As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, November 22

All of New Zealand will move to the traffic light framework on December 2 at 11:59pm.

Hairdressers will also be able to open in Auckland from this Thursday, as a way to test the vaccine certificate system.

It comes as 205 new cases of COVID-19 are recorded on Monday, as well as one additional death.

What you need to know

  • There are 205 new cases of COVID-19 to report on Monday - 175 in Auckland, 20 in Waikato, four in Northland, five in Bay of Plenty and one in Lakes. A case has also been detected in Palmerston North but will be officially included in Tuesday's figures.
  • A man in his 40s with COVID-19 has died at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.
  • Eighty-five people are in hospital, six of whom are in intensive care or high dependency units.
  • Auckland's border will open on December 15, allowing fully vaccinated Kiwis to travel to and from the region - people can also present a negative test result received within 72 hours prior to departure.
  • All of New Zealand will move to the traffic light system on December 2 at 11:59pm.
  • Two-thirds of Kiwis don't understand the new traffic light system, according to the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll.
  • Twelve District Health Boards have now vaccinated 90 percent of their eligible populations with their first dose.
  • COVID-delayed NCEA and Scholarship exams start on Monday with an option for students in Auckland, Northland and parts of Waikato to take up 'unexpected event' grades.
  • Vaccine certificates are now available to download via My COVID Record.
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest locations of interest here.

These live updates have finished.

8pm - With all of New Zealand to move to the traffic light system on December 3, Kiwis will have to navigate a new set of rules on where they can visit and what they can do.

Here's what you need to know about the new system.

7:30pm - Police say they're working with health agencies on the circumstances on the Hawke's Bay case's departure from Auckland.

"Two staff members who came into contact with the person are self-isolating and have returned negative day one tests," a police spokesperson says.

"At this stage there is no further information or comment we can provide."

7:25pm - A person who has since tested positive for COVID-19 had been visiting Ocean Shores retirement village in Tauranga.

The Ministry of Health says there are a "very small number" of contacts from their visit.

"Contacts are being tested, with results expected overnight," a spokesperson says.

"This situation will be closely managed by the public health unit."

1News reports that the man had been staying with his mother for some time in independent accommodation in the village.

6:55pm - The Ministry of Health says the positive case in Hawke's Bay was tested on November 14 and left Auckland the same day to relocate.

The criteria for relocating is proof of residential address and, if leaving Auckland, evidence of a negative test result or medical certificate confirming you are unable to have a test.

"The case tested in Auckland prior to leaving and was notified of their result on 17 November by Auckland. The initial contact with every case includes advice to isolate and await further contact from public health, with a subsequent referral to community isolation and quarantine if indicated," the Ministry of Health says.

"As the Director-General mentioned this afternoon, when the positive test was notified by the lab and the person was notified and isolated, they were in Hawke's Bay by that time.

"The ongoing follow-up care was transferred to Healthline and Healthline was making daily calls to that person."

Additionally, two police officers who came into contact with the case are self-isolating and have returned negative day one tests. Further tests will be carried out.

Investigations are continuing into the case and any locations of interest are added to the Ministry of Health's website when they're confirmed.

6:30pm - There are four new locations of interest. They are:

  • Paper Plus, Napier, November 15 from 3:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Big Barrel Napier, November 15 from 6pm to 7pm
  • Countdown Huntly, November 17 from 12:30pm to 3pm
  • Four Square Freds, Huntly, November 18 from 11:45am to 12:30pm.

6:20pm - Air New Zealand says continued border uncertainty between New Zealand and Australia means the airline must cancel more than 1000 flights through to December 31, 2021.

This follows other cancellations made since quarantine-free travel was first paused.

"Now, due to recent statements by the New Zealand Government that quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand is unlikely to re-commence this year, we've had to make the difficult decision to change our schedule," says Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.

"This will be particularly tough news for families and friends who were hoping to catch up over Christmas. I appreciate how difficult this news will be, but our hands are tied until border restrictions ease, and we receive further clarity from the New Zealand Government."

The airline estimates around 1000 flights will need to be canceled, with around 20,000 customers expected to be impacted.

"Customers have already begun moving their bookings into credit and we're acting now to give customers as much certainty as possible, so they can make alternative plans.

"We appreciate this latest news means some customers will have to wait longer before reuniting with loved ones. We're continuing to do everything we can to get them home safely as quickly as possible."

Air New Zealand's schedule beyond December 31 remains in place until it receives an update from the Government. The airline continues to operate a reduced schedule of flights into Sydney and Melbourne and 'red fights' from Australia into New Zealand for those with MIQ spots.

Impacted customers can opt to hold their fare in credit for travel at another date or receive a refund if they have purchased a refundable ticket.

6:05pm - Initial tests of all identified close contacts linked to a known case isolating in Hawke's Bay have returned negative for COVID-19, but further interviews have identified two locations of interest, the Hawke's Bay DHB says.

The DHB's medical officer of health Dr Nick Jones says the negative results from initial tests were promising and further tests were pending with results expected over the coming days.

"These close contacts remain self-isolating safely and are following all the appropriate public health advice. However, extensive interviews with the case have revealed two locations of interest where there is the potential for exposure, although the risk is deemed low," he says.

"Up until today any exposures identified were assessed as limited and close contacts were identified early. Further assessment with the case has revealed dates and times of two locations of interest that were visited for very short periods, by the case, while wearing a face covering, but where exposure could have occurred with unknown contacts."

The new locations of interest are:

  • Big Barrel, Carlyle Street, Napier on November 15 between 6pm and 7pm
  • Paper Plus, Hastings Street, Napier South, on November 16 between 3:30pm and 4:30pm.

Dr Jones says the advice remains the same for anyone, whether they have visited a location or not, to get tested for COVID-19 even if experiencing cold or flu symptoms, however mild.

People are also asked to follow strict level 2 rules of wearing a face mask, practising social distancing and tracking your movements using the COVID-19 tracer app or personal diary.

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

5:25pm - The Bay of Plenty DHB has supplied a list of testing locations available this week.

A full list is available here, and additional pop-up testing locations have also been set up.


Times for pop-up testing locations up to and including Friday November 26 are:

  • Mount Maunganui Sports Centre (Corner of Maunganui & Hull Roads) - 10am - 4pm Tuesday
  • Tauranga Racecourse - 10am - 4pm Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday
  • Tauranga Central (100 First Avenue Drive-through accessed via carpark next to Noel Leeming on Second Ave) - 8am - 4pm Tuesday to Friday
  • Baypark (81 Truman Lane, Mount Maunganui) - 11am - 6pm Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Whakatāne District

  • Med Central Portacom, 52B King St, Whakatāne - 10am - 4pm, Tuesday - Friday.

