As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, November 2

The northern part of Northland is moving to alert level 3 from 11:59 tonight after two new cases aren't able to be linked to the outbreak yet.

It comes after 126 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday, 107 of which are in Auckland. Eighteen are in Waikato and one is in Northland.

What you need to know:

  • There are 126 new cases of COVID-19 to report on Tuesday - 107 in Auckland, 18 in Waikato and one in Northland
  • Seventy-five percent of eligible New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated, while Auckland is at 80 percent
  • The northern area of Northland is moving to level 3 at 11:59pm
  • Waikato is moving to step two of the Government's three-stage alert level 3 roadmap from Wednesday and Auckland will shift next week.
  • Tonga on Friday recorded its first case of COVID-19, a person who arrived from Christchurch earlier this week. The main island has now gone into lockdown
  • Click here for all the locations of interest.

These live updates have finished.

9:10pm - A traveller who arrived in New Zealand from Tuvalu has tested positive for COVID-19.

They arrived two weeks ago and returned a positive result after arriving in the country. They're currently in a managed isolation facility in Auckland.

Read the full story here.

8:35pm - Immunologist Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu says daily COVID-19 case numbers have shifted into three digits and could be the new normal for New Zealand.

"These high daily case numbers, rising unlinked mystery cases of unknown origin that continue to appear and remain unresolved, along with increasing numbers of hospitalisations, are occurring at a time when restrictions are being eased. Any sudden shifts reverting areas back into alert level 3 should be no surprise," she says.

"The good news is that vaccination rates for Aotearoa New Zealand have continued to improve, and this has been encouraging, with 75 percent of eligible New Zealanders aged 12 years and above, fully vaccinated along with 85 percent of eligible New Zealanders within the Auckland region."

But Sika-Paotonu says the vaccine targets for Māori and Pacific communities are just as important since they've borne the brunt of outbreaks in New Zealand.

"DHBs will need to ensure at least 90 to 95 percent full vaccinations for Māori and Pacific peoples to ensure no-one is left behind in Aotearoa New Zealand. This will help keep our most vulnerable communities safe from COVID-19 - and also includes protecting our children and young people," she says.

"Care and caution are still needed moving forward. Please get vaccinated, get tested, follow the Alert level rules and help others do the same."

8pm - Jacinda Ardern has confirmed she will visit Auckland now that Speaker Trevor Mallard has changed Parliament's COVID rules.

"With the Speaker removing the rule that was a barrier to me heading to Auckland, I'm now making plans to get there early next week."

7:45pm - Northland DHB is reminding people of the COVID-19 testing centres and vaccination clinics in the region that people can go to as parts of the area prepare for lockdown.

COVID-19 testing clinics open on November 3:

  • Kaitaia Hospital, Use the hospital driveway next to the car compound (9am-4pm)
  • Kaitaia Awanui Rugby Club (9am-2pm)
  • Rawene Hospital, Honey Street (9am-2pm)
  • Kerikeri, 1 Sammaree Place (9am-4pm)
  • Ōhaeawai Rugby Clubrooms (9am-5pm)
  • Dargaville Hospital (9am-3pm)
  • Whangārei, 20 Winger Crescent (9am-4pm)
  • Kaiwaka, Three Furlongs (10am-2pm).  

COVID-19 vaccination clinics open on November 3:

  • Kaitaia, The Old Warehouse Building (10am-5pm)
  • Waitomo Papakainga, Corner Puckey Ave & Bank St (2pm-5pm)
  • Ohaeawai Rugby Clubrooms (9am-7pm)
  • Moerewa, Simson Park (9am-5pm)
  • Kerikeri, Sammaree Place (10am-5pm)
  • Kaikohe Countdown (10am-4pm)
  • Whangarei, Northland Events Centre (10am-5pm)
  • Whangarei, 5 Walton Street (9am-4pm)
  • Dargaville, 22a Normanby St (10am-3pm).

