Coronavirus updates: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 4

Auckland will remain in alert level 3 lockdown, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Monday, but a roadmap to ease the Super City's COVID-19 restrictions has been unveiled by the Government.

From 11:59pm Tuesday, several key changes will be made to the lockdown in Auckland under Step 1 of the Government's plan.

People will be able to connect with loved ones outdoors up to a maximum of 10 people, early childhood education will reopen for all, and people can move around Auckland for recreation including beach visits and hunting.

Every week Cabinet will review whether to move the city to Step 2 or Step 3 - each of which allows greater freedoms.

Ardern says the phasing amounts to a "careful and methodical transition plan" for Auckland.

"At the end of these steps, we will then move to a national framework that reflects a more highly vaccinated population."

This comes after 29 new community cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday, eight of which have yet to be epidemiologically linked to the outbreak.

What you need to know: 

  • Auckland remains at alert level 3, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Monday afternoon, but the city will move into Step 1 of a roadmap of phasing out restrictions.
  • From Tuesday, Aucklanders will be able to connect with people outside their bubble outdoors, early childhood education will return as normal and people can move around the city for recreation
  • There were 29 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Monday - eight of the new cases have yet to be linked to the original Auckland outbreak
  • Two new cases of COVID-19 were detected in Waikato on Sunday - one in Raglan and one in Hamilton East. Three more infections were detected overnight after household contacts of the Raglan case also tested positive 
  • Parts of Waikato - including Raglan and Hamilton city - moved to alert level 3 overnight for at least five days
  • An Auckland Blue Bubble taxi driver has tested positive for COVID-19 and was believed to be infectious while working
  • Testing stations are available in Raglan, Hamilton and Palmerston North and people with symptoms are urged to come forward to be tested for COVID-19
  • A newborn baby in North Shore Hospital has tested positive for COVID-19
  • Non-citizens entering New Zealand from November must be fully vaccinated, the Government announced on Sunday. From early next year, Air New Zealand will also only allow fully vaccinated people on international routes
  • Click here for all locations of interest.

These live updates have now finished.

9:15pm - Early childhood centres are set to reopen on Wednesday but managers are warning they'll be the next frontline for outbreaks.

Some are pushing for a vaccine mandate for teachers and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it is something the Government is considering.

Read the full story here.

8:50pm - Thousands of people have turned out for COVID-19 testing in Waikato after a mechanic from Raglan was confirmed as positive.

That person's three household contacts are also now positive and have been moved to managed isolation. Another known contact of this person from Hamilton remains in Waikato Hospital.

Read the full story here.

8:30pm - The Early Childhood Council is calling for clarity on plans to allow more children to attend early learning centres in Auckland at level 3.  

"Providers are happy to play their part in re-opening - but we're on the front line," acting ECC CEO Sue Kurtovich says.

"To reassure parents and teachers, we want clear, timely advice from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, unlike previous level changes." 

She says there isn't much time left before centres open on Wednesday and providers urgently need clear guidance on how they can manage health risks and prepare their staff and parents.

The ECC is asking for clear guidance on managing parent demand and ten-children bubbles, and mask wearing and teacher COVID-19 test requirements.  

"We want to put parents' minds at rest," says Kurtovich.  

8:10pm - At least 35 babies in intensive care and hundreds of parents and staff are undergoing urgent COVID-19 testing following an exposure event at Auckland City Hospital's neonatal unit.

On Sunday night, the Ministry of Health said the mother of a baby in the hospital's NICU caught the virus.

Visits to the unit have now been temporarily restricted while hundreds of tests are carried out on babies, parents and staff to ensure they're safe.

Read the full story here.

7:40pm - Air New Zealand has added 25 'red' flights from Australia to New Zealand to their schedule in January.

The flights will be available to book from Tuesday 5 October when the Government releases MIQ rooms at 12pm. 

Air NZ is asking customers to check its flight schedule before selecting their MIQ date to ensure they select a date that has an applicable departing "red" flight. Customers will have 48 hours to book their flights following securing an MIQ room.

7:25pm - The elimination strategy is dead - RIP you've served us well, writes Newshub's political editor Tova O'Brien.

"Monday marked a major milestone for New Zealand - the start of our transition to fighting to control the virus using vaccines and other public health measures rather than lockdowns.  In theory, alert level 4 is no more."

Read the full story here.

7:05pm - The Green Party says the Government's planned roadmap for Auckland "risks the safety" of New Zealand's vulnerable communities and children.

"Elimination has protected thousands of lives in Aotearoa. We have to stay the course to keep everyone safe. Now is not the right time to change our approach, particularly when so many of our vulnerable communities are still at risk," co-leader Marama Davidson says.

"We need a clear coordinated approach which prioritises our most vulnerable right now. We have seen the tragic consequences overseas when restrictions are eased too early.

"The current Delta outbreak in Tāmaki Makaurau is showing a long tail of cases – but elimination is still possible if we work together to stop the spread. Our public health system has held up so far, but we worry that easing restrictions too early could overwhelm the hard-working nurses and doctors who we rely on to keep us safe."

Davidson says the Government's COVID roadmap has "serious risks" for vulnerable communities including Māori and Pasifika, and Kiwis with underlying health conditions. 

"The Government must focus all its resources on these vulnerable communities to ensure high vaccination rates," she says.

"Local hapū and community groups have been doing a fantastic job of encouraging their whānau to get tested and vaccinated. The Government must direct as much resource as possible to these groups to empower them to continue the important mahi of protecting our whānau.

"We must continue on our elimination path until vaccines are approved for and rolled out to under-12s, and high coverage is achieved for all age groups, geographic areas, and population groups. This includes ensuring that Māori vaccine rates are high enough to protect whānau Māori.

"A coordinated, fair and equitable vaccine rollout is critical to ensure we are able to safely get back to the things we love doing.