5:05pm - The Restaurant Association says a set date for the reopening of Auckland's hospitality is "welcome and long overdue".

"This will allow our businesses to start their planning for the short period of time they will be able to open before Aucklanders leave the city over the Christmas break. However, it is difficult to fathom that this it is still eleven days away," says CEO Marisa Bidois.

"There is a lot to do including implementing the process for managing vaccination passports for our industry. The entire industry, but particularly Auckland is going to need support to manage the transition and we look forward to hearing more from the Government on how it plans to do this."

5pm - The press conference has finished. So briefly recap:

  • All of New Zealand will move to the traffic light system on December 3
  • Auckland hairdressers and barbers can reopen from this Thursday as part of a vaccine certificate trial
  • Extra guidance will be given to businesses on how the traffic light framework will operate.

4:57pm - Given Austria has mandated vaccines for everyone, Ardern was asked if New Zealand could follow suit.

She says no, it's "just not something we would do".

4:56pm - Ardern says she disagrees with access issues to vaccines raised by the likes of Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

"We've worked very hard to overcome the access issue," she says, adding there are multiple mobile clinics operating.

4:54pm - Both Ardern and Dr Bloomfield were asked what the toll of COVID decisions have on them.

Dr Bloomfield says the decisions "have felt weighty all the way through" and this period of transition is "challenging".

Ardern agrees, saying there "will be more contested views" in the next phase, but people can see they're making decisions "in the best interest of New Zealanders".

4:47pm - Ardern says she disagrees with the Opposition, who say the traffic light legislation is being rushed.

She says it's been publicly available since October and has been up for discussion since then.

4:42pm - On a vaccine mandate for police, Ardern says they haven't concluded discussions yet but there will be a decision this week.

4:40pm - On whether tourists to New Zealand will need to have vaccine certificates when the time comes, Ardern says they need to work through sector guidance and she will get more information.

4:37pm - Ardern says anything on the international border date hasn't been finalised, but it will be announced "shortly".

4:35pm - The vaccine certificate verifier app has been trialled, Ardern says, and the hairdresser trial will help inform its performance.

On traffic light determination, Ardern says the Ministry of Health will give advice and then Cabinet will decide.

4:33pm - Vaccine levels will play a role in determining what traffic light regions go into, but none will go into green, Ardern says.

"We don't want regions yo-yoing," she says.

Vaccine and case rates will be considered, and a level of 90 percent first doses will also play a role.

About 200,000 people are due their second dose, Ardern says.

She adds that regional travel restrictions won't be the norm, but perhaps localised lockdowns.

4:31pm - Ardern reiterates that it's just hairdressers and barbers part of the trial, and it doesn't include beauty salons.

4:29pm - On her trip to Auckland this week, Ardern says while it's being finalised, she hopes to meet with business representatives and focus on social service providers.

She adds that Auckland now has "certainty", with a date for the traffic light system.

4:27pm - On a potential case in a Tauranga rest home, Dr Bloomfield says he has no details.

4:26pm - At tangihanga and funerals, Ardern says funeral directors already support gathering limits - and marae have played a role too - and she believes it "will be no different" when it comes to vaccine certificates.

Ardern says she doesn't agree there will be backlash from Maori about how to farewell their loved ones.

4:24pm - Dr Bloomfield says the reason New Zealand doesn't publish the vaccination status of COVID deaths is because of a privacy issue, but he says this is something the Ministry of Health will look at.

4:21pm - Ardern was asked if she has any regrets about the communication of step changes.

She says it's more important that people understand the changes when they move into them.

She adds that they wanted to keep open the option of easing restrictions, and that's how they did it.

Ardern says the most important thing to communicate about new system is that if you're vaccinated, you can do most things - what varies is how large gatherings can be.

She says schools need to be watched because they can't be vaccinated, and guidance will be coming out this week.

4:17pm - On hairdressers again, Ardern says they looked at outdoor hospitality dining but it "wasn't a straight forward option".

4:15pm - Dr Bloomfield says the signs of Auckland reaching its COVID peak is "promising" and hospital admissions haven't been increasing.

He says it is a reflection of "good work" Aucklanders have been doing, and also the level of vaccinations.

4:11pm - "I know there will be some who have some anxiety about these changes," Ardern says, but promises the protection of lives and livelihoods is at the front of mind.

On hospitality, she says the reason they couldn't open in the trial is because hairdressers are smaller. Hospitality will be able to open on December 3.

4:10pm - Ardern urges people to get vaccinated before the traffic light system comes into effect, because those who are unvaccinated won't be able to do many things.

She says New Zealand would be 88 percent fully vaccinated if everyone who is eligible to get their second shot gets it.

4:09pm - Hairdressers and barbers in Auckland can open from this Thursday in Auckland in a vaccination certificate trial.

4:07pm - All of New Zealand will move to the new traffic light framework on December 2 at 11:59pm, Ardern says.

4:05pm - Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield have arrived.

Ardern says this week, the Government will lay out further information on the traffic light system and there will be extra guidance to help businesses prepare.

There will be a new 'assessment tool' for vaccine mandates for businesses, and a verifier app will be launched tomorrow for businesses who require people to be fully vaccinated to enter.

3:45pm - We are about 15 minutes away from the Government's update on Auckland's alert level.

You'll be able to watch that in the video player above, or you can follow along with updates on this page.

3:40pm - The Bay of Plenty DHB says it's currently experiencing an unprecedented demand for COVID-19 testing.

"They are working long hours processing thousands of tests as quickly as possible but, if you've had a test, it's important to know there may be some delays in receiving your results. We are asking for your understanding and patience while you wait please," says BOPDHB COVID-19 incident controller Trevor Richardson.

"As well as COVID-19 test results there may also be delays experienced for other regular laboratory testing, again due to the current high demand being placed on the system."

For people who haven't received their test result after five days, a BOPDHB Swab Results line has been set up on 0800 225 449. This will be manned between 9am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

"If you haven't had a test result after five days call this number. If it is less than five days, and you have not been contacted, it is likely that your test result is not back yet and we would ask you to continue to wait please," Richardson adds.

3:20pm - The following is an update from Waikato DHB on cases in the region:

There are 20 new cases being reported in Waikato today. Eight were from Te Kūiti, seven from Huntly, three from Hamilton, and one each from Ngāruawāhia and Ōtorohanga.  

This brings the total number of cases during this Waikato outbreak to 350 (187 active, 163 recovered). 

Testing sites are operating across Waikato today in Hamilton, Ōtorohanga, Huntly, Thames, Te Kūiti, Ngāruawāhia, Tokoroa and Putāruru. 

There were five new locations of interest identified yesterday in Te Kūiti and one in Hamilton.  

There were 2106 tests processed in Waikato yesterday and 639 vaccinations. The region passed 90 percent first doses yesterday. 

