As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, October 12

Forty-three new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the community on Tuesday - all of which were in Auckland apart from three in Waikato.

Of the new cases, 19 have yet to be epidemiologically linked to the origina Auckland outbreak.

It comes after Cabinet decided on Monday not to change the Auckland's COVID-19 alert level or ease any restrictions for at least another week.

Waikato and Northland will remain in alert level 3 until 11:59pm on Thursday.

What you need to know:

  • Forty-three new community cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday - all in Auckland apart from three in Waikato.
  • Of the 43 cases, 19 are yet to be epidemiologically linked to the outbreak.
  • Auckland will remain in level 3 and step 1 one of the Government's 'roadmap to recovery' with current restrictions for another week
  • Northland and Waikato will stay in level 3 until at least 11:59pm on Thursday
  • More than 70 patients and staff at Middlemore Hospital are considered contacts after a patient tested positive for COVID-19. They went to Middlemore Hospital's emergency department on Friday for a non-COVID related issue.
  • Three confirmed COVID-19 cases are currently in Corrections custody - two are quarantined at Mt Eden Prison in Auckland and one is in hospital under the supervision of Corrections officers.
  • The person who travelled to Katikati from Auckland has had a second test, which returned a negative result. Their relatives have also tested negative.
  • Pharmac has negotiated an agreement to purchase an initial supply of 60,000 courses of molnupiravir, an antiviral drug that has shown promising results at treating cases of COVID-19.
  • Click here for all the locations of interest.

These live updates have finished.

9pm - A Northland tyre company says a COVID-positive person visited its Kamo premises.

In a Facebook post, Steve Taylor Tyre Service Ltd says it is now closed for a deep cleaning and to test all its personnel.

"Please be advised that one of the Auckland transport trucks, used by Steve Taylor Tyre Service Ltd, has reported an employee testing positive for COVID-19. The employee was on site at our Kamo premises last Saturday, 9th October," the post says.

"Guidance is being sought from the Ministry of Health NZ to determine next steps in relation to reopening and isolation requirements."

8:30pm - Police have responded after Brian Tamaki said earlier today he will "picnic with family" at the same location and day another anti-lockdown protest is due to take place.

A spokesperson says they recognise and respect people's right to protest, but level 3 restrictions mean the only gatherings allowed are weddings, funeral, and tangihanga, with no more than 10 people.

"Police do have the ability to take enforcement action for those found to be breaching the restrictions currently in place," they say.

Tamaki was granted bail on Tuesday morning on the basis he doesn't attend or organise another protest that breaches COVID-19 requirements.

6:35pm - Newshub has discovered a worrying vacuum of information which raises questions about the Government's ability to keep on top of the Delta outbreak.

The Ministry of Health has been unable to say how many COVID-19 test results have been delayed after a member of our Newshub whānau caught the virus but didn't receive his positive result for five days. It's supposed to take 24 hours.

Read and watch the full story from Newshub's political editor Tova O'Brien here.

6:05pm - There are three new locations of interest. They are:

  • Pak'nSave Henderson, October 2 from 2:30pm to 4:15pm
  • Seasons Market Mount Wellington, October 8 from 10:45am to 11:40am
  • Mount Roskill Fresh Three Kings, October 8 from 1:45pm to 3:30pm.

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

5:45pm - Auckland's Cornwall Park will provide free car parks to visitors at weekends.

Park director Michael Ayrton said the decision to close Cornwall Park to vehicles in the meantime had been made in the interests of staff and visitor safety, and had been well-received by visitors to the park.

"The Government's decision to allow up to 10 people from two households to meet up outside saw a huge increase in visitor numbers over the past weekend, and we expect that to be repeated this coming week," he says.

"That puts extra responsibilities on our staff, who are having to work within the COVID restrictions that are still in place: keeping vehicles out of the park until we return to alert level 2 helps us ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time when they come here."

Ayrton says that with people now allowed to move around Auckland for recreation, rather than being restricted to their local suburb, opening up the Showgrounds for car parking would allow more people to appreciate Cornwall Park during spring.