"When people feel properly supported, they are able to stay at home and play their part in helping us eliminate COVID from our communities. The best way to keep people safe is to stick to elimination and make sure everyone has access to what they need to stay well, including affordable housing, food security, income for essential needs, and healthcare.

"The Government also needs to provide clear guidelines on what the roadmap means for immunocompromised communities so they are not forced into risking their health."

6:50pm - The Government has announced a three-stage roadmap that gradually eases COVID-19 restrictions in Auckland.

From 11:59pm on Tuesday, Auckland will remain in alert level 3 but people will be able to meet with those not in their bubble outdoors, with no more than two households and ten people mingling at a time.

Do you support the Government's new plan for Auckland? Have your say in Newshub's straw poll.

Cast your vote in the poll here.

6:40pm - The Restaurant Association says the Government's announcement of the removal of gathering numbers around New Zealand is welcome, however, Auckland is hurting.

"Auckland is hurting. Hospitality is hurting," a spokesperson for the association said.

"The Auckland hospitality industry has time and again been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and it is time that our Government recognised this by providing financial relief that is specific and targeted to our sector.

"Two weeks ago, we laid out an eight point plan as part of our Future of Hospitality Roadmap to help our sector to reopen and recover but we remain wanting.

"Whilst business owners are in the main supportive of the elimination strategy they do not support the blind eye that has been turned to their financial plight.

"Wage subsidy and resurgence support payments are not enough – our businesses are on the brink and something more must be done.

"Hospitality businesses continue to experience a disproportionate material impact on revenue as a direct result from the alert level guidelines."

6:30pm - Three new locations of interest have been added by the Ministry of Health.

They are:

  • Zest apartments (multiple visits)
  • Paknsave Lincoln Road Henderson
  • Countdown Manukau
Coronavirus updates: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 4
Coronavirus updates: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 4

6:15pm - Joint head of MIQ Brigadier Rose King has issued a statement on the absconding incident.

"MIQ can confirm that a community case staying at the Jet Park Auckland Airport quarantine facility allegedly absconded at approximately 3:10pm this afternoon," she says.

"The person was located by Police and taken into custody at approximately 3:45pm.

"The individual is a COVID-19 positive community case who has been in MIQ since Saturday 2 October.

"The fact that someone has absconded from one of our facilities is a disappointing and unacceptable breach. We are investigating how this happened."

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

5:50pm - The Ministry of Health is urging Aucklanders to follow the alert level 3 rules after a security staffer was seen shaking hands and talking to someone who wasn't wearing a mask at a North Shore COVID-19 testing centre.

Auckland Councillor Richard Hills posted a photo to Twitter showing a security guard in a hi-vis vest speaking to someone in close proximity who isn't wearing a mask.

"It's unsettling to see security staff for College Road testing station shaking hands and talking to someone without a mask for 15 min with no social distancing," he wrote in a tweet.

Hills also says the maskless person arrived in a Vision NZ-branded car, which is a political party led by Hannah Tamaki.

Read the full story here.

5:45pm - Professor Michael Plank, from Te Pūnaha Matatini and University of Canterbury, commented that New Zealand is entering a new phase of the pandemic where community transmission of COVID-19 and ongoing measures to limit it are part of "the new normal". 

"Vaccines will blunt the effects of the virus, but we have a long way to go to get the high vaccine coverage we need," he says.

"Accepting that elimination isn't possible doesn't mean waving the white flag and letting it rip. Left to its own devices, the virus would spread like wildfire through our unvaccinated and partially vaccinated population, and risk overwhelming our healthcare system. So until the number of people fully vaccinated is much higher, we have no alternative other than to suppress transmission as much as possible. The Government will need to pilot a very tricky route that avoids overflowing hospitals."

He says the Government's roadmap for relaxing restrictions is a "reasonable approach" but says it is "crucial" it remains adaptable and responsive to changes in the number of cases and the healthcare demand they will generate. 

"It may yet be necessary to adjust or tighten restrictions to prevent cases spiralling out of control. The Australian state of Victoria has gone from around 20 cases per day to 1500 in just 6 weeks, and there are currently 96 COVID patients in ICU. This could happen here and it would put immense pressure on our hospitals.

"The Auckland boundary will remain in place for now. But if, as is likely, case numbers continue to grow, it will become progressively harder to keep the outbreak contained to Auckland. The rest of New Zealand should prepare for the inevitability of community transmission. Regions that experience outbreaks may need to be put under restrictions like those in Auckland.

"While our vaccine rollout is still in progress, we remain extremely vulnerable to out-of-control outbreaks. The Government needs to pull out every stop to maximise vaccine uptake, particularly in Māori and Pasifika populations and other groups where coverage is low."

5:37pm - Police have provided a statement with more information regarding the person who absconded from an MIQ facility on Monday:

"Shortly before 3.15pm, police were notified by MIQ that a man was absconding from the Jet Park managed quarantine facility. 

"The man was subsequently located and arrested by police a short distance away outside an address on Kohindoor Avenue in Māngere at about 3.45pm.

"The man is currently in police custody and is expected to appear in court tomorrow in relation to this matter.

"The staff involved took all necessary precautions with PPE."

5:35pm - Auckland University Professor Shaun Hendy,  from the Dept of Physics and Te Pūnaha Matatini, says the relaxing of restrictions will see more spread and more COVID cases in the community over the coming weeks.

"These new freedoms should reduce the risk of superspreading compared to level 2, but still open up considerable opportunities for new spread. The Government will be hoping that any growth in cases that result is slow enough that vaccination can get ahead of the outbreak, before it puts significant strain on our testing and tracing system, not to mention our hospitals."

He said Steps 2 and 3 in the Government's plan "really won't be safe" until New Zealand's vaccination programme is very well advanced. 

"This will probably not be the case until well into November," he says.

"Until then or unless vaccination take-up accelerates, Auckland is unlikely to be able to return to level 2 and there is a greater risk that restrictions will be needed in other parts of the country. The best thing we can do now is get vaccinated or encourage our friends and family to do so. 

