As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 25

Aucklanders are facing day 69 in lockdown after 80 new cases were reported on Sunday. 

Auckland will remain in alert level 3 for at least another week while the Waikato will until at least 11:59pm on Wednesday. 

It comes after the Government revealed a new COVID-19 system on Friday. The new framework includes three traffic lights - Green, Orange and Red - to replace the alert level system introduced in March 2020.

What you need to know 

  • A person in Blenheim tested positive for COVID on Saturday - the South Island's first case this year 
  • There were 109 new cases reports on Monday; 103 in Auckland, four in Waikato and two in Northland
  • The Government has announced a new COVID traffic light system and beefed up financial support
  • Vaccine certificates will be used under the new traffic light system. 
  • Click here for all the locations of interest.

These live updates have finished.

7:30pm - One of Australia's intensive care units has opened up to Newshub to show New Zealanders what COVID-19 will do to our hospitals.

A top doctor and nurse have spoken from their shift on Monday with a warning: get ready for a surge of the sickest patients you have ever seen.

Professor Daryl Jones is one of the leading ICU doctors in Melbourne. He took Newshub inside the Austin Hospital ICU to show Kiwis what is coming as more and more patients arrive.

"They are very short of breath when they first come into us, struggling to breath and needing a lot of oxygen," he says.

"These are some of the sickest patients I have seen in 22 years of working in the ICU."

Read and watch the full story from Newshub national correspondent Patrick Gower here.

6:45pm - It's finally back-to-school for nearly 60,000 year 11, 12, and 13 students in Auckland and the more than 15,000 senior high schoolers in Waikato.

Schools in alert level 3 areas can reopen in person from Tuesday after the Government laid out guidelines last week. Masks will be compulsory, but one health expert says vaccinations should be compulsory for students too, not just teachers.

"The Government has introduced mandates in health - total no-brainer. They've also introduced one in education for all the staff - total no-brainer. They need to introduce the same mandate for 12-and-over children," says epidemiologist Rod Jackson.

"Why would you have children going to school unvaccinated? They're a super-spreading population. It's absolutely crazy and I understand quite a few schools are not going back."

Read and watch the full story from Newshub's Alice Wilkins here.

6:15pm - There are several new locations of interest. They are: 

  • Hillpark Superette, October 13 from 9:45am to 10am
  • Hillpark Bakery, October 13 from 10am to 10:10am
  • PlaceMakers Cook Street, October 18 from 6:30am to 8am
  • Caltex Dominion Road, October 20 from 10:15am to 10:20am
  • New World Devonport, October 20 from 12:36pm to 12:46pm
  • Lim Chhour Supermarket, October 20 from 2:34pm to 3pm
  • KK Bakery & Cafe Tokoroa, October 21 from 5:15am to 6am
  • The Bakehouse Cafe Tokoroa, October 21 from 5:15am to 6am
  • Countdown Mount Wellington, October 21 from 8:47pm to 10:30pm
  • Lim Chhour Supermarket, October 22 from 9:30am 10am
  • Countdown Auckland Metro, October 22 from 10:22am to 11:30am
  • PlaceMakers Cook Street, October 22 from 10:26am to 11:45am
  • Avondale Superette, October 22 from 1pm to 1:15pm.

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

5:25pm - The Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) says two events aimed at increasing Māori vaccination rates in south Auckland today have so far attracted close to 200 people, most of them receiving first dose vaccinations.

Some of the area's leading Māori health providers left Manurewa Marae just before midday to start their street heroes campaign, visiting streets in Manurewa and Papakura with low vaccination rates.

Five Māori clinicians who work in the area joined the Shot Cuzz bus and vaccination vans for the event where quality kōrero about vaccinations was also on offer.

"Vaccinations were the added bonus,” says Dr Anthony Jordan, clinicial director for NRHCC.

"The aim was to encourage unvaccinated whanau to feel comfortable to come out and talk to us so they could make informed decisions about receiving the vaccine.

"We were pleased to encourage close to 80 whanau to get their first doses within the first five hours, every number counts with an approach like this."