"Getting out in nature is good for people's mental and physical wellbeing at any time - but especially in our current situation," he says.

Facilities such as drinking fountains and barbecues will remain taped off to encourage people to socially distance.

Free parking for all visitors to Cornwall Park is available from 8am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday at the Auckland Showgrounds, access at gate two.

5:15pm - Here is a Q&A with Professor Michael Plank of Te Pūnaha Matatini and University of Canterbury on the latest COVID trends in New Zealand, courtesy of the Science Media Centre.

What are the main trends so far in New Zealand's outbreak?

It's very clear the outbreak is growing at present. All the key indicators have been trending upwards in the last two weeks, including total cases, unlinked cases, cases infectious in the community and the number of contacts.

On the current trend, the number of new cases is approximately doubling every 12 days. If that continues, we would be seeing around 160 new cases per day by early November. Because we still have a lot of people who aren't yet fully vaccinated, that level of cases would mean a large number of people needing hospital treatment.

What are the trends telling us?

Over time, increasing vaccination rates will help to slow transmission down and hopefully turn the tide on the growth of cases. However, in the meantime there is a danger that too many cases could mean our contact tracing system struggles to keep up with demand, leading to an acceleration in cases.

This means we need to do everything possible to minimise community transmission, particularly in the next few crucial weeks as we get more people double-dosed.

How does NZ's COVID-19 situation compare to Victoria or New South Wales?

Our outbreak is currently growing slightly slower than the one in Victoria, Australia was at a comparable point in time.

However, a slight increase in the transmission rate would put us on a similar trend to the one Victoria was on in mid-August. Eight weeks later, Victoria has over 600 COVID patients in hospital and around 130 in ICU. If this happened here it would take a terrible toll on our healthcare system.

What is known so far about the impact of step 1 of Auckland's roadmap?

It's still too early to say whether the move to step 1 of the Auckland roadmap has contributed to a significant increase in transmission. But even a small increase could spell big trouble. So it's essential people play it safe and stick to the rules: keep it outdoors and wear a mask.

4:45pm - Police say the woman who was found by police at a west Auckland address last night was alone when they found her.

A spokesperson says they're continuing their investigation into this and will follow up with her once she's completed her stay in quarantine.

"No decision around any charges will be made until the investigation has been completed and she has been interviewed," they say.

Although all staff interacting with the woman wore full personal protective equipment, four police officers who dealt with her have been stood down as a precautionary measure following advice from health officials. The staff members aren't required to isolate.

4:15pm - There are three new locations of interest. They are:

  • Village Wine & Spirits Te Atatu, October 8 from 2:45pm to 3pm
  • College Superette Kelston, October 8 from 7pm to 7:05pm
  • Kanji Food Mart Glenfield, October 8 from 8:15pm to 8:20pm.

3:45pm - Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says Aucklanders travelling to or from a vaccination appointment will be able to travel for free on public transport.

"All you have to do is mask up, scan the NZ COVID Tracer QR code and let the driver or transport officer know you're travelling to or from a vaccination, and you'll be able to travel for free," he says.

"It's about removing as many barriers as possible to help everyone get vaccinated as we continue to strive to increase our vaccination numbers."

Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison says people can travel for free on AT Metro buses and trains for both their first and second doses.

"AT is backing the government campaign to get as many of us vaccinated as possible. It's important we all do our bit, we want to make it easy for Aucklanders to get the jab," he says.

"All you have to do is tell the driver, gate-line staff or transport officer that you are travelling to get a vaccination."

3:26pm - The Government's deficit dropping to $4.6 billion is due to it receiving $98 billion in tax over the past year - $12.9 billion higher than in 2020, end of year audited Crown accounts show.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson acknowledged there will be further impacts on the economy given Auckland has now been under a COVID-19 lockdown for eight weeks. 

"However, the level of debt remains lower than expected and far lower than most of our international counterparts. The average for advanced economies is above 90 percent net debt," he said.

"In addition, the cost of servicing that debt also remains very low by historical standards."

