaccinated."
A number of Christchurch locations of interest have already been announced, including:
- Suoervale Fendalton Village - Monday, October 18 between 6:45pm and 7:45pm
- Try's Bakery Islington - Wednesday, October 20 between 7:30am and 8:30am
- Pannell Discounter Wainoni - Friday, October 22 between 1pm and 1:45pm
- Caltex Blenheim Rd Riccarton - Wednesday, October 20 between 5:45pm and 6:15pm.
One of those isolating due to a connection to a case is an Otago mine worker who works at the Macraes site. Their partner is a close contact.
"Our contractor and their partner have been advised to test and isolate until the test results are returned. Our operation has been advised to monitor the workforce for any COVID-19 related symptoms," OceanaGold said on Thursday.
"Our operation's health and safety team are working with the Ministry of Health, our contractor and the workforce to ensure their health, wellbeing and safety."