Kiwi music legends King Kapisi and Che Fu joined a number of other local artists performing at a vaccination drive-through and walk-in event at Rongomai Park in Flat Bush.

Around 70 percent of those who attended the event were receiving a dose for the first time.

By 4:30pm, close to 80 people had either driven or walked in to the park to take in the tunes and get a vaccination, NRHCC says.

4:20pm - There are several new locations of interest, including some in Ōtorohanga. They are:

  • Countdown Manurewa, October 13 from 10:30am to 11am
  • Ōtorohanga Mini mart, October 18 from 10am to 2pm
  • Life Pharmacy Takapuna, October 19 from 9am to 10am
  • Ōtorohanga Mini mart, October 19 from 10am to 2pm
  • Life Pharmacy Takapuna, October 20 from 9am to 10am
  • Ōtorohanga Mini mart, October 21 from 10am 2pm
  • FreshChoice Te Awamutu, October 21 from 11:30am to 1:45pm
  • McDonald's Ōtorohanga, October 21 from 6pm to 7:25pm
  • Life Pharmacy Takapuna, October 22 from 9am to 10am
  • Ōtorohanga Mini mart, October 22 from 10am to 2pm
  • Countdown Henderson, October 22 from 2:36pm to 4pm
  • Countdown Kelston, October 23 from 10:47am to 12:15pm
  • Chemist Warehouse Lynn Mall, October 23 from 2:39pm to 4pm.

3:05pm - Unvaccinated athletes will be able to take part in next year's Australian Open after undergoing 14 days of quarantine, the WTA Tour has told its players, according to an email leaked to US media.

The email, obtained by freelance journalist Ben Rothenberg, contradicts a statement made last week by Australia's immigration minister that players would need to be double vaccinated to get a visa to compete at the Grand Slam.

Up to a third of players on the WTA and men's ATP remain unvaccinated, according to reports, and men's world number one Novak Djokovic has declined to reveal his vaccination status.

In the email, the WTA says it wanted to "clear up false and misleading information" about the conditions players would be subjected to at the Australian Open.

The WTA says the information came from organisers Tennis Australia, who had requested players keep it confidential for "a few days" as they were still discussing the details with the government.

- Reuters

2:27pm - The Ministry of Health has released updated COVID-19 statistics. 

As of 11:59pm October 24, 87 percent of people have had their first vaccine and 71 percent their second.

And Auckland is inching ever closer to the 90 percent vaccine rate at each DHB. 

Waitemata DHB now has 90 percent for first doses and 76 for second while Auckland has 93 percent first doses and 81 percent second. Counties Mankau has 88 percent first doses and 73 percent second.

Below is a breakdown of vaccines by DHB.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 25
As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 25

2:10pm - Two new locations of interest have been added. 

The first location is Countdown in Te Awamutu on Monday, October 18 between 9:00am to 10:00am. The second is FreshChoice in Otahuhu on Thursday, October 21 between 11:00am to 5:00pm. 

1:55pm - Australian officials plan to roll out COVID-19 booster shots soon to prevent a resurgence of cases, as residents in the two largest cities of Sydney and Melbourne begin to enjoy more freedoms after months-long curbs.

Australia has ditched its COVID-zero strategy in favour of suppressing the coronavirus, after largely stamping out infections for most of this year, and is now aiming to live with the virus through higher vaccinations.

Officials are gradually shifting their focus to booster shots as double-dose vaccinations levels in Australia's adult population nears 75 percent. Almost 87 percent of people above 16 have received their first dose since the national rollout began in February.

- Reuters 

1:23pm - So far 3,643,337 people have had their first vaccine or 87 percent and 2,980,163 their second or 71 percent.

1:20pm - There are 35 people in hospital, seven in North Shore, 13 in Middlemore, 14 in Auckland Hospital and one in Waikato. Five people are in ICU or HDU. 

1:17pm - Residents of Redvale and Rosedale in Auckland's North Shore are urged to get tested if they have even the mildest symptoms, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.