3:19pm - Below is an Auckland COVID-19 compliance and border checkpoint update from the police:

Since alert level 3 came into place, 19 people have been charged with a total of 20 offences in Tāmaki Makaurau, Northland and parts of Waikato, as at 5pm yesterday.

Of these, 15 were for failing to comply with order (COVID-19), two were for failure to comply with direction/prohibition/restriction, one was a Health Act breach and two were for assaults/threatens/hinders/obstructs enforcement officer.

In the same time period, 25 people were formally warned.

Police have received a total of 3,480 105-online breach notifications relating to businesses, mass gatherings or people in Tāmaki Makaurau, Northland, and parts of the Waikato.

Checkpoint figures

As of 11.59pm yesterday October 11, a total of 602,968 vehicles have now been stopped at the checkpoints on Auckland's northern and southern boundaries, with a total of 8320 vehicles having been turned around.

A total of 50 out of 4699 vehicles were turned away at the northern checkpoints yesterday, while 146 vehicles out of 17,761 were turned around at the southern checkpoints. As at 11.59pm last night, 31,453 heavy vehicles have been stopped and 1107 of them have been turned around attempting to leave Tāmaki Makaurau, with 96 of those turned around yesterday.

It's important to remember that travel across an alert level boundary remains restricted and you will be turned-away if you don't have the required evidence for permitted travel, as outlined on the COVID-19 website

3:15pm - A pharmacy and supermarkets in Auckland are among multiple new COVID-19 locations of interest added by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday afternoon.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, October 12
As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, October 12
Photo credit: Ministry of Health

3:03pm - National Party leader Judith Collins is urging Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to release a plan to move Auckland on from its COVID-19 lockdown.

"It is clear the eight-week Auckland lockdown is no longer about elimination," Collins said. "So, what is it about, Prime Minister?

"Businesses, school kids and families across Auckland need to be given some idea on how long the lockdown will last. Is the lockdown now just buying time while we catch up on our slow vaccination rollout? 

"If so, what are the conditions for exit? People being asked to give up so much need to know when the restrictions will end."

2:50pm - It's been confirmed a police investigation is underway after reports a person travelled from Auckland to Wellington for a tangi on Monday. This below from a police spokesperson:

Police have received information which suggests that a person may have travelled to Wellington from Auckland for a tangi in Porirua yesterday, without the necessary travel documentation.

Enquiries are underway to establish the veracity of this information and at this stage there is no further detail to share.

2:45pm - Expectant couples trying to reunite before their baby arrives are getting caught up in the managed isolation booking bottleneck.

Some emergency applications to skip the queue for the border hotels are being rejected - even when they meet the criteria.

Katie Todd of RNZ reports.

2:29pm - Auckland's move from alert level 4 to level 3 has pushed the Delta outbreak's R number above one, meaning it's now probably spreading exponentially, an expert has said.

And University of Canterbury disease modeller Michael Plank is warning a strict two-week level 4 lockdown might soon be needed to "prevent the outbreak from spiralling out of control".

Read more here.

2:15pm - Destiny Church's Brian Tamaki will picnic at the Auckland Domain on the same day another anti-lockdown protest will be taking place there.

Tamaki, who was granted bail on Tuesday morning on the basis he doesn't attend or organise another protest that breaches COVID-19 requirements, has released a statement saying he will be attending a "picnic with my family" at the Auckland Domain on Saturday.

Read more here.

2:10pm - The Government's deficit has dropped to $4.6 billion, $10.6 billion better than forecast in Budget 2021, which is attributed to growth in the economy during widespread COVID-19 alert level 1. Digital politcal reporter Zane Small reports.

2:05pm - There are 34 people in hospital with COVID-19, five of whom are in intensive care, Ministry of Health data shows.

2pm - To recap what we heard during the COVID-19 press conference:

There are 43 new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Tuesday - 40 in Auckland and three in Waikato.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told reporters officials were working to determine the source of more than a dozen mystery cases.

"Of today's 43 cases, 19 remain unlinked at this point but I should say that interviews are outstanding," Dr Bloomfield said on Tuesday.