"Meeting other families and friends outside is lower risk, but definitely not zero risk, so it will be important that people who choose to do so exercise caution and wear masks. If you are not vaccinated I would suggest avoiding meet ups until you've at least had your first shot and if you are meeting friends or family ask them whether they have had theirs yet. 

"Fully vaccinated people are far less likely to catch the virus if exposed and less likely to pass it on, so meet ups of vaccinated people pose far lower risks. This move really does put the responsibility for preventing spread in the hands of the public, so it is vitally important that everyone does their bit."

5:20pm - Auckland mayor Phil Goff says the Government's changes to the city's alert level restrictions are modest but will be welcomed by many.

"With new cases of COVID-19 infections in the community still at significant levels, most Aucklanders did not expect a major lowering of restrictions this week," he says.

"None of us like being in a lockdown, but most recognise the risks that a major spread of the virus would cause while so many Aucklanders are still not fully vaccinated.

"You only need to look across the Tasman at Melbourne and Sydney to know that if the contagion spreads out of control, thousands would need to be hospitalised, hundreds may die, and the hospital system would struggle to cope. Studies have shown that about 95 percent of people who received both doses of the vaccine were protected against getting seriously ill.

"What is really clear is that the fastest path out of lockdown is to get Aucklanders vaccinated. The priority has to be to encourage the more than 200,000 Aucklanders who have not yet got their first dose to do so. Removing restrictions depends on making inroads into those numbers.

"It's about understanding that the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community and getting our lives back is to get vaccinated."

Auckland mayor Phil Goff.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff. Photo credit: RNZ

5pm - National leader Judith Collins says the Government's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has been "incoherent and timid" and says the Government "lacks the courage required to make tough decisions for the benefit of New Zealand". 

"Today's announcement confirms what most New Zealanders – especially Aucklanders – have come to learn only too well over the past seven weeks of lockdown: The Government is completely out of ideas," she says.

"Elimination has failed but, while the Prime Minister says we've now moved to a 'transition' stage, the strategy is fundamentally unchanged.

"The Prime Minister's supposed roadmap to recovery is nothing more than a vague wishlist she tinkers with as dictated by the situation she reacts to. Where is the vision?

"The fact is that Jacinda Ardern has no answers to problems that she and her Government promised us were under control. The situation is now, very clearly, out of control and worsening every day."

She says the Government's strategy has left New Zealand in a "lockdown limbo" and there's no way out in sight.

"Enough is enough. Time has run out. The PM must admit she and her Government have failed. Own up to your mistakes. Change direction. Be bold. There are choices."

National leader Judith Collins.
National leader Judith Collins. Photo credit: Newshub

4:43pm - Dr Bloomfield says keeping cases as low as possible is "absolutely material" for the transition through the steps laid out in the roadmap.

Coronavirus updates: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 4
Photo credit: Supplied

4:38pm - Ardern is asking people in the Raglan area to get tested for COVID-19.

She says surveillance testing is underway, but it is too soon to make assumptions about widespread community transmission there.

4:36pm - The Prime Minister says someone has absconded from MIQ on Monday.

"I can update you that they have been apprehended."

4:35pm - Ardern says we haven't given up on completely eliminating COVID-19 in New Zealand.

She says New Zealand is still stamping out cases, no one is suggesting we stop that. 

But Ardern says the Government has acknowledged we haven't reached zero cases this time but the fact we haven't reached zero is not as critical this time because of vaccines.

4:32pm - Ardern says she wants to make it very clear Auckland is still at level 3 and is "still in a constrained environment".

4:28pm - When asked what the threshold is for Auckland to move to level 2, Ardern says it will be a combination of what's happening with the outbreak and how vaccinations are having an effect.

She says the Government wants to get a sense of how the steps are working.

4:26pm - Ardern says "vaccines will mean that in the future we can do things differently", but in the meantime the Government will continue to keep stamping out cases when they show up.

She says the elimination strategy has worked well for New Zealand and was the right thing to do but "over time we were always going to go to a place where the vaccine helped us".

However, she says vaccines won't be enough on their own, she says, but it will enable us to not have to use lockdowns.

When asked if the framework means there will be no more alert level 4, Ardern said it's a "transition" and while the Government is not ready to remove the "strong approach" to COVID, the goal is to not need to use them.

4:23pm -  The rest of New Zealand will remain in alert level 2. The Prime Minister pointed to the COVID-19 cases in Waikato as a reason why.

She says she understands the South Island hasn't had a case in a long time but she doesn't want to risk an outbreak there.

4:20pm - The Government is expected to provide more information on the framework around vaccinations, including vaccine certificates, next week.

4:19pm - Ardern has confirmed the wage subsidy will continue under all three phases.

4:18pm - The Prime Minister has urged parents to get their children vaccinated in preparation for schools returning after the school holidays on October 18.

4:18pm - Ardern says the changes are unlikely to increase the number of COVID-19 cases, but they will make "a material difference" to enable Aucklanders to keep following the rules

4:16pm - No decision has been made yet on when the steps will be implemented but will be reviewed weekly.

4:14pm - Ardern says Cabinet has been asking how to continue to keep Kiwis safe from COVID while making life easier for people.

She says the 'roadmap' is designed to get to that place.

"This is a change in approach we were always going to make over time."

On the latest lockdown, the PM says "long periods of heavy restrictions has not got us to zero cases", but says it has made a difference.

4:11pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Delta variant of COVID-19 has proven to be a "gamechanger". She says it is more persistent and "incredibly hard to shake".

Ardern says restrictions have stopped exponential growth of COVID-19 cases over a long period of weeks and Auckland's sacrifice, staying in lockdown, has enabled time for people to get vaccinated.

4:08pm - Dr Bloomfield says ICU staff are worried about the spread of COVID-19. 

He says vaccination is the most effective way of preventing wide outbreaks.

Nearly 50 percent of Kiwis are fully vaccinated, but just 6 just of cases have had one.

