COVID-19: Mounting pressure for tighter restrictions to protect South Island from Delta

There's mounting pressure for tighter restrictions to protect the South Island from Delta.

It comes after a case was detected in Blenheim on Saturday, the mainland's first community case in almost a year. 

It's day two of Delta in the south - but only a handful of people turned up to get tested in Nelson.

"We're seeing low numbers but it's really proactive people who are feeling unwell and have symptoms have come down and people who have been at a location coming down," Nelson Bays primary practice relationship manager Rebecca Colley says.

Nearly 150 people across Marlborough got tested on Saturday. It comes after a positive case arrived in Blenheim from Rotorua. On Sunday the Ministry of Health revealed they are unvaccinated.

Two close contacts are now isolating in Blenheim - they've both tested negative. But with six locations of interest there, people aren't taking any chances.

"We have teams ready on standby to stand up something like a testing station," Colley says.

The threat of an outbreak spreading further south is hitting home for some.

"Pardon the French but shit just got real," one person told Newshub.

While cases continue to balloon in Auckland and seep through the border there are growing calls to protect the South Island.

"Given the only way cases can arrive there is from the North Island we need to look very hard at that border so obviously again we're looking at either flying in or coming in by sea," epidemiologist Michael Baker says.

People in Christchurch agree.

"I think there should be some sort of restrictions because the South Island had had no COVID for months and months," one person said.

"I think they should be immunised or vaccinated," another added.

National's pushing for another layer of protection.

"Make use of rapid antigen testing, for example. So making sure that people travelling from north to south actually get a test before travelling," National's COVID-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

On Sunday COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said there are no current plans to introduce antigen testing for interisland travel. He also confirmed the Government won't be sealing off the South Island.

Instead, keeping tight boundaries around Auckland and the rest of the country at level 2.

A team of five million that's beginning to play a game of two halves.