1:40pm - Dr Bloomfield adds cases are still "relatively low" compared to infection numbers in Australia at a similar stage of their Delta outbreak.

1:32pm - PM Ardern says the 'R' value in the COVID-19 outbreak sits between 1.2 and 1.3, the latest modelling shows, suggesting there will be a further rise in cases.

"An R value of between 1.2 and 1.3 suggests, over a two week period, you may see a doubling in cases but it very much depends.

"We do need everyone's help to continue to comply with those restrictions but, also, we are seeing the impact of vaccinations - they are already affecting the growth in the outbreak and helping to control it."

1:26pm - Jacinda Ardern says the Government isn't looking at changing any legislation around COVID-19 vaccine mandates "at this stage".

Dr Bloomfield adds "the expectation is that people will be vaccinated".

1:22pm - Dr Bloomfield is unable to say whether the two women who travelled to Northland and later tested positive for COVID-19 were vaccinated.

He says the second woman, who was on the run until Monday night, is cooperating and sharing information. More COVID-19 locations of interest are expected to be revealed later.

1:15pm - There were 16,565 COVID-19 tests processed in the previous 24 hours, the new Ministry of Health data shows.

1:09pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed a 'Vaxathon' will be televised this weekend and filmed live throughout New Zealand, for the country's Super Saturday COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

It will run similarly to New Zealand's iconic 'telethon' - a 24 hour TV party which raised millions of dollars for good causes from the 1970s-90s.

The broadcast, live on Three and Māori TV from 12pm until 6pm, will feature Newshub presenters including Mike McRoberts, Melissa Chan-Green, Patrick Gower and Oriini Kaipara, The Project's Jesse Mulligan, Kanoa Lloyd, Laura Tupou and Tony Lyall and other well known New Zealanders and health professionals live from COVID-19 vaccination sites across the country - to help boost vaccine uptake.

It will also have a live progress data board, showing how each region's vaccination rates are tracking.

Read more here.

1:08pm - The latest COVID-19 data from the Ministry of Health is below:

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, October 12
As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, October 12
Photo credit: Ministry of Health

1:06pm - Dr Bloomfield says a Fijian UN worker who spent 76 days in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital with COVID-19 has been discharged.

1:03pm - There are 43 new cases of COVID-19, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says.

Forty of those cases are in Auckland and three in Waikato.

Nineteen of Tuesday's 43 new infections have yet to be linked to the original Auckland outbreak.

12:57pm - We are standing by for Tuesday's 1pm COVID-19 press conference. Watch it live on Three and in the video above.

12:45pm - Have you ever watched the 1pm COVID-19 press conference and thought you'd do it all differently?

Well, now is your chance to see what would happen if you were in power.

A science teacher in Tāmaki Makaurau, Peter Wills, has made an online text adventure game based off COVID-19 modelling research by Te Pūnaha Matatini.

Ellie Jay of RNZ reports.

12:35pm - A central Auckland apartment building has been added to the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 locations of interest list.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, October 12
Photo credit: Ministry of Health

12:30pm - We're about 30 minutes away from Tuesday's COVID-19 press conference, being fronted by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield. You'll be able to watch that live on Three and in the video above.

12pm - Across the Tasman, Australia's Victoria has recorded eight COVID-19 deaths and more than 1400 new infections.

11:53am - A petition to put a temporary border between the North and South Islands has attracted 1100 signatures since it was created on Monday night.

It was started by Christchurch City councillor and businessman Phil Mauger.

"I hope this petition attracts thousands of signatures, giving the Government confidence to create this temporary border," Mauger said.

"Scientific and medical experts are calling for tougher border restrictions for the South Island and we must listen to what they have to say.

"We know some people won't want to support this due to the inconvenience it could cause. But we need to delay unnecessary travel between the islands - this will help to keep the South Island COVID free while we focus on vaccinations."

11:45am - Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki has pleaded not guilty to organising and attending a large anti-lockdown protest in Auckland. Read the full details from the Auckland District Court here.

11:27am - The travelling companion of a COVID-infected woman who illegally enetered Northland last week, who was located by police in west Auckland on Monday night, has also tested positive for the virus, the Ministry of Health says.