4:07pm - Dr Bloomfield is providing an update on Monday's new COVID-19 cases.

He said three people in the Raglan cases household have tested positive for COVID-19 and will be included in Tuesday's COVID-19 numbers.

Of Monday's 29 cases, seven are unlinked to the outbreak. Nine of Sunday's cases are also still unlinked.

He said the Ministry is expecting a further 25 - 30 additional cases.

4:00pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced Auckland will remain in alert level 3 but there are several new changes. 

The Government has also revealed a roadmap for Auckland to slowly move out of the current COVID-19 restrictions.

"Today, based on public health advice, Cabinet confirmed its plan to transition Auckland out of current restrictions carefully and methodically, with regular check-ins to ensure we're continuing to actively control the virus," Ardern says.

Here's how the different steps work:

Step 1

"From 11:59pm Tuesday, Auckland will remain in alert level 3 but several key changes will occur," Ardern says. 

"People will be able to connect with loved ones OUTDOORS with no more than two households at a time, up to a maximum of 10 people; early childhood education will return for all; and people can move around Auckland for recreation such as beach visits and hunting."

Step 2

"At step two retail will open their doors, with the usual measures of wearing facemasks and keeping up physical distancing; public facilities such as pools and zoos will open; and the number of people who can meet OUTDOORS will increase to 25.

Step 3

"Step three will bring back those higher risk settings. Hospitality will open – seated, separated and with a limit of 50; close contact businesses like hairdressers will also open with mask use and physical distancing; and gatherings will also then extend to 50," Ardern says.

"Cabinet will review each step weekly to ensure it's safe to move before confirming the next step. The wage subsidy will continue to be available.

"Public health advice also sets out that schools at this stage will be able to return after school holidays on the 18th of October with the final decision to be made on that closer to the time."

What this means for Auckland

Ardern says the phasing amounts to a "careful and methodical transition plan" for Auckland.

"At the end of these steps, we will then move to a national framework that reflects a more highly vaccinated population, allowing us the ability to deal with riskier settings such as large-scale events with the use of vaccine certificates.

"Cabinet also agreed the rest of New Zealand will remain at alert level 2 to continue to support Auckland to do the heavy lifting – but the 100 limit cap on hospitality venues is removed. The requirement for customers to be seated and separated with physical distancing remains in place."

Ardern also announced on Monday, 2 million New Zealanders have now been vaccinated. 

"But there is more work to do," she says.

"Vaccines were always going to change the way we manage COVID-19 into the future, but our strategy has worked and will remain – we want to control the virus, avoid cases and hospitalisations, enjoy our freedoms, and reconnect with the world."

3:55pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are providing an update on Auckland's COVID-19 alert level at 4pm.

You can watch the press conference here at or on Three. We will also have updates running live throughout the conference.

3:10pm - A number of people "escaped" the Waikato town of Raglan on Sunday in a desperate bid to avoid alert level 3 restrictions, according to a community board member.

On Sunday, it was reported that two cases had been detected in the Waikato region - one in Hamilton's eastern suburbs and one in Raglan, a coastal town and surfing hotspot. However, more infections were detected overnight after household contacts of the Raglan case also tested positive, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Monday morning.

At 11:59pm that night, Hamilton City, Raglan, Te Kauwhata, Huntly and Ngāruawāhia entered alert level 3 as a precautionary measure following the detection of the two cases. The key difference between alert level 3 and alert level 4 - total lockdown - is that businesses are able to trade contactlessly. However, people are still expected to remain largely in their household bubble and work from home if they are able to do so. 

The affected areas will remain under the heightened restrictions for a preliminary five-day period to ensure the virus is not circulating in the community.  

Speaking to Newshub on Sunday evening, community board member Chris Rayner said a number of people who had been living in the area temporarily were quick to "escape" following the announcement. 

He stressed that locals hadn't been the ones fleeing the town.

"It sounds like the testing and vaccination pop-ups have been going really well. There's some pretty heavy traffic heading out of town, some of that will be people from across the area who have been visiting for the weekend," Rayner told Newshub on Sunday evening.

"There definitely have been a few people that have escaped the area - because of the fact that lockdown doesn't start until midnight, it obviously gives people plenty of chances to head out of the region. I know of a couple of people heading down Taranaki ways and across Waihi."

Read more here.

2:50pm - Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki is set to face charges for organising the anti-lockdown protest over the weekend. 

In a statement to Newshub, police said they were considering charges in relation to the organisers of the event, and Tamaki is one of them. 

Police said they were in the final stages of their investigation into the protest of around 1000 people, which breached alert level 3 restrictions. 

2:25pm - In case you missed it, a person who presented at Auckland City Hospital's emergency department on Sunday has tested positive for COVID-19.

The person was admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit for issues unrelated to COVID-19.

Auckland DHB is working at pace with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service to investigate this case and identify any potential contacts, the Ministry of Health said on Monday.

The patient was separated appropriately on arrival as a person considered "at risk for COVID-19" and staff were wearing appropriate PPE, including N95 masks, the ministry said.

The person had previously visited the emergency department and returned a negative test on Saturday.

"So it is believed the infection has been identified early."

Auckland DHB says patients and whānau who have been at Auckland City Hospital - and in the emergency department - do not need to take action unless they are contacted by public health officials.

2:05pm - One new location of interest has been identified at 2pm. 

Anyone who visited Farro in Mt Eden on Saturday, October 2 between 10:30am and 11am is asked to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the date of exposure. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until a negative test is returned and for 24 hours after symptoms resolve.

1:20pm - Of Monday's 29 COVID-19 cases, eight have yet to be linked to the original Auckland outbreak.