In the Waikato region, public health staff are now supporting 145 cases to isolate at home. 

Location and number of active cases:

  • Hamilton - 74 
  • Ōtorohanga - 36 
  • Te Kūiti - 26 
  • Huntly - 20 
  • Ngāruawāhia - 9 
  • Te Awamutu - 8 
  • Kāwhia - 4 
  • Te Kauwhata - 4 
  • Cambridge - 2 
  • Raglan - 2 
  • Thames - 1 
  • Tokoroa - 1.

2:40pm - An Auckland Councillor representing some of the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 says lower vaccination rates among Māori and Pasifika mean thousands are at risk of getting seriously sick - or being isolated from their loved ones this Christmas.

Manurewa-Papakura Ward Councillor Daniel Newman said data showing the number of Māori and Pacific people who are enrolled in a primary health organisation - but who have not yet received a vaccination against COVID-19 - is "alarming".

"[There are] 1900 Māori still to receive their first vaccination in Manurewa. Nearly 1400 in Papakura - 500 in Clendon and nearly 400 in Takanini," Newman said on Monday.

"For Pacific people the numbers are equally stark: 2100 in Manurewa, 600 in Papakura, 700 in Clendon, and 250 in Takanini.

"These numbers are small in the context of Auckland's regional population, but they are big numbers in small communities."

While other areas of New Zealand are well-protected with their high rates of vaccination, communities in south Auckland are still catching up, Newman said. 

"We've come a long way in the past nine months. But vaccination rates are not yet high enough. We do not have equitable vaccination coverage and there remains a significant gap between first and second dose uptake."

Vaccination work is intensifying in both Manurewa and Papakura prior to the move to the COVID-19 Protection Framework, he said. This weekend will include more vaccination events at both the Manurewa Marae and Papakura Marae on Saturday, as well as a two-day pop-up vaccination event in the Manurewa Town Centre.

Mobile vaccination campervans will also be deployed to targeted locations and will be supported with door-to-door volunteers and clinicians on street corners.Newman has also reached out to the Student Volunteer Army to assist with flyer distribution, and acknowledged the work of Pacific church leaders who are supporting vaccination efforts.

"Unvaccinated people are now facing greater pressure in the workplace, and the move to the traffic light system will only expose new and stark consequences in the form of exclusion from indoor events and gatherings due to their medical status," he said. 

"I desperately want to avoid having thousands of my constituents excluded from life and being left vulnerable to a virus for which they have no immunity. So we'll be pushing as hard as we can to round out November with a good bump in our local vaccination rates as we move into the new framework."

As of Monday, 92 percent of the eligible population under Counties Manukau District Health Board (DHB) have received their first dose and 85 percent are fully vaccinated - comparatively, 87 percent of those eligible under Waitemata DHB are fully vaccinated, while 90 percent of those under Auckland DHB are double-jabbed.

As of November 14, only 63 percent of Māori in Counties Manukau DHB were fully vaccinated and 75 percent of Pacific people were double-jabbed - meanwhile, 90 percent of non-Maori and non-Pacific residents were fully vaccinated.

2:25pm - Hawke's Bay is on the brink of reaching the 90 percent threshold for first doses of the vaccine, putting the region in good stead to allow more freedoms over the summer period, the District Health Board (DHB) said on Monday.

As of this weekend, 89 percent of Hawke's Bay's eligible population are now vaccinated with their first dose, with 79 percent fully vaccinated.

"With less than 1500 people to go for first dose coverage, we are extremely close to reaching 90 percent and 80 percent fully vaccinated," says Hawke's Bay DHB COVID-19 Senior Responsible Officer, Chris McKenna.

"We are so close. We just need to encourage those yet to be vaccinated, as well as remind those due their second dose, to get it done at one of the many clinics open daily across the region."

McKenna said almost 1000 people in the region were vaccinated over the weekend, with more than 350 receiving their first dose.

"Our Māori population led the way at the weekend making up 38 percent of these vaccinations, which takes Māori to 77 percent for first dose vaccinations.

"To achieve equity and encourage 90 percent across all ethnicity groups, our outreach clinics and community providers continue to open up various vaccination opportunities and incentives," she said.

Examples of providers working together to find new ways to vaccinate harder-to-reach communities include a mobile van clinic in Central Hawke's Bay this week, which will visit various places including Elsthorpe Hall (9am -11am) and Omakere Hall (1pm - 3pm) on Wednesday and Otane Market on Sunday (9am - 12pm).

"Vaccination is our best protection, so we need more people to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated to protect themselves, their whānau and their friends."

People can check (click on 'what's on where') for a full list of vaccination sites across Hawke's Bay, or head to or call 0800 28 29 26 to book.

2:15pm - Here are the latest locations of interest as of 2pm:

BP Connect, Tokoroa

Pak'nSave, Papamoa

Welcome Bay Pharmacy, Tauranga.

For the relevant dates, times, and public health advice, click here.

2pm - Here's a breakdown of Monday's key developments:

  • A person with COVID-19 has died at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital - a man in his 40s.
  • Eighty-five people are currently in hospital with the virus, six of whom are in intensive care or high dependency units.
  • There are 205 new cases to report - 175 in Auckland, 20 in Waikato, four in Northland, five in Bay of Plenty and one in Lakes.
  • A person has also tested positive in Palmerston North - the case will officially be included in Tuesday's figures.
  • Staff have deemed the public health risk associated with the Palmerston North case as low - the person has been isolating since November 17.
  • Anyone in Pahiatua - just east of Palmerston North - who has even the mildest of symptoms is encouraged to get tested, given the positive wastewater results in the area on November 15, 16 and 18.
  • Of the five new cases in the Bay of Plenty, four are linked to existing cases in Mount Maunganui. Investigations are underway to determine any possible links between the remaining case and other known infections.
  • The one new case in Lakes is a person in Taupō who is a close contact of a known case.
  • Of the four new cases in Northland, three are in Kaikohe and are linked to an existing case. The fourth is a border worker who has not yet been linked to a known case. 
  • Public health officials are today interviewing this case to determine whether they are a community case or a border-related case and to identify any locations of interest.
  • Of the 205 new cases, 102 have yet to be epidemiologically linked to existing infections.
  • The ministry has updated its position on the use of saliva for diagnostic testing for COVID-19, based on an updated review of the evidence and results of testing in New Zealand. This means saliva testing for surveillance purposes for some groups of workers can be reduced from twice-weekly to once a week, and there is no need for a follow-up nasopharyngeal swab to confirm a positive saliva test result.

1:45pm - Here's the Ministry of Health's update on testing:

We continue to urge anyone in New Zealand with COVID-related symptoms – no matter how mild – to get tested, even if they are vaccinated.