This follows high positivity rates of more than 6 percent in Redvale and 3.8 percent in Rosedale. 

This testing will help to provide assurance that there is not undetected spread of COVID-19 in these communities. And that if there is any undetected transmission, this is identified as quickly as possible.

There is good testing capacity available this long weekend at community testing sites, GPs and urgent care clinics.

Testing is available at Community Testing Centres in: 

-        Eventfinda Stadium, 17 Silverfield, Wairau Valley – open 8.30am to 4.30pm 

-        North Harbour Stadium, Oteha Valley Road in Carpark B – open 8.30am to 4.30pm  

-        Northcote Community Testing Centre, Corner of College Road and Kilham Avenue – open  6.30am to 6.30pm  

-        Whânau House, Waipareira Trust Henderson, Corner of Edsel and Catherine Street – open 8am to 2pm

-        Massey Pop-up Community Testing Centre, Carpark of Community Hub, Triangle Park, 385 Don Buck Road – open 7.30am to 6pm  

Testing is also available at GP and Urgent Care clinics, the locations of these can be found on the Healthpoint website.

1:14pm - Northland update

There are also two new expected and linked cases of COVID-19 in Northland, who were in isolation throughout their infectious period.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Northland, associated with this outbreak, is now seven.

With 11 locations of interest across Northland confirmed so far, people living in Northland are asked to monitor the Ministry of Health’s website, which is updated regularly.

Anyone who visited these locations of interest at the specified times is asked to monitor their symptoms for 14 days and if any develop, get tested and stay at home until a negative test result is received and they have been symptom-free for 24 hours.

As an additional precaution, the Ministry recommends that everyone wears face coverings in public areas, washes their hands regularly, and regularly uses the NZ COVID Tracer app to keep track of everywhere they go, and get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

Additional testing, and vaccinations clinics, in the area has been arranged and is available here:

- Kaitaia – Kaitaia Hospital – open 9am to 4pm

- Kerikeri – 1 Sammaree Place – open 9am to 4pm

- Rawene, Rawene Hospital - 9am-2pm (testing only)

- Ôhaeawai – Ôhaeawai Rugby Clubrooms – open 10am to 4pm

- Dargaville – Dargaville Hospital – open 10am to 3pm

- Whangârei – 20 Winger Crescent – open 9am to 4pm

Yesterday there were 633 swabs taken across the region. Meanwhile, there were 333 vaccinations administered in Northland yesterday – of these, 216 were first doses, and a further 117 were second doses.

Those in Northland are also reminded to get vaccinated this weekend if they have not already. All vaccination clinic locations across the region are available on the Northland DHB website.

The Northland region remains at Alert Level 2

1:12pm - Waikato update

The two cases in Ōtorohanga, announced last night, were confirmed after the Ministry's daily reporting period, so are included in today’s overall case tally.

There are two new cases to report in Waikato today; one in Hamilton and one in Te Awamutu/Kihikihi. All are known contacts of existing cases and have been in touch with Public Health officials.

This brings total cases for Waikato during this outbreak to 87, with six cases for which epidemiological links remain under investigation.

The ministry is urging anyone in Waikato to get tested if they have any symptoms which could be COVID-19 or if you believe you have been in contact with a case.

Testing locations can be viewed on the Healthpoint website and Waikato DHB website, with testing available throughout Labour Weekend.

Yesterday 4820 tests were processed for Waikato. While vaccinations dropped to 939, this was expected over the long weekend with fewer sites operating.

Waikato DHB is calling for people to take advantage of the holiday break to get vaccinated, with walk-ins available at many sites across the region.

1:09pm - Ōtorohanga update

A pop-up testing site will be open in Ōtorohanga today after two people in the Waikato town tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday.

It is at the Ōtorohanga Sports Club Carpark, at the Island Reserve on Orahiri Terrace and will be open until 3pm.

As reported last night, these two cases are close contacts of a previously confirmed case from Te Awamutu. They are now isolating locally in dedicated accommodation, with public health oversight.

Investigations are continuing today to determine their movements.