1:10pm - The latest data from the Ministry of Health is below:

29 community cases of COVID-19; two border related cases in managed isolation; two million New Zealanders fully vaccinated



Number of new community cases


Number of new cases identified at the border


Location of new community cases *

Auckland (28); Waikato (1)

Location of community cases (total)

Auckland (including four cases in Upper Hauraki; all of whom are in the same household) 1,337 (1,065 of whom have recovered); Waikato 2; Upper Hauraki 1; Wellington 17 (all of whom have recovered)

Number of community cases (total)

1,357 (in the current community outbreak)

Cases infectious in the community

19 (58 pct) of yesterday's 33 cases have exposure events

Cases in isolation throughout the period they were infectious

14 (42 pct) of yesterday's 33 cases

Cases epidemiologically linked

21 of today's 29 cases are linked.

Cases to be epidemiologically linked

8 of today's 29 cases. Investigations are continuing to determine a link.

Cases epidemiologically linked (total)

1,314 (in the current cluster) (21 unlinked from the past fortnight).

Number of sub-clusters

15 epidemiologically linked subclusters. Of these, seven are active, one is contained and seven are dormant. There are 14 epidemiologically unlinked subclusters. Of these, five are active, one is contained and eight are dormant.

Cases in hospital

30 (total): North Shore (3) Middlemore (13); Auckland (13); Waikato (1)

Cases in ICU or HDU


Confirmed cases (total)

4,025 since pandemic began.

Historical cases, since 1 Jan 2021 (total)

163 out of 2,208 since 1 Jan 2021



Number of open contacts being managed (total):


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

81 pct

Percentage with at least one test result

71 pct

Locations of interest


Locations of interest (total)

138 (as at 10am 4 October)



Number of tests (total)


Number of tests processed (total last 24 hours)


Tests processed in Auckland (last 24 hours)


Tests rolling average (last 7 days)


Testing centres in Auckland




Wastewater detections

No unexpected detections in the next 24 hours

COVID-19 vaccine update


Vaccines administered to date (total)

5,346,591; 1st doses: 3,328,286; 2nd doses: 2,018,305  

Vaccines administered yesterday (total)

27,033; 1st doses: 7,041; 2nd doses: 19,992


501,189; 1st doses: 323,582; 2nd doses: 177,607

Pacific Peoples

335,541; 1st doses: 209,388; 2nd doses: 126,153

Vaccines administered to Auckland residents to date (total)

1,950,883; 1st doses: 1,206,138 (84 pct); 2nd doses: 744,745 (52 pct)

Vaccines administered to Auckland residents yesterday (total)

12,923; 1st doses: 2,913; 2nd doses: 10,010

NZ COVID-19 tracer


Registered users (total)


Poster scans (total)


Manual diary entries (total)


Poster scans in 24 hours to midday yesterday


Ministry of Health's press release continued:

*Today's cases

A previously reported border related case, from Saturday, has been reclassified as not a case. They were reported in their home jurisdiction overseas, and the case has now been removed from our total case tally.

North Shore Hospital maternity ward case

Waitematā DHB has advised the Ministry of Health that late yesterday a nominated visitor to North Shore Hospital's maternity ward tested positive for COVID-19. The baby and the baby's mother were subsequently tested and the baby has returned a positive result, while the mother was negative.

The mother and baby had been in a single room in hospital – separated from other mothers and babies – for the duration of their care and the positive case visited them twice while potentially infectious. The mother and baby have now been relocated to a COVID-19 appropriate ward and safety protocols are in place.

A small number of staff who have potentially interacted with the visitor have been stood down as a precautionary measure while investigations continue and Waitematā DHB fully assesses the situation to determine if any other actions are required.

The Ministry's thoughts are with this family at this stressful time.

COVID-19 case at Auckland City Hospital

A person who went to Auckland City Hospital's Emergency Department yesterday and was admitted to intensive care for non-COVID-19 reasons, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Auckland DHB is working at pace with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service to investigate this case and identify any potential contacts.

The patient was separated appropriately on arrival at the ED as being at risk for COVID-19 and staff were wearing appropriate PPE including N95 masks. They had also previously visited the ED and returned a negative test on Saturday, so it is believed the infection has been identified early.

Auckland DHB advice is that patients and whānau who have been at Auckland City Hospital and in the ED do not need to take action unless they are contacted by public health officials.

Waikato, Palmerston North cases update

Overnight three household contacts of the Raglan case tested positive for COVID-19 – one of which is a newly identified household contact living on the property – and all have now been moved to an Auckland quarantine facility. These will be officially recorded in tomorrow's case numbers.

Meanwhile, initial tests from all four close contacts associated with worksites of the Auckland-based truck driver, who is isolating in Palmerston North, have returned initial negative results.

Testing in Waikato

Waikato DHB advises there has been a strong response to calls for people in Hamilton with symptoms to get tested.

Yesterday, more than 600 swabs were taken across the testing centres at Founders and Claudelands in Hamilton, and around 150 swabs were taken at the pop-up testing site in Raglan.

It is important that testing facilities are available for priority groups, to help us determine whether there has been any undetected community spread of the virus.

So, if you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, are following guidance relating to a location of interest, or have been directed by Healthline or your GP, please seek a test immediately.

Waikato DHB advises there is high demand at our community testing centres in Hamilton and Raglan. It is encouraging to see the local community taking care and seeking a test, but if you do not match the above criteria, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your GP for guidance before seeking a test.  

Testing is available at a range of dedicated sites, including Founders Theatre (8am - 4.30pm), Claudelands Event Centre (8am - 8pm), Raglan Rugby Grounds (10am - 4.30pm), as well as GPs and designated GP practices (which do not require you to be enrolled as patient).

For COVID-19 testing locations nationwide, visit the Healthpoint website, which will include details of a new pop up testing site in Huntly, which is expected to be open from this afternoon.

The Ministry also urges people to regularly check the locations of interest on the Ministry's website, which provides specific guidance for each location.

Anyone who is not symptomatic and has not visited a location of interest, does not need to get tested at this point.

Vaccinations remain steady, with more than 3,000 (3,082) vaccinations administered across the Waikato Region in the past 24 hours.