We also encourage people to take advantage of the weekend to get vaccinated, with many sites available nationwide.  

COVID-19 testing and vaccination site locations are available on the Healthpoint website.

Changes to saliva testing requirements

The ministry has updated its position on the use of saliva for diagnostic testing for COVID-19 based on an updated review of the evidence and results of testing in New Zealand.

This means saliva testing for surveillance purposes for some groups of workers can be reduced from twice-weekly to once a week - and there is no need for a follow-up nasopharyngeal swab to confirm a positive saliva test result.

The ministry's testing strategy is always led by public health and science advice. More information is available here.

1:44pm - Here's the Ministry of Health's regional breakdown on the new cases:

Auckland update

Today, there are 175 new cases to report in Auckland.

There are 18 community centres available for testing across Auckland today. The testing centres at Northcote, Balmoral, Otara and Wiri continue to operate extended hours to increase access to testing.

People in Auckland with symptoms, no matter how mild, are urged to get tested - even if they are vaccinated - and remain isolated until they return a negative result.

Public health staff are now supporting 4416 people to isolate at home around Auckland - this includes 1570 cases.

MidCentral update

Today we are reporting one new case in the MidCentral region. This case will be included in the official tally on Tuesday, as the case was notified after the morning cut-off on Monday.

This person is based in Palmerston North and is linked to a previously reported case. Public health staff have deemed the public health risk as low as this person has been isolating since November 17.

Any locations of interest will be uploaded to the Ministry of Health's webpage if and when they're identified.

Anyone in the Pahiatua area who has even the mildest of symptoms is encouraged to have a swab, given the positive wastewater results on November 15, 16 and 18.

The ministry continues to encourage testing for anyone with mild symptoms of COVID-19 across Horowhenua, Manawatū, and Tararua.  

For more information on testing locations across the region, please go to Healthpoint and check out Midcentral DHB Facebook page.

Yesterday there were 267 tests across the MidCentral region. For a full list of vaccination centres in the MidCentral region, please visit Healthpoint.

Waikato update

There are 20 new cases being reported in Waikato today. Testing sites are operating across Waikato today in Hamilton, Otorohanga, Huntly, Thames, Te Kuiti, Tokoroa, and Putaruru.

There were 2106 tests processed in Waikato yesterday and 639 vaccinations administered. Yesterday, the region passed 90 percent of the eligible population having had their first dose.

In the Waikato region, public health staff are now supporting 145 cases to isolate at home.

Bay of Plenty

There are five new cases being reported in the Bay of Plenty today. Four of these cases are linked to existing cases in Mount Maunganui. Investigations are underway into any possible links between the remaining case and known cases.

It is critical that anyone with any cold or flu symptoms gets tested as quickly as possible - maintaining a high rate of testing in the Bay of Plenty will help to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Testing locations for the Bay of Plenty can be found on the Healthpoint website. Case interviews continue to identify new locations of interest, which are being added regularly to the webpage.

Everyone who lives in or has travelled to the region is asked to monitor locations of interest daily and follow any advice given.


Today we are announcing one new case in Lakes. This case is in Taupō and is a close contact of a known case.

Anyone with COVID-related symptoms in the region is encouraged to get tested – even if the symptoms are mild. Testing is available today in Rotorua and Taupō.

Please check the Healthpoint website for details. Yesterday, 313 tests were carried out across the region.

Northland update

There are four new cases in Northland being reported today. Three of these are in Kaikohe and are linked to an existing case.

The fourth case is a border worker who has not yet been linked to a known case. Public health officials are today interviewing this case to determine whether they are a community or a border-related case, and to identify any locations of interest.

All active cases are being cared for in the community, except one person who is in Whangarei Hospital in a stable condition.

There were 361 swabs taken across Northland yesterday. There were also 177 vaccinations given, bringing Northland's cumulative total to 247,289. Vaccination clinics open in Northland today can be found here.

1:43pm - Another patient with COVID-19 has died.

Counties Manukau Health has informed the ministry of the death of a man in his 40s at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.

No further information will be released until conversations with the man’s family have concluded, the ministry said.

"Our thoughts are with the man's family and friends at this deeply sad time."

1:42pm - There are 205 new cases of COVID-19 to report today and one new death - a man in his 40s. Here's the full statement from the Ministry of Health:

More than 1.1 million My Vaccine Passes created; 205 cases; 85 in hospital - six in ICU; 1 death.

There were 9851 first and second vaccine doses administered yesterday, made up of 3079 first doses and 6772 second doses. To date, 91 percent of eligible people in New Zealand have had their first dose and 83 percent are fully vaccinated.

As of 9am today, about 1,128,000 requests for a My Vaccine Pass had been processed.

The system is operating smoothly, and capacity has been increased, so we encourage people to go to to book their My Vaccine Pass to be ready for summer.

The spread of COVID-19 cases to regions throughout New Zealand is a reminder that everyone needs to heed the advice that will help keep our communities as safe as possible. That includes ensuring you and your loved ones are fully vaccinated if eligible, get tested even if you have only mild symptoms, wear a mask, keep a safe distance from people outside your bubble, and keep track of your movements outside your home.

COVID-19 vaccine update


Total first and second vaccines administered to date (percentage of eligible people)

7,351,422: 3,842,059 first doses (91 pct); 3,509,363 second doses (83 pct)

Total first and second vaccines administered yesterday

9851: 3079 first doses; 6772 second doses

Māori (percentage of eligible people)

819,966: 452,720 first doses (79 pct); 367,246 second doses (64 pct)

Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people)

482,768: 256,567 first doses (89 pct); 226,201 second doses (79 pct)

Total first and second vaccines administered to Auckland residents yesterday

2493: 644 first doses; 1849 second doses

Vaccination rates by DHB (with active cases)


Northland DHB (percentage of  eligible people)

First doses (84 pct); second doses (74 pct)

Auckland metro DHBs (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (93 pct); second doses (87 pct)

Waikato DHB (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (90 pct); second doses (81 pct)

Bay of Plenty DHB (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (88 pct); second doses (78 pct)

Hawke's Bay DHB (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (89 pct); second doses (79 pct)

Lakes DHB (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (86 pct); second doses (76 pct)

Taranaki DHB (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (89 pct); second doses (78 pct)

MidCentral DHB (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (91 pct); second doses (82 pct)

Wairarapa DHB (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (91 pct); second doses (81 pct)

Capital and Coast DHB (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (94 pct); second doses (88 pct)

Canterbury DHB (percentage of eligible people)

First doses (94 pct); second doses (85 pct)



Cases in hospital

85: North Shore (20); Middlemore (22); Auckland (38); Whangarei (1); Waikato (4); – an increase of 2 hospitalisations on yesterday.