A spokeswoman says the woman is being interviewed and any new COVID-19 locations of interest will be posted on the Ministry of Health's website as they become available.

"We can also report that 18 contacts have been identified as associated with the first Northland case. Contact tracers have made contact with 17 of these individuals, one of whom is the travelling companion and four who are household contacts," the ministry said in a statement.

"All 17 of these individuals have been tested. The remaining contact is being actively followed up by contact tracers and will be advised to get a test.

"Of the 18 contacts identified, nine are in Northland, seven are in Auckland, one is in Wellington and one is still to be determined. We previously reported 19 contacts, however one of these was a double entry which has now been rectified."

Northland's District Health Board has ramped up COVID-19 testing, the ministry said. Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay said anyone with symptoms should get tested to help limit any potential spread.

"The DHBs are also encouraging vaccination at general practice, pharmacy, Māori health providers and DHB clinics," said the ministry statement.

11:07am - Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield is confident the hospital system is prepared should there be another spike in COVID-19 cases.

Dr Bloomfield told The AM Show the medical sector isn't at any immediate threat of being overwhelmed.

"There is plenty of ICU capacity across Auckland," he said. "The key thing is we don't want to have many people in hospital because that then prevents them from providing all the other care that people need if our beds are full with people with COVID."

11am - Health staff are being told if they truly care about their patients, they won't think twice about the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Royal College of GPs president Samantha Murton says choosing to be unvaccinated puts everyone at risk.

"Patients want to know that they're going into an environment that's safe," Dr Murton told Newshub.

10:51am - The Government has mandated COVID-19 vaccination for high-risk workers in health and disability and in education - two sectors that now join managed isolation and border workers. 

It raises a lot of questions about who it applies to, what date these workforces need to be vaccinated by and what happens to those who refuse.

Here are 10 questions and answers to provide some clarity.

10:41am - Australia's Sydney on Monday emerged from nearly four months in lockdown, as the country aims to begin living with COVID-19 and gradually reopen with high vaccination rates.

The Australian Science Media Centre asked experts about the possible risks of doing so.

"When we open up we run the risk of numbers going too high. Thus it is important to keep a close eye on the numbers in about 10 days to three weeks, looking for signs of an increase," said Tony Blakely, a Melbourne-based Kiwi epidemiologist.

"I have concerns that some local businesses may not be equipped or supported to check vaccine status. Issues came up internationally when vaccine passports were rolled out including situations of verbal and physical abuse towards staff members who asked to see vaccine evidence," said Holly Seale, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales' school of population health.

"Certainly, individuals who were fully vaccinated more than three months ago are likely to be a source of increased viral transmission as NSW comes out of lockdown. Viral transmission will therefore need to be closely monitored in the vaccinated population," said Roger Lord, a senior lecturer in medical sciences at the Australian Catholic University.

10:35am - The Mayor of Whangārei says residents are breathing a "sigh of relief" after the woman who travelled through Northland with a positive COVID-19 case was found by police, and is urging them to cooperate with authorities.

Read more here.

10:25am - The NZ Herald is reporting the second woman who illegally travelled to Northland last week, who officials had been trying to contact and locate for days, won't be interviewed by the police until completed her quarantine stay.

Police confirmed on Monday night the woman was found at a west Auckland address and taken into custody under Section 70 of the Health Act. She illegally travelled into Northland last week with another woman who later tested positive COVID-19, forcing the region into a snap alert level 3 lockdown.

10:22am - Three new COVID-19 locations of interest have been added by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday morning, including a Z service station in Auckland's East Tamaki.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, October 12
Photo credit: Ministry of Health

10:16am - The South Island district of Marlborough currently has the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in New Zealand, with 62.2 percent of Blenheim fully immunised.

Marlborough Deputy Mayor Nadine Taylor says the district's grassoots approach is paying off.

"It didn't matter whether your town was one closer to Blenheim or if it was a real little satellite out in the Marlborough Sounds, they had a network or a system to ensure that they could get the vaccinations to you." 