Around 426,925 vaccinations have been delivered across the Waikato region to date – that's 264,224 first doses and 162,701 second doses. Around 71 percent of the region's eligible population have had their first dose, and 42 percent are fully vaccinated

If you haven't already been vaccinated, now is a good time. Please don't put it off.

Whole genomic sequencing

Whole genome sequencing for the Raglan case and the Hamilton case have both been completed confirming both cases are linked and both cases are also linked to one of the sub clusters in Auckland.

For the Auckland based truck driver, currently in isolation in Palmerston North, whole genome sequencing is expected later today.

*Wastewater testing

There are no unexpected wastewater detections to report.

The virus that causes COVID-19 was not detected in wastewater samples taken from 14 Waikato sites between 23-30 September, which includes sampling in Hamilton which did not detect COVID-19 in samples taken on September 28 and 29.

Wastewater sample collection has been arranged from locations within the Waikato and Manawatū-Whanganui regions. This includes Raglan, Huntly, Te Kauwhata, Ngaruawahia, Feilding, Hunterville, Tokoroa, Putaruru, Hamilton and Palmerston North.

Results of these are expected over the coming days, however the timing of the results depends on various factors including the sample arrival times and need to re-run tests.

Alert Level 3 boundary exemptions

With the change to alert levels in parts of Waikato, the Ministry will be processing personal travel exemptions from 7 o'clock tomorrow morning, in the same way we have been processing applications for Auckland personal travel exemptions

The criteria for personal travel exemptions into or out of the Waikato Alert Level 3 region will be the same as they currently are for the separate Auckland Alert Level region.

Two million second doses of vaccine

Today we've passed the two million mark for second doses of vaccine administered (2,018, 305). This is a really pleasing milestone and we want to reiterate our thanks to everyone who has so far had either their first, or final vaccination. Vaccination continues to be one of our strongest defences against COVID-19.

1:06pm - There are 29 community cases of COVID-19 - 28 in Auckland and one in Waikato.

The Waikato case was identified on Sunday but included in Monday's case numbers.

"Overnight three household contacts of the Raglan case tested positive for COVID-19 - one of which is a newly identified household contact living on the property - and all have now been moved to an Auckland quarantine facility. These will be officially recorded in tomorrow’s case numbers," a Ministry of Health spokesman said.

"Meanwhile, initial tests from all four close contacts associated with worksites of the Auckland-based truck driver, who is isolating in Palmerston North, have returned initial negative results."

The ministry said there's been a good response to calls for COVID-19 testing in Hamilton.

"If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, are following guidance relating to a location of interest, or have been directed by Healthline or your GP, please seek a test immediately.

"Waikato DHB advises there is high demand at our community testing centres in Hamilton and Raglan."

1pm - We are waiting for the Ministry of Health to release the latest COVID-19 case numbers. Stand by.

12:52pm - Waikato's provincial rugby teams have fled COVID-19 lockdown in Hamilton, basing themselves just out of town in Cambridge to prepare for their upcoming NPC games. Digital sports editor Grant Chapman reports.

12:44pm - Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki's anti-lockdown protest on Saturday would not have been allowed to happen under a National Government, leader Judith Collins claims.

"No. If I was the Police Commissioner, no," Collins told Magic Talk's Leah Panapa.

"If I was the Police Minister, I would be asking Andy Coster as the Police Commissioner what was going on here.

"Clearly you can't have the ministers interfering in police actions or inaction but what is really clear is, yes people are getting frustrated, yes people are really over all of these lockdowns, particularly in Auckland, but what they're really over as well is the lack of consistency in policing." 

12:37pm - Two million New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Chris Hipkins says.

"As of this morning, 2,018,305 people were fully vaccinated with two doses, representing 48 percent of people aged 12 and over," said Hipkins, the COVID-19 Response Minister.

"I want to thank everyone who’s stepped forward. Each and every person vaccinated increases our protection and reduces the need for lockdown measures - so it's a huge thanks from me to everyone for playing their part.

"This achievement is also testament to the great effort of New Zealand's health workers who’ve been working long and hard to deliver the largest vaccination programme in our history," Hipkins said on Monday.

12:30pm - As per usual on a Monday, there is no 1pm COVID-19 news conference. Instead, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will hold a 4pm press conference after her weekly Cabinet meeting - where she'll provide an update on alert level decisions and the current outbreak.

We will receive a press release from the Ministry of Health shortly - expected at 1pm - with the latest COVID-19 case numbers. We'll bring you that information as soon as it comes to hand.

12:23pm - A leading economist says Monday's COVID-19 announcement presents one of the toughest alert level decisions to date.

"Should the plan for Auckland require ongoing level 3 style restrictions be extended for potentially weeks, then providing added financial support for businesses would be prudent to give businesses some further means to survive until they are able to trade with more freedom," ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley says in his weekly economic report.

12:15pm - Across the Tasman, Victoria has reported 1377 community cases of COVID-19 and four deaths.

12pm - A leading vaccinologist is disappointed many essential workers are still to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

It was revealed on Sunday a truck driver, who travelled to Palmerston North from Auckland and later tested positive, wasn't vaccinated.

Vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris says more COVID-19 cases will pop up if people don't get the jab.

"This is going to continue to happen, I'm afraid, until we get to a point where we've reached those levels of vaccination to prevent this from happening," she told Newshub.

11:53am - There are fears mystery COVID-19 cases in Auckland and Waikato could be the tip of an iceberg of undetected transmission.

The Government is set to announce its decision about Auckland's alert levels on Monday but it is highly unlikely there will be any change after 50 cases over the weekend, two in Waikato.

Rowan Quinn of RNZ reports.

11:47am - Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran says the carrier is working with International Air Transport Association as well as other airlines to decide the best way for passengers to prove their COVID-19 vaccination status' when international borders reopen. Travel editor Dan Lake reports.