Vaccination status of current hospitalisations (Northern Region wards only as of 22 November)

Unvaccinated or not eligible (45 cases / 56 pct); partially vaccinated<14 days (9 cases / 11 pct) partially vaccinated >14 days (6 cases / 8 pct); fully vaccinated <14 days (1 case / 1 pct) fully vaccinated >14 days (17 cases / 21 pct); unknown (2 cases / 2 pct).

Average age of current hospitalisations


Cases in ICU or HDU




Seven day rolling average of community cases


Number of new community cases


Number of new cases identified          at the border

There are no new cases to report at the border.

Location of new community cases

Auckland (175), Waikato (20), Northland (4), Bay of Plenty (5), Lakes (1).

Location of community cases (total)

Auckland 6560 (2160 of whom have recovered); Waikato 351 (98 recovered); Wellington 18 (17 recovered); Northland 66 (28 recovered); Nelson/Marlborough 1 (recovered); Canterbury 7 (3 recovered); Taranaki 6; Lakes 22; MidCentral 3; Bay of Plenty 17; Wairarapa 3.  

Number of community cases (total)

7054 (in current community outbreak)*

Confirmed cases (total)


Historical cases

196 out of 8002 cases since 1 January

Cases infectious in the community

42 of yesterday's cases reported have exposure events

Cases in isolation throughout the period they were infectious

106 of yesterday's reported cases have no exposure events

Cases epidemiologically linked

103 of today's 149 new cases

Cases to be epidemiologically linked

102 of today's 205 new cases

Cases epidemiologically linked (total)

5361 (891 unlinked in the last 14 days)



Number of active contacts being managed (total):


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

69 pct

Percentage who have returned at least one result

47 pct

Locations of interest


Locations of interest (total)

148 (as at 10.00am, 22 November)



Number of tests (total)


Number of tests total (last 24 hours)


Tests processed in Auckland (last 24 hours)


Tests rolling average (last 7 days)


Testing centres in Auckland




Wastewater detections

No unexpected detections to report.  



Registered users (total)


Poster scans (total)


Manual diary entries (total)


Poster scans in 24 hours to midday yesterday


*One previously reported community case has been reclassified as a MIF case, resulting in a net increase of 204 cases in the outbreak.

1:15pm - We are still standing by for the Ministry of Health to release Monday's statement.

Meanwhile, the National Party's COVID-19 Response spokesperson, Chris Bishop, is lambasting the Government's decision to push through the legislation for the COVID-19 Protection Framework under urgency this week without the opportunity for public consultation, calling it an "outrageous abuse of power".

"The Prime Minister announced the traffic light framework on Friday, October 22 but, exactly a month later, there is no sign of the legislation required to actually implement it," Bishop said on Monday.

He claims the Government "clearly intends to use its Parliamentary majority" to push the legislation through "without any chance for public comment or scrutiny". He says the Opposition still has not been provided a copy of the legislation to understand what it entails

"Answers to my written questions reveal that drafting instructions for the legislation were actually only issued on October 27, five days after the framework was announced," he continued.

"The Government has signalled the legislation will be introduced on Tuesday under urgency. The Opposition has still not been provided a copy of the legislation to understand what it entails. With Parliament not sitting in the week starting November 29, the Bill will have to be passed through all stages this week for the legislation to take effect in early December.

"This is a truly shambolic and repugnant way to make law that will affect every New Zealander. To say the legislation is significant is an understatement. It will potentially affect the lives of every New Zealander, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, along with businesses both small and large. The traffic light framework will impact every Kiwi, during summer and beyond.

"It is critical Parliament gets this legislation right, but there seems little chance of that happening with the Government ramming it through under urgency and with no select committee scrutiny."

He added that the Ministry of Justice has also not provided a Bill of Rights analysis of the COVID-19 Protection Framework, calling it "an astounding oversight". 

12:45pm - There is no press conference at 1pm today - instead, the Ministry of Health will release a statement with the latest updates.

12:35pm - The Ministry of Health has updated its position on the use of saliva for diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

This means saliva testing for surveillance purposes for some groups of workers can be reduced from twice weekly to once a week, and there is no need for a follow-up nasopharyngeal swab to confirm a positive saliva test result, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Effective immediately, permitted workers crossing the alert level boundary - who have chosen saliva testing to meet their testing requirements - will only need one saliva test within a seven-day period, not two saliva tests.

From December 15 - the date Auckland's regional boundary will open - permitted workers will either need proof of vaccination or proof of a test taken no more than seven days prior to crossing the boundary.

Workers in education, the maritime sector and aviation can change from twice-weekly saliva testing to once a week when changes are made to the Required Testing Order, which the Ministry expects to complete by the end of November.

Until this time, the current testing regime remains unchanged for these groups.

There is no change to daily testing for staff at quarantine facilities and twice-weekly testing for staff at managed isolation facilities. When the Order is changed, occasional workers in managed isolation and quarantine facilities can also move to once a week for saliva testing.

There is no change to the current requirements for people crossing the boundary for reasons of permitted personal travel. In most cases, this means having evidence of a negative test 72 hours prior to travel. From December 15, for people crossing the boundary for personal reasons, proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative test result taken 72 hours before travel must be provided if stopped by police.

"The ministry's testing strategy is always led by public health and science advice. We are confident it will continue to keep border workers, their whānau and our communities safe."

12:25pm - Jin Russell, a developmental paediatrician in Auckland, has praised beachgoers on Auckland's North Shore for safely soaking up the sun on Sunday. 

"At Takapuna beach today, hundreds picnicking in the sun [with] masks in small bubbles. A speaker near us blasts Bollywood disco, tandoori on the barbie," she tweeted. 

"Good stuff out in Takapuna, Aucklanders. Today looking at the groups of Gen Zers hanging out in the sun and the beach breeze with their masks and sunscreen, making the most of this quite tough situation, feels like many people are just moving forwards."

She noted that some groups were not wearing their masks as they were eating and drinking - which is permitted - but those not partaking in picnics appeared to all be sticking to the rules.

12:15pm - The principal of Onekawa School says there is no risk of transmission after two students at the Napier primary were identified as close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

In an update to the school's Facebook on Sunday afternoon, Onekawa School principal Steve Bloor confirmed the two students have returned negative results.

"Public Health have been in contact with me this afternoon to confirm that the close contacts of this positive case are isolating and have returned negative tests," Bloor wrote.

As the close contacts have tested negative, he said health officials are confident there was no risk of transmission while the students were at school school week. 

"Public health will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further advice if needed," he said.

"I look forward to seeing our students tomorrow, and can assure you we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of students, staff and whānau."

12:10pm - There are several new locations of interest as of 12pm, spanning Rotorua, Mt Maunganui, Tokoroa and Putaruru - the first potential exposure site to be identified in the small Waikato town.