10:07am - A disease modeller is warning Auckland faces a balancing act between more freedoms and more COVID-19 infections.

Michael Plank, from the University of Canterbury, says it's important people follow the alert level 3 rules to keep the virus reproduction (R) value down.

"If that 'R' number increases just a little bit more... then cases can start increasing very rapidly," Prof Plank told Newshub.

10am - Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says without more jabs in arms in Auckland, people will get sick.

"Just stick within those alert level 3 rules, and if you haven't been vaccinated, go out and get vaccinated," he told The AM Show.

9:51am - The Royal College of GPs believes the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for frontline healthcare workers had to be introduced.

"As health professionals we need to ensure the safety of our patients, communities and colleagues," said college president Samantha Murton.

"Given the speed at which Delta is spreading throughout our country, this is a bold but necessary call to make," Dr Murton said.

9:37am - Whangārei District Mayor Sheryl Mai fears health authorities are flying blind without the movement details of a potential COVID-19 case.

Police confirmed on Monday night the woman - who officials had been trying to contact and locate for days - was found at a west Auckland address and taken into custody under Section 70 of the Health Act. She illegally travelled into Northland last week with another woman who later tested positive COVID-19, forcing the region into a snap alert level 3 lockdown.

Mai told Newshub New Zealanders shouldn't accept such poor behaviour.

"These people have put all of us at risk and it seems really unfair that we're all having the impact of having to be working from home or not working at all... it's a huge impact on us."

9:27am - Auckland's Business Chamber believes the Government has neglected businesses battling for survivial amid the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.

"Yesterday was the second week in a row where there was nothing for business and there was no mention of business," chamber chief executive Michael Barnett told Newstalk ZB on Tuesday.

9:19am - Experts are relived COVID-19 vaccinations have been mandated for frontline health and education staff.

"The measures announced yesterday do seem to reaffirm the Government's commitment to controlling COVID-19 while strengthening the vaccine rollout, and that clarification is very welcome," said Amanda Kvalsvig, an epidemiologist at the University of Otago's department of public health in Wellington.

"As we continue to navigate mitigation of COVID-19, it will be important not to forget about our children who are likely suffering the most at this time. Keeping our unvaccinated kids safe is paramount, since they are susceptible to the potential long-term impacts of becoming infected with COVID," said Northland physician Nitasha Rimar.

"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," said Dianne Sika-Paotonu, an immunologist and the head of Wellington's University of Otago Pacific office.

"Infection patterns indicate that children and young people are more susceptible to the Delta variant of the COVID virus when compared with the original strain.

"Although more likely to have mild or asymptomatic disease, children can still catch the 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," Dr Sika-Paotonu said.

9:10am - The first 150 people who got vaccinated against COVID-19 at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga in Hastings on Friday were offered a free hangi.

"This is such a positive initiative that supports Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated reaching its vaccination targets," said Hawke's Bay police supported resolutions coordinator Sgt James Waapu.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, October 12
Photo credit: New Zealand Police/Supplied

9am - The National Party's deputy leader Shane Reti has set his political career to one side and is back on the tools, going door-to-door vaccinating Māori against COVID-19 in Northland.

Across Northland, 70 percent have had their first jab and roughly 50 percent are fully vaccinated. But for Māori - Northland's most vulnerable - only 50 percent have had their first dose and just 30 percent are fully jabbed.

Dr Reti says the 20 percent gap between the two fully vaccinated groups needs to be filled up because the most at-risk across New Zealand is Māori under 40 years old.

The Hui's Mihingarangi Forbes reports.

8:50am - The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has been unable to shed any more light on the movements of the woman who travelled to Northland with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.

"Look, the only information I have was what was in the police statement last night," he said.

"Our team in Auckland will be trying to make contact with and talk with her this morning just to see what additional information we can get about the movements when they were in Northland."

The only locations Dr Bloomfield was aware the women had visited were the ones already listed on the Ministry of Health's website identified mostly through CCTV footage.

"There are several locations of interest in Northland that have already been on the Ministry website for a few days but they are just a couple of accommodation facilities, and I think a petrol station or two," he said. 