11:40am - As New Zealand faces an uphill battle to vaccinate its eligible population, a public health expert in Ireland has provided insight into the COVID-ravaged nation's successful immunisation campaign - suggesting the lack of severe illness and death in Aotearoa has failed to instill a sense of fear in the public. 

Karina Butler, a professor of paediatrics and the chair of Ireland's National Immunisation Advisory Committee, says the nation learned about the importance of dispelling misinformation after uptake of the HPV vaccine dropped dramatically in certain areas.

"The drive has been led by public health and with appropriate clinicians," Butler said. 

"It was bringing the right voices and clinical voices to the fore so that people could listen [to] and trust the message, a single message that was given."

Watch her full interview with The AM Show here.

11:30am - An Auckland Blue Bubble taxi driver has tested positive for COVID-19, Co-op Taxis operations manager Shaun Williams told Newshub.

The driver does not know how he caught the virus and is now in quarantine with his family. The driver worked up until about 11pm on Friday September 24 and and Saturday September 25.

Williams says the employee is believed to have driven between 12 and 18 jobs while infectious.

He says the driver had no contact with staff and he cleaned his vehicle between each passenger as per regulations.

11am - The National Party is warning tough COVID-19 restrictions are taking their toll on Auckland.

National leader Judith Collins says it will be hard for the Government to sell another week under alert level 3.

"People are just at the end of their tether in some cases and I'm very concerned for businesses - but also generally for people who just don't see any end in sight."

10:53am - The Ministry of Health has added several new COVID-19 locations of interest, including a Z service station on Auckland's North Shore.

Coronavirus updates: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 4
Photo credit: Ministry of Health

10:43am - Jacinda Ardern on Sunday blasted the anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protests held across the country at the weekend.

More than 1000 people have turned up to Destiny Church pastor Brian Tamaki's protest in Auckland outside the War Memorial Museum while smaller protests were also held in Rotorua, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch.

"I do myself have a personal view on the protest itself," the Prime Minister said. "It was wrong and obviously illegal but it was also morally wrong. 

"What does it say to every Aucklander who has given up a huge amount over the past few weeks to do the right thing and keep other Aucklanders safe? 

"It was a slap in the face to them."

10:40am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday she had no regrets moving Auckland to COVID-19 alert level 3, so is level 2 stil on the cards? Here's Newshub digital political reporter Zane Small's analysis.

10:30am - There's some confusion around parts of the Waikato boundary that was put in place overnight.

The Government's official COVID-19 website has been updated to show the boundary as a just a few minutes away from Cambridge - much further south than was indicated on Sunday.

"A lot of people [are] waking up this morning thinking they are in level 2 are in fact in level 3," said Newshub reporter Karen Rutherford, speaking from Waikato's southern boundary.

"Hamilton Airport remains in level 2. However, a lot of people will be making their way to flights there this morning and crossing boundaries." 

10:18am - Hamilton City Mayor Paula Southgate is urging the community look after each other amid heightened COVID-19 restrictions.

"At level 3 please keep in your close bubble, and keep safe. We all know what to do," she said. "Remember to support local businesses who trade through online orders and contactless delivery."

10:04am - A New Zealand woman stranded in Queensland due to the lack of managed isolation (MIQ) spots says she should be able to self-isolate in her own home.

If she doesn't get back soon, she risks having her pension being stopped and may even have to pay thousands of dollars in fines.

Ella Stewart of RNZ reports.

9:52am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Kiwis can move their second COVID-19 vaccination appointment forward if they don't want to wait the full six weeks in between doses. 

In August, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield extended the standard time between the first and second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to six weeks. 

"I would say to anyone who has for instance had their first dose and wants to speed up their second dose, they can do that," Ardern told The AM Show on Monday.

"Some time ago we put in a six-week protocol and if people want to stick with that, that is their prerogative but there's nothing wrong equally with people shortening that period if people want to hasten it, there's no problem with that." 

9:40am - Raglan locals are coming to terms with being under heightened COVID-19 restrictons after a case was found there on Sunday.

Community board member Chris Rayner believes low vaccination rates are partly to blame for the lockdown.

"We're currently 33 percent double jabbed in Raglan and getting close to 60 percent single jabbed," he told Newshub.

9:25am - Earlier on The AM Show, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern refused to reveal whether COVID-19 elimination was still the goal for Auckland but admitted the country is in an awkward "transition" during a tense interview on Monday.

"Are you willing to admit now finally that Auckland is very unlikely to get to zero cases and that COVID-19 is with us now?" host Ryan Bridge asked. 

"Ryan, I am not sure what you're asking for in an admission," Ardern responded. "Ryan - at 4pm today we will be setting out after Cabinet has met this afternoon, our roadmap for Auckland, our intention for Auckland. Keeping in mind that we are in a space right not where we do need to be really cautious," she said. 

Watch the full interview here.

9:13am - A newborn baby in North Shore Hospital has tested positive for COVID-19.

"Auckland Regional Public Health Service advised us... that a nominated visitor to our North Shore Hospital maternity ward tested positive for COVID-19 today," Waitematā District Health Board COVID-19 executive lead Tamzin Brott says.

"The man's partner and their newborn child have been in a single room - separated from other mothers and babies - for the duration of their care and the man visited them twice while potentially infectious.

"Both were tested for COVID-19 - the mother returned a negative result and the baby tested positive. They have been relocated to a COVID-appropriate ward and safety protocols are in place."

Brott said several hospital staffers have been stood down as a result.

"Work is rapidly underway to fully assess the situation and determine if further actions are required. A limited number of staff who have potentially interacted with the visitor have been stood down as a precautionary measure while investigations continue.

"We know that news like this can be unsettling and have provided the available facts in order to keep you as informed as possible."

The DHB said North Shore Hospital's maternity ward continues to operate as normal.

9:10am - Speaking ahead of Monday's alert level announcement, ACT leader David Seymour said the Government's COVID-19 strategy isn't working.