  • BP Connect, Mount Maunganui
  • The Bakehouse Cafe, Tokoroa
  • Putaruru Mini Mart, Putaruru
  • Coupland's Bakeries, Rotorua
  • Countdown Bayfair, Mount Manganui
  • Kmart, Rotorua.

For the relevant dates, times and public health advice, click here.

11:55am - To recap, 12 District Health Boards across the country have now reached the 90 percent first dose milestone - meaning 90 percent of their eligible populations have been vaccinated with their first jab against COVID-19.

11:50am - The country's largest network of healthcare providers has been given seven more days to comply with the mandatory vaccination order.

New Zealand Health Group would be standing down about 700 staff if the exemption wasn't granted, a loss that could impact around 3500 clients.

Currently, 94 percent of the organisation's workforce is vaccinated.

The group says it is supporting unvaccinated staff with the right resources and information, while working to replace staff who may ultimately be stood down.

11:40am - Police are still investigating whether COVID-19 restrictions were broken during an anti-lockdown protest in Auckland Domain on Saturday.

Auckland Museum closed for the day due to the demonstration, which was organised by the anti-lockdown and anti-mandate group, the Freedoms and Rights Coalition.

Destiny Church leader and the founder of the coalition, Brian Tamaki, addressed the protesters who congregated at the domain, despite a warning from the courts. Tamaki's bail conditions include not organising or attending protests that breach the current alert level 3 restrictions in Auckland.

Police declined to confirm to RNZ if any arrests have been made, but acknowledged they are investigating a possible breach of bail conditions.

11:30am - More than 50 percent of New Zealand's prisoners have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Corrections' latest figures show 58 percent of the prison population have received both doses.

As the prison population fluctuates daily due to arrests and releases, Corrections says it cannot set a specific vaccination target.

11:20am - The first NCEA and Scholarship exams have been sat on Monday morning, with an option for high school students in Auckland, Northland and parts of Waikato to take up 'unexpected event' grades due to the impacts of COVID-19.

The exams are beginning two weeks later than initially planned in recognition of the disruption caused by COVID-19 this year.

Students in areas that have endured alert level 3 restrictions, such as Auckland, parts of Waikato and Northland, are able to replace their exam results with 'unexpected event' grades.

It's understood some students will skip their exams entirely due to the stress of studying remotely.

Exams taking place on Monday morning include NCEA Level 1 Te Reo Rangatira and Level 2 physics. Exams conclude on December 14.

11:15am - Health officials and Government ministers are at odds over whether every household isolating with a case of COVID-19 case should have access to a pulse oximeter, a critical device which measures an individual's oxygen levels.

A pulse oximeter monitors how fast a heart beats and the level of oxygen in the blood. An ideal blood oxygen level is between 95 and 99 percent. If the oxygen level is 92 percent or less, the person is advised to seek urgent medical attention at an emergency department.

It is a potentially life-saving piece of equipment, and now many of the nearly 2500 Aucklanders isolating at home have one.

However, the messaging around pulse oximeters and who should receive one is unclear. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says not every single COVID-positive household receives a device, but the Ministry of Health says they do - while Health Minister Andrew Little says they don't necessarily, and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson says everyone does.

"People want them, and those people that do have them find them really reassuring. They know how to use them, and it helps them take charge and manage the illness," Papakura Marae GP Matire Harwood told RNZ.

Read more here.


11am - COVID-19 data modeller and commentator Professor Shaun Hendy says it's inevitable that opening Auckland's regional border next month will facilitate further spread of the virus.

The Te Punaha Matatini data modeller told RNZ that New Zealanders should be prepared to see COVID-19 crop up in other parts of the country once Auckland's boundary is lifted on December 15, allowing people to travel to and from the region.

"We've already seen that the virus has been marching south fairly steadily over the last few weeks. Once we have much larger movements of people and indeed, as we get into the holiday period - and you know Aucklanders do travel a lot during the holiday - we will get cases in the regions," Hendy told RNZ on Monday.

Hendy said cases do look to be stabilising in Auckland and the effective reproductive number of the virus, or R number, has been trending down, currently sitting at around 1.

"We want it to go well below 1 so that we actually have decreasing numbers, but you know at least we're at a point where maybe that outbreak in Auckland is stabilising."

He said that is largely due to the high rates of vaccination in Auckland - but people need to remember that not all regions are so highly vaccinated.

"Once Aucklanders do leave, that's potentially exposing populations that aren't as well protected to the virus, and that could lead to further small outbreaks in the regions," he warned.

"We do know that some parts of the country just haven't had the momentum behind the vaccination drive that we have in Auckland. It is more difficult in regions like Tairāwhiti [Gisborne] to get to a vaccination centre."

Like epidemiologist Michael Baker, Hendy says he would prefer Auckland to remain at alert level 3, step 2 until the new traffic light system is introduced, rather than moving to alert level 3, step 3 - a move which would see the stricken hospitality sector reopen, but at the risk of fuelling further transmission.

"I think at this stage I wouldn't take the extra risk of reopening hospitality when we're very close to what's going to be quite a complicated new system that we're going to have to get used to."

10:50am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she is confident that District Health Boards (DHBs) will be able to cope with the pressures of COVID-19 over the summer.

She says the areas expected to receive "the most significant number" of travellers over the holiday period have already been identified and DHBs have been "stress-tested".

"We've... already identified the areas where we have the most significant growth in population, they've been stress-testing those DHBs' COVID plans because they are the areas that have larger movements of people, to ensure that they are prepared for extra population in those areas," she told RNZ.

Ardern says she has heard concerns from some areas, particularly from community leaders in Northland, a region with lower rates of vaccination, regarding the return to interregional travel.

"The police are working closely with iwi around what we can do to allay some of those concerns," she said.

"Mostly of course that's coming from the concern of Auckland, but as you know we have put in expectations around the movement of Aucklanders and the vaccination and testing requirement should assist with that - and then it just becomes a matter of checks in the northern border."

10:35am - ACT leader David Seymour is calling on the Government to rethink its aversion to further relaxing restrictions in Auckland, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying a shift to alert level 3, step 3 ahead of the COVID-19 Protection Framework is "unlikely".

Under step 3 of the Government's roadmap for Auckland, hospitality venues, such as cafes, bars, and restaurants, would be able to open with a limit of 50 people. Facilities like cinemas, casinos, and theatres would also be allowed to open with a limit of 50 people in a defined space, as well as face coverings and 2-metre physical distancing. Close-contact businesses, like hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons, could also reopen, with workers wearing face coverings.

However, with the COVID-19 Protection Framework expected to take effect from early December, the Prime Minister says any additional shifts are "unlikely" in the lead-up to November 29, the day Cabinet will decide when New Zealand can enter the new system.