"What we really want to do is find out the people that they have been in contact with so we can follow up and test those people, that's the information we really want to get."

Read the full story here.

8:30am - New Zealand's Privacy Foundation has welcomed the news that vaccination certificates will be introduced from November.

However, chair Gehan Gunasekara is urging the Government to undertake a comprehensive impact assessment, that includes a privacy assessment, before their roll‑out.

He said it is "essential" to maintain public confidence and mitigate potential harms.

"It is extremely disappointing that this timeframe has not allowed for wide consultation across all sectors of society prior to their use," he said. 

"It is vital the social and human rights impacts are considered and mitigated. For example, biometrics are not used for identification; groups not eligible for publicly funded health care – including temporary migrants and residents, and international students - are covered; the certificates are not being linked to immigration status; they are not linked to contact tracing data; and they are kept safe from fraudulent and harmful access and misuse."

8:15am - Paul Stevens, Auckland regional chair PPTA, was asked on The AM Show about workforce numbers if teachers decide they don't want to get the COVID-19 vaccine, as part of the Government's mandate.

He said it's not an immediate concern as there is a big cohort of new trainee teachers entering the workforce.

Stevens said there has been lots of discussion about the mandate.

"What we came to is that we shouldn't necessarily be protecting someone's job if they're not willing to play the role that they need to be playing to ensure that all of their fellow colleagues and all of their students are safe," he said. 

"There are a number of students in our system who are under 12 who aren't able to get the vaccine; there are other staff who might be immunocompromised and aren't able to get the vaccine. Those of us who can get the vaccine, we need to make sure we get the jab to protect everyone."

Paul Stevens.
Paul Stevens. Photo credit: The Project

8am - Perry Rush, the president of the NZ Principals' Federation, says the vaccination mandate was "a common-sense decision".

"We have to accept that teachers and students are in close contact with each other for six hours every day, and that situation warrants some pretty stringent expectations around safety," he told Newshub. 

"I think it isn't a surprise the Government has mandated vaccinations - the devil really is in the detail though, and a lot of that detail is yet to come."

When asked about getting the families of students vaccinated, Rush said they are just focusing on the workforce.

"We accept that we can really only mandate the workforce, and the Government's responsibility is to that workforce, so that's the decision that they've taken. There's obviously strong expectations... for the public and young people 12 and above to be vaccinated." 

7:34am - Dr Bloomfield confirmed to The AM Show the second Northland woman has been tested for COVID-19 and health authorities will be looking towards the result of the woman's COVID-19 test this morning.

He said an update will be provided on the case at the 1pm COVID-19 update.

While the woman hasn't been cooperative, Dr Bloomfield said one positive thing is that the she was found in Auckland.

"One good thing is she was in the Auckland region and not the Northland region."

Now health authorities are trying to determine the woman's movements and anyone she was in contact with.

"What we really want to do is find the people they have been in contact with so we can get them tested," he said.

"I think the people who had contact with them in Northland know who they are and they should go and get tested."

Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo credit: Getty Images, The AM Show

7:27am - Dr Bloomfield said the woman has now been taken to a managed isolation facility after being identified as symptomatic, according to RNZ.

However she has been uncooperative with officials regarding locations of interest.

But Dr Bloomfield said her bank transaction history and phone calls will help work out what she was doing during her time in Northland.

7:23am - Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed to The AM Show the second Northland woman, who was found in west Auckland on Monday night, was symptomatic when she was found by police.

7:20am - Auckland Regional Chair PPTA Paul Stevens says the union supports the mandate but they are still waiting on more guidance from the Government around the details.

But while 80 percent of members were for the mandate, the union found 20 percent of members didn't want mandatory vaccinations and Stevens said they want to make sure those people see a "fair and just process" in managing this.

"This is a really tough tough decision and we took this to our members and made sure that we had this discussion widely and we know that this is tough and a compromise. While we do think there needs to be a compromise around choice, this is really about the health and safety of our students… we think it's important to make a firm statement on this - the vaccine is effective and we should all be getting the vaccine if we are eligible to."