"I don't know what they will do," he told Newshub. "I know what they should do - they should have started months ago instead of starting bike bridges they've now had to cancel."  

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will make the alert level announcement during a news conference at 4pm.

8:55am - Across the Tasman, new isolation rules have been introduced in New South Wales in preparation for when COVID-19 vaccination rates hit 70 percent.

Close contacts of those who test positive for the virus will now only need to isolate for one week instead of 14 days.

8:45am - Ireland has been named best country for its response to COVID-19 in Bloomberg's monthly resilience rating - a feat previously held by New Zealand.

The nation has the best vaccination rates in the world and there are projections for a rapid economic rebound.

Ireland Immunisations Advisory Committee chair Karina Butler says residents are rolling up their sleeves to get the jab.

"At the moment, 92 percent of the eligible population are vaccinated and of those over 16-years-of-age, 91 percent are fully vaccinated," she told The AM Show.

There have been 393,626 infections and 5249 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Ireland since the pandemic began.

8:35am - Air New Zealand has no plans to ban passengers unvaccinated against COVID-19 from its domestic flights just yet.

It comes after the national carrier said it's introducing a "no jab, no fly" policy on international flights from February.

Air NZ chief executive Greg Foran says they're still determining what the best approach is for domestic flights.

"There are parts of the country where the only airline that operates is Air New Zealand," he told The AM Show. "I think we should just be thoughtful and work through the domestic solution."

8:20am - The Government will reveal its roadmap out of the COVID-19 pandemic during a news conference at 4pm on Monday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promises the roadmap will clear up some uncertainty.

She told The AM Show there are options available other than simple alert level changes.

"What we've been doing over the past few weeks is analysing some of the changes that could be made that pose less risk but also just help Aucklanders at this stage."

8:05am - The below map shows the alert level 3 boundary for Waikato and the areas under heightened COVID-19 restrictions. Click here to see the full map.

Speaking from the Waikato southern boundary, Newshub reporter Karen Rutherford said the map has revealed some confusion around the Hamilton City boundary.

She told The AM Show the boundary is much further south than anticipated.

"A lot of people [are] waking up this morning thinking they are in level 2 are in fact in level 3.

"Hamilton Airport remains in level 2. However, a lot of people will be making their way to flights there this morning and crossing boundaries." 

Coronavirus updates: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 4
Photo credit: New Zealand Government

8am - Several COVID-19 locations of interest were identified by the Ministry of Health overnight, a number of which were in the Waikato region. View the locations of interest here.

7:53am - Epidemiologist Michael Baker says more needs to be done to up the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Baker told The AM Show increasing vaccination rates in groups with lower coverage is key to Auckland moving out of alert level 3. 

7:40am - Hamilton City Mayor Paula Southgate says it's a bitter blow waking up under COVID-19 alert level 3.

"This is a disappointing step backwards - certainly for businesses and for students that were just beginning to get some normality back in their lives," she told Newshub.  

7:30am - To recap what we just heard from Jacinda Ardern. The Prime Minister believes initial genome sequencing has connected the COVID-19 cases in Waikato to the Auckland outbreak. 

Ardern says some additional test results also came through overnight.

"We have positive household cases attached to our Raglan case - no positive household cases, at this stage, for our Hamilton case," she told The AM Show.

7:21am - Epidemiologist Michael Baker says Auckland's chance of shifting down COVID-19 alert levels this week is "very low" after two new cases were discovered outside of the city on the weekend. 

Baker told The AM Show increasing vaccination rates in groups with lower coverage is key to moving down alert levels.

Watch his full interview here.

7:11am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed household contacts of the Raglan COVID-19 case have tested positive for the virus.

She says genome sequencing has linked the Waikato cases to the original Auckland outbreak but it remains unclear how the virus jumped the border.

7:07am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is appearing on The AM Show in a few minutes. You can watch that live on Three or by clicking here.

6:56am - Ninety percent vaccination rate may now be the only way out of COVID-19 alert level 3 in Auckland, epidemiologist Michael Baker warns.

Baker says elimination of the virus may not be plausible anymore.

"Now, we're in that position of adjusting our measures to buy time while we get that high vaccine coverage because we know, and you look overseas, vaccination is the way out of this."  

6:45am - One of New Zealand's top COVID-19 specialists, epidemiologist Michael Baker, is confident the virus can be eliminated in Waikato.

Baker told The AM Show the chain of transmission so far is small - only two cases.

"I think alert level 3, with good contact tracing, could be enough to stamp out in the Waikato. It depends, of course, on how extensive that chain of transmission is." 

6:30am - Hamilton City Mayor Paula Southgate is calling for calm after two new mystery cases of COVID-19 were found in the area.

She told Newshub that residents know the drill.

"We know what we've got to do; we've got to wear our masks, we've got to scan, we've got to sanitise, we've got to keep in our bubbles and most importantly, we've got to get vaccinated."

6:15am - There is support from the aviation sector for Air New Zealand's decision around mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

All travellers using the airline internationally, including Kiwis, will need to be jabbed against COVID-19 from February, it announced on Sunday.

Aviation commentator Irene King told Newshub the Government backing the move makes it easier to enforce.

6am - Some Raglan residents have already jumped ship in a desperate bid to avoid alert level three, a local community board member says. 

It comes after one of the mystery cases of COVID-19 is in the surfing town.

Community board member Chris Rayner told Newshub some locals just couldn't face five days in lockdown.

"There definitely has been a few people that have escaped the area," he said. "I know a couple of people heading Taranaki way and across Waihi." 

5:45am - Hamilton City Mayor Paula Southgate says while the new COVID-19 restrictions for the area are disappointing, they're understandable.

"The Government has got a target of about 90 percent vaccination - some pockets of our community are still well below 50," Southgate told Newshub. 

5:30am - Below are all the COVID-19 locations of interest added overnight.

Coronavirus updates: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 4
Coronavirus updates: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 4
Coronavirus updates: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, October 4
Photo credit: Ministry of Health