In a statement on Monday morning, Seymour argued that hairdressers and the hospitality sector should be able to open as part of the "transition" to the new framework.

"The restrictions are not there to help social cohesion. People follow the Government's restrictions if they make sense. Now the system doesn't make sense, and people are not following it. The right answer is to remove restrictions that don't make sense and rebuild trust in the Government's response," Seymour said.

He argues that allowing hospitality and close-contact businesses to reopen is safer than allowing groups of up to 25 to gather outside. Under step 2, up to 25 people can meet in an outdoor setting, with masks and social distancing - however, vaccination status is not taken into account.

"It would be safer for people to go to hospitality venues that are supervised and following the law than unofficial parties that are now widely reported. It would be safer for people to go to salons than have illicit underground haircuts that are also reported," Seymour said.

"The restrictions should not be kept while we await the traffic light system. If it's coming with certainty, let's make step 3 part of the transition. If it's uncertain, let's have step 3 while we wait."

10:10am - A leading epidemiologist has warned against opening Auckland's borders too early, saying New Zealand's vaccination rate should be 95 percent or higher before people are allowed to travel freely.

Last week, the Government confirmed that Auckland's regional boundary will open on December 15, allowing desperate Aucklanders to reunite with friends and family over the Christmas period after months of lockdown. The border will open both ways, meaning New Zealanders elsewhere will also be able to travel into Auckland over the summer. Travellers will either need to be fully vaccinated or have evidence of a negative test within three days prior to departure. 

Speaking to Newshub, Rod Jackson, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Auckland, said lifting the restrictions at the border too soon could see regions with lower vaccination rates, such as Northland, record a dramatic spike in cases - putting people at risk.

"You can see COVID-19 is already dribbling out of Auckland but it is being kept suppressed by high vaccination rates," Jackson told Newshub.

"As soon as we open Auckland's borders, the big concern is when it gets into pockets of the country where vaccination rates are low. If it gets into a population where the vaccination rates are lower, that is when we will potentially see a major upswing in cases," Jackson said.  

"I am behind Auckland going into the red traffic light [COVID-19 Protection Framework], but not opening the border yet - not until the rest of the country has a higher vaccination rate." 

Read more here.

10:05am - There is one new location of interest as of 10am - Pak'nSave in Rotorua.

Anyone who was at the supermarket on Monday, November 15 between 4:30pm and 7:15pm is asked to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days after the date of exposure.

For more public health advice, click here.

9:55am - In case you missed it, it's looking likely that Auckland's stricken hospitality sector will have to keep its doors shut for another week - after more than 100 days in lockdown. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told The AM Show on Monday that a shift to alert level 3, step 3 for Auckland - a move that would allow bars and restaurants to reopen - is not looking plausible. 

"For stage 3, we've said that we consider that to be unlikely," she said.  

"Cabinet takes a continual review of the settings for any part of the country that are in those higher restrictions. But because we are so close to flipping into the new framework, and because we have had a number of examples of easing, we want to just make sure that those are bedding in, that we're seeing those case numbers continue to be under control. 

"That bodes really well for us when we see the big easing that will happen after the 29th."

Read more here.

9:45am - Five police officers were injured in the Netherlands and at least 40 people detained across three provinces as violent protests against COVID-19 restrictions continued for a second night into Sunday.

Dutch authorities used a water cannon, dogs and mounted police to stop rioting youths, who set fires and threw fireworks in the worst disturbances since a full lockdown led to widespread disorder and more than 500 arrests in January.

The latest unrest began on Friday night in Rotterdam, where police opened fire on a crowd that had swelled to hundreds during a protest the city's mayor said had turned into "an orgy of violence".

Read more here.

9:30am - Anyone in the Hawke's Bay region presenting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 is urged to get tested, even if they are vaccinated.

A man who travelled to the region from Auckland has now tested positive and is isolating at Kennedy Park Resort in Napier.

"It's important anyone feeling unwell with symptoms goes and gets tested at one of the many locations available across our region," Hawke's Bay DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Rachel Eyre said on Sunday.

"Also if you haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet, there are lots of opportunities to get a vaccination this weekend."

COVID-19 testing and vaccination locations are available via Hawke's Bay DHB's website: 

Here's where you can get tested or vaccinated in Hawke's Bay today:

9:25am - The Ministry of Health has confirmed it is working with police to investigate the circumstances in which a man with COVID-19 travelled from Auckland to Hawke's Bay, Stuff reports.

The case was announced on Saturday and the man is now isolating at Kennedy Park Resort in Napier.

In a statement to its Facebook page on Sunday morning, Hawke's Bay District Health Board said the man had travelled to the region from Auckland with an exemption.

However, a Ministry of Health spokesman later said that health agencies are "working with police on the circumstances around the person's departure from Auckland". It's understood the person had been relocating.

A police spokesperson confirmed to Stuff that officers are working with health authorities, but there was no further information to provide.

According to the ministry, the man had a test prior to leaving Auckland, but departed before receiving his result.

It's understood the man has been in the region since at least Wednesday. The District Health Board didn't say when he arrived or when he tested positive.

On Sunday, it was confirmed the man's close contacts have so far tested negative.

The Ministry of Health said any locations of interest will be added to their website.

9:10am - In case you missed it, two-thirds of New Zealanders say they don't understand the Government's new COVID-19 Protection Framework and how the 'traffic light' system will work, according to the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll.

The poll also found a sizeable number of New Zealanders aren't sure about Aucklanders resuming interregional travel come December, with the regional boundary set to lift on December 15.

The Newshub-Reid Research poll asked, 'Should Aucklanders be allowed to cross the border for Christmas?' While a majority 56.7 percent said yes, 32.2 percent said no, and 11.1 percent didn't know - meaning 43.3 percent are unconvinced that Aucklanders should be allowed to move freely this festive season. 

The Newshub-Reid Research poll was conducted between November 10-17 with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Read more here.

8:55am - A man whose wife was in "deep distress" due to COVID-19 symptoms struggled to know when to call an ambulance as her oxygen readings appeared fine.

The man, his wife and their five children, aged from eight months to eight years old, have all contracted COVID-19 and have been isolating at home since November 1.

It was frightening to get the call they had tested positive, the man told RNZ, but the situation only got worse when his wife's health deteriorated.

"She couldn't even breathe to walk five steps. She was out of breath sitting down," the man said.

He was watching her pulse oximeter, a machine for monitoring oxygen levels, as he tried to decide what to do.

The information that came with the meter said to call an ambulance if the levels dropped below 95 - but they were reading as 96 and 97, he said.

When he eventually called an ambulance, the crew said the reading was wrong.