1:05pm - Interviews with the COVID-19 positive case who is currently in isolation in Blenheim are ongoing, The Ministry of Health says. 

A third contact has now returned a negative test. This follows the return of negative tests from two earlier contacts yesterday. All three contacts are now isolating and being managed by Nelson Marlborough Health.

The Ministry also confirmed the case who recently travelled to Blenheim spent the night at a residential address in Tokoroa before flying from Rotorua Airport. Public Health officials are now investigating whether there are any potential exposure events in the area, associated with this case.

People living in Tokoroa and Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough, in particular, are asked to monitor the Ministry of Health’s locations of interest page, which is regularly updated.

Residents in Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman with symptoms – no matter how mild – are being asked to get tested, even if they are vaccinated.

Testing in the region is available today and tomorrow in Blenheim at Horton Park, off Redwood Street until 5.30pm, in Nelson at the Saxton Field parking area in Suffolk Road in Stoke today and tomorrow until 4pm.

Yesterday, there were 419 tests processed across the region (301 in Marlborough) and 444 vaccinations across the region. Vaccination is available today and tomorrow by walk-in at the Blenheim, Nelson and Richmond vaccination centres, with details available on the Nelson Marlborough Health website

1:03pm - There are 109 new community cases of COVID-19 to report today. Of the new cases 103 are in Auckland, four in Waikato and two are in Northland.
As at 10am, 47 of these cases are linked - including 30 household contacts - and 62 remain unlinked, with investigations continuing to help determine their connection to the outbreak.

12:57pm - A case numbers update is expected at 1pm. 

12:40pm - A good samaritan is in isolation and two officers have been stood down after a distressed woman taken to the Ōrewa police station last week was later found to be infected with COVID-19.

In a Facebook post, Whangaparāoa MP Mark Mitchell says a member of the community stopped to help the distressed woman who'd been "dumped on the side of the road with a bundle of clothes by a highly agitated male" on Thursday. Both were later found to be infected with COVID-19.

"They were both shouting at and abusing one another. The male left speeding along Hibiscus Coast Highway driving in an erratic manner," said Mitchell, a National MP.

He said the community member then approached the woman and asked if she needed help.

Mitchell said the man drove her to the Ōrewa police station, where they were met by two local officers.

"He then returned to his home. Ten minutes later, he received a call from the officer dealing with the case to say that the female was positive for COVID-19 Delta, along with the male who had dumped her.

"They were meant to be home isolating together.

"I hate to think what might have happened without their intervention and action. Had she wandered into the centre of Ōrewa with two major supermarkets open, the situation could have been a lot worse."

Read more here.

12:16pm - Several new locations of interest have been added in Auckland. 

The first are two bus trips on bus 762 from Glen Innes to Orakei on Saturday, October 16 between 6:00pm and 6:30pm and on  Friday 22 between 4:30pm and 5:00pm

The third bus trip is on bus 762 from Orakei to Glen Innes on Saturday, October 16 between 2:00pm and 2:30pm. 

The next location is Century Yuasa Batteries on Tuesday, October 19 between 8:00am and 5:00pm.

Labtests in St Heliers is also a location on the same day between 11:15am to 12:00pm. 

The Chemist Warehouse in Albany has also been added for Sunday, October 24 between 11:36am and 12:00pm as well as Apollo Laundromat in Mairangi Bay on Saturday 23 between 7:50am to 10:00am. 

The next location is Z petrol station in Mairangi Bay on Wednesday, October 20 between 6:20pm and 7:35pm.

The final location is Pak n Save in Wairau Valley on Saturday, October 23 between 1:21pm and 2:30pm.

11:50am - Officials will be revealing today's COVID-19 case numbers with a press release at 1pm. It comes after 80 new community cases were reported on Sunday. 

11:18am - Here is the breakdown of vaccines by age as of 11:59pm on October 23. 

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 25

10:54am - Here's a reminder of the current rules in Auckland for those who want to get out and about and enjoy the long weekend.

Auckland is now at Step 1 at Alert Level 3. Some restrictions have eased to allow you to meet close friends and whānau.