7am - Independent economist Cameron Bagrie says as New Zealand moves down the alert levels, there is an increase in pent up demand but he doesn't think it will be happening any time soon.

"That behaviour will shift and spending in an environment where the virus is going to remain in the community."

He said he is particularly concerned about the coming months as the December quarter is "critically important" and offers firms cash flow which provides a cash buffer ahead of softer quarters.

"The further this lockdown extends … the less you are going to see the potential for that uptick in sales and the more firms cash buffers are going to start to bleed and then we are going to see some fundamental economic problems in the first quarter of next year because they are not going to have those cash buffers to be able to work through those softer months."

Cameron Bagrie.
Cameron Bagrie. Photo credit: The AM Show

6:45am - Despite being a remote and isolated settlement at the top of the East Coast, the people of Wharekahika were not spared from the influenza epidemic of 1918 that ravaged the country.

Whanau in Te Tairāwhiti are haunted by the similarities that outbreak has with the COVID pandemic and are looking to the past to inform their response to this modern health crisis. 

"We saw that what happened was that the Government spent so much time talking and debating and considering issues. It wasn't mobilising fast enough to protect those who were most vulnerable, and we paid the price for that," Ngāti Porou's Tina Ngata told The Hui.

"I think there's definitely some similarities from that situation to this, especially in the context of the Delta variant and the protection of our children here."

Read the full story here.

6:30am - Professor Claire Breen, from the University of Waikato's Faculty of Law, has provided some insight into the mandatory COVID vaccination for some workers.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Monday that vaccinations will be made mandatory for high-risk health workers and school and ECE staff.

He said this was "critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19".

Breen told The AM Show on Tuesday everyone has the right to refuse medical treatment but, "like most rights", the right can be limited.

"If a restriction or limitation is introduced, we have to look at the reason for that," she said.

She said it can be justified if it's "reasonable and necessary in a democratic society".  

Prof Claire Breen.
Prof Claire Breen. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

6:15am - School principals are confident their staff will comply with the Government's order to get vaccinated before January 1.

Auckland teacher and Post Primary Teachers Association regional chair Michael Cabral-Tarry said most of its members supported the rule and the Government's order was likely to persuade the hesitant.

"Where vaccine mandates have been introduced, rates of compliance are always very, very high because in a lot of cases people have just been waiting for that final push, that final thing to convince them to get vaccinated and a mandate for a lof of people will be exactly the push they need," he said.

Otorohanga College principal Traci Liddall said there would be some push back but most teachers were happy to get the Pfizer shots.

"There will be a little bit of resistance. There's a freedom for teachers or something page on Facebook that I was looking at before that has a few members and people who are saying they are going to stand tough but I think by and large most school staff will be on board.

"I know that most of my staff are already at least single vaccinated and many are already double vaccinated," she said.

School classroom with blackboard
Photo credit: Getty Images

6am - The AM Show is about to kick off.

On the show this morning, Law professor Claire Breen is in at 6:15am to talk about the legalities around mandatory vaccination.

At 6:20am, independent economist Cameron Bagrie is set to explain the impacts of the ongoing lockdown on businesses.

Then Auckland Regional Chair PPTA Paul Stevens is on at 7:10am to discuss the Government's vaccination mandate for teachers.

At 7:20am, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield will provide an update on the latest COVID-19 developments and answer questions about mandatory vaccinations and vaccine passports.

Later on the show, at 8:10am Ōtorohanga's Mayor Max Baxter and Marlborough's Deputy Mayor Nadine Taylor will talk about vaccination rates in the regions.

And at 8:20, The AM Show reporter Aziz Al Sa'afin will provide an update on vaccination rates.

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

5:45am - Police confirmed on Monday night they have caught the woman who travelled through Northland with a COVID-infected case.

While police had identified the second woman, she had been on the run.

Police said she was found at a west Auckland property on Monday evening.

"The woman has been taken into custody under section 70 of the Health Act and will be transported to an MIQ facility," a spokesperson said.

"Police are continuing to investigate this matter and will be following up with this individual."