"Her oxygen was well below 90," the man said. "So we hadn't rung an ambulance when she was in deep distress."

Families are facing challenges as they care for infected relatives at home - read more here.

8:50am - A group of international students arrived in Australia from Singapore on Sunday after a nearly two-year absence as a travel bubble between the two countries came into effect.

Fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore are now allowed into Melbourne or Sydney without the need to quarantine as Australia gradually reopens its borders. The country shut out international arrivals in March 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia - which represents 39 universities - said the flights from Singapore marked the first arrival of international students in Australia since a small number returned in November last year.

"We understand these initial numbers are small, but they are a clear signal of the intent to allow many more students to return to classes and our communities soon."

Read more here.

8:45am - Leading epidemiologist Michael Baker is also concerned a move to alert level 3, step 3 for Auckland could "accelerate transmission".

Baker told the New Zealand Herald that relaxing the restrictions further could rapidly inflate the number of infections, given the final setting of the 'roadmap' allows Aucklanders to gather in a number of indoor environments where transmission is more likely.

"I would be much more concerned about alert level 3, step 3 - that has people going into a large number of indoor environments," Baker said.

However, the Prime Minister has already indicated the shift is "unlikely" given the nation is set to transition to the new 'traffic light' system in the coming weeks. 

Baker acknowledged that recent trends in the outbreak have been somewhat positive, with the number of cases appearing to "stabilise" over the last week at under 200 [a day], on average.

"The exponential curve we were on - we're not on it now, we appear to be on some sort of plateau," Baker said.

But he warned the plateau might dramatically increase if Auckland is hastily moved to level alert level 3, step 3 before the new framework comes into play. He told the Herald that in his view, Auckland should remain at its current settings - step 2.

A possible compromise could be allowing some businesses, such as hairdressers, to "trial" the new vaccine certificate system this week, he suggested. My Vaccine Pass was launched on Wednesday, allowing fully vaccinated Kiwis to download their vaccine certificate - an official document certifying its holder is double-jabbed.

The certificates are a crucial element of the upcoming COVID-19 Protection Framework - the majority of businesses, whether it be retail or hospitality, will not allow customers to enter without a vaccine pass. 

"They've talked about maybe doing a trial - that's a sensible approach," Baker said.

8:30am - Pacific health leader Dr Collin Tukuitonga believes staying at alert level 3, step 2 is the right decision for Auckland, noting that loosening the restrictions further could exacerbate the number of cases before the move to the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Speaking to TVNZ's Breakfast on Monday morning, Dr Tukuitonga said a shift to step 3 of the Government's roadmap - which the Prime Minister has already ruled as "unlikely" - would run the risk of more infections due to a heightened level of activity.

"That's always a recipe for more transmission," he said.

"You do, in fact, increase the spread both within Auckland, but also beyond the places where the cases are reported from now."

Tukuitonga said if the rate of vaccination continues to increase among young Māori in particular, he will feel more comfortable with fewer restrictions in play.

8:20am - Here's the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic from around the world overnight.

8:15am - Here are the new locations of interest as of 8am:

  • St Pierre's Sushi, Rotorua
  • Zest Bakery and Cafe Greerton, Tauranga
  • Buff Hair and Beauty, Tauranga South
  • Bakehouse Cafe and Roast, Turangi
  • McDonalds, Tauranga
  • Bayview Roast and Fish and Chips Shop, Tauranga
  • Welcome Sushi, Tauranga.

For the relevant dates, times, and public health advice, click here.

8:05am - Ardern has reiterated that a shift to alert level 3, step 3 for Auckland is "unlikely" given the COVID-19 Protection Framework is "so close" to being introduced. 

On Sunday night, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said a move to step 3 of the Government's 'roadmap' for Auckland did not appear to be on the cards - given that Cabinet is likely to shift the country into its new 'traffic light' system in the coming weeks. 

Cabinet will convene on November 29 to decide when the country can officially enter the new framework, which will scrap the need for the current alert level system.

Ardern told The AM Show on Monday morning that the transition to step 3 prior to Cabinet's announcement is "unlikely".

"For the stage 3, we've already said we consider that to be unlikely... because we are so close to flipping into the new framework, and because we've had a number of examples of [restrictions] easing, we're wanting to make sure that those are bedding in, that we're saying those case numbers continue to be under control," she said.

"That bodes really well for us, then when we see the big easing that will happen after the 29th - the day Cabinet meets and determines when the whole country will be in the new framework."

8am - Despite Newshub's latest Reid Research poll finding two-thirds of Kiwis don't understand the upcoming COVID-19 Protection Framework, Ardern said she expects the system will feel "very familiar" once it is in play.

Speaking to The AM Show on Monday morning, the Prime Minister said the system has similar aspects to the alert level framework, such as decreasing gathering caps associated with a decreasing level of risk. 

"I expect it will be quite simple," she said.

"If you're vaccinated and have your vaccine pass, then you can go about going to hospitality, going to the gym, going to all the things you used to do. For most people, it will be very simple." 

She noted that large-scale gatherings will have limits in the earlier stages, with events being capped at 100 attendees. 

7:55am - Speaking to The AM Show on Monday morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Cabinet is considering amending the Red setting of the 'traffic light' system to allow more people to gather for a wedding, in alignment with the current restrictions.

Currently, only 10 people will be permitted to gather at a wedding under the 'Red' setting if not all guests are fully vaccinated.

However, under alert level 3, step 2 in Auckland, up to 25 people can gather outdoors with masks and social distancing - regardless of whether or not they are all fully vaccinated.

"We're going to have a bit of consideration as to whether or not we need to bring that into alignment because at the moment, 25 people can gather outside - vaccinated or unvaccinated," Ardern told The AM Show.

"So a little bit of consideration we're giving at the moment as to whether or not to bring 'Red' into alignment with that."

7:45am - It's "unlikely" that Auckland will transition to alert level 3, step 3 prior to the COVID-19 Protection Framework, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister told the New Zealand Herald on Sunday night.

Auckland is currently at alert level 3, step 2, which has allowed retail to reopen and outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people to take place.

The Government introduced the three-step 'roadmap' for the region to gradually ease restrictions as the population became increasingly vaccinated.

But with Cabinet set to decide on November 29 when New Zealand will move to the 'traffic light' system - the COVID-19 Protection Framework - a move to step 3 of the roadmap doesn't appear to be on the cards.

"Cabinet checks in on alert level settings regularly. Given the recent move to step 2 and the reopening of schools last week - and the move to the new traffic light system soon after November 29 - it's unlikely there will be any further changes to steps made in between time," the spokesman told the Herald.

It's understood the nation will move to the new framework soon after Cabinet's meeting on November 29.

7:40am - Kia ora, good morning, and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak for Monday, November 22.