  • You should continue to work or study from home if you can.

  • You are encouraged to continue wearing a face covering when you leave your home and when physical distancing is not possible.

  • Keep scanning QR codes, or keep another record of where you go.

Outdoor social gatherings between 2 households

  • Outdoor social gatherings between 2 households can go ahead, with a maximum of 10 people. The natural ventilation outside makes it harder for the virus to spread. 

  • You can, for example, invite people from another household over for dinner in your backyard, but they cannot enter your house or use indoor facilities.

  • You are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering and keep 2 metres apart from the other household. 

  • Tamariki (children) can have playdates with 1 other household at a time — as long it is outside and they do not go inside or use indoor facilities.

  • You can meet close friends and whānau from 1 other household at the park for a picnic or BBQ. You cannot travel in the same vehicle as people from the other household.


You can travel throughout the Auckland region for day trips to do an expanded range of outdoor recreation activities. A maximum of  2 households can gather, with a limit of 10 people. You must maintain 2 metre physical distancing. 

The following activities are permitted:

  • golf

  • hunting

  • sailing and boating — we recommend that boating activities be limited to people from the same household

  • fishing from a private motorised boat or vessel

  • scuba diving

  • jetskiing

  • recreational flying

People from outside the Auckland region cannot travel into Auckland for recreation purposes.

Outdoor exercise classes

Outdoor exercise classes, for example, yoga or bootcamp, should be limited to 10 people (from up to 10 households), including the instructor. Everyone must stay 2 metres apart. 

We encourage you to wear a face covering when you are not exercising. You will not be able to use any indoor changing facilities. 

10:48am - China's latest COVID-19 outbreak is increasingly likely to spread further, a health official said on Sunday, as authorities urged all regions to step up monitoring and called for a reduction in travel across provinces.

China has largely contained the virus but it is determined to stamp out any sporadic local outbreaks, particularly in the run-up to the 2022 Winter Olympics in February.

More than 100 locally transmitted cases have been confirmed over the last week across 11 provincial areas, with most linked to 13 different tour groups.

Read more here

- Reuters

10:14am - Two new locations of interest have been added. The first is Gull on Stoddard Road on Thursday, October 12 between 2:32pm and 2:45pm. The second is Countdown Beachlands on the same day between 11:30am and 1:00pm.

10:05am - Here's each DHBs' vaccination rate as of 11:59pm on  October 23. 

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 25

9:49am - Vaccines for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 will likely be available in the first half of November, top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday, predicting a timetable that could see many kids getting fully vaccinated before the end of the year.

"If all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval and the recommendation from the CDC, it's entirely possible if not very likely that vaccines will be available for children from 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November," Fauci said in an interview with ABC's This Week.

Read the full story here.

8:59am - The number of coronavirus infections recorded so far in eastern Europe surpassed 20 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, as the region grapples with its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and inoculation efforts lag.

Click here for the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the world.

8:51am - Ōtorohanga District Mayor Max Baxter is confident COVID-19 isn't running rampant in the Waikato town despite two cases being detected on Sunday.

Baxter says both of the cases are in isolation which hopefully stopped the virus in its tracks.

"The wastewater in both Waitomo District and Ōtorohanga District, in the last test, have proven to be negative," he told Newshub. 

"One would surmise at this stage that it's not widespread - that these are isolated cases.

"Concerned for the community? Yeah, of course, I am and primarily because our vaccination rates aren't where they should be in comparison to the rest of the country.

"All I'm asking for of people in the community now is: if you have any symptoms whatsoever, please get tested."

Read the full story here

8:48am - Northland DHB chair Harry Burkhardt says the new cases in Northland are "seriously concerning". 

"The whole community is very concerned… We want to take a precautionary approach. We also understand Northland's public health position is that and it's for the Government to make the call."

Burkhardt said the Northland community should act as though the city is in level 3. 

"Keep yourself safe, keep in your bubbles, if you've got any concerns get tested and get vaccinated.

"We've just got to ensure our whanau have the right tools to respond."