7:15pm - Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles says the reason the northern part of Northland has moved into level 3 is because the strategy is still to try and eliminate COVID-19 from outside of Auckland.

"This will give officials time to try to understand where these people may have been exposed to the virus and whether there are undiagnosed cases in the region," she says.

"It is very important that people in the region get tested if they have any symptoms that could be COVID-19. It is also important that they get vaccinated if they are not already. The vaccine is very safe and very effective at protecting people from COVID-19."

Currently, Northland has given 79 percent of its eligible population the first dose of the vaccine and 65 percent are fully vaccinated.

6:30pm - ACT leader David Seymour says he's written to the Parliamentary Service chief executive and Speaker Trevor Mallard asking for saliva or rapid antigen testing to be widely available to staff and MPs at Parliament.

He says this comes in light of the Speaker's signalled change to drop isolation requirements for those coming to Parliament from alert level 3 areas.

"Parliament is not just politicians and journalists. There are innocent people there too, including about 500 security guards, cleaners, researchers and other staffers who deserve a safe workplace," Seymour says.

"A greater danger is spread of COVID from Parliament to the wider public. It is difficult to imagine a worse institution for spreading a virus than Parliament. People perfectly evenly distributed around the country come together and shout in the same room and then fly home each week."

Seymour says many businesses are already using these technologies and are taking advantage of rapid testing, and Parliament should adopt a "modern response" to COVID-19.

"ACT has suggested for the welfare of parliamentary staff and the public alike, Parliament should, independent of Government, get testing in place in order that the chance of an outbreak in or caused by Parliament can be reduced," he says.

"ACT has consistently called for better use of technology throughout this pandemic. For the sake of the wider country, Parliament should have this testing in place."

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

  • Wendy's Hamburgers Frankton, Hamilton, October 23 from 2:15pm to 2:30pm
  • Ōtorohanga Butchery & Home Kill Service, October 27 from 12:45pm to 12:50pm
  • Manaaki on 25 Cafe Kaitaia, October 29 from 8am to 8:45am.

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

5:56pm - The press conference has finished.

To recap:

  • The northern part of Northland is moving to level 3 at 11:59pm tonight
  • A boundary that separates level 2 and 3 areas will be put in place and monitored by police.

Full details of the alert level move can be read here.

5:53pm - Hipkins says it wasn't a political move to put the northern part of Northland into lockdown and keep the parts of the region Ardern visited earlier today in level 2, allowing her to travel out of the area.

5:50pm - Hipkins says it could be "quite some time" - possibly into January and February next year - before Northland reaches a 90 percent vaccination rate.

But he says it's been hard to model since it's difficult to predict walk-in vaccinations. He believes there are between 5000 and 6000 upcoming vaccine bookings.

5:46pm - The testing of the cases' close contacts has already come back negative, Dr Bloomfield says.

He says he received advice from public health that level 3 would help increase rates of testing to help try and fence-in any other cases stemming from these two.

5:42pm - Dr Bloomfield says a formal public health risk assessment was done this afternoon and there was "some debate" on whether there was a need to increase the alert level.

However, the origin of this case is unknown, which was the main reason for him.

5:39pm - Hipkins is urging people in Northland to get vaccinated over the next few days.

He says if people do this, then there's a chance they can reach the vaccine targets in the region.

5:37pm - The fact that this case is unlinked is the main reason for this move, Hipkins says.

He says there may be undetected transmission among the community and wants to find the link.

Ardern was in Northland earlier today, but Hipkins says she wasn't in the area of these two cases.

5:34pm - The northern part of Northland is going into level 3 from 11:59pm tonight.

A boundary will be put in place that will run through the centre of Hokianga Harbour to the Maungamuka junction on State Highway 1 to Kauai River Bridge on State Highway 10 and East Bay. Below that boundary line, the rest of Northland will remain at alert level 2.

5:33pm - Hipkins and Dr Bloomfield have arrived.

Hipkins says two new cases in Northland are not epidemiologically linked and haven't been near any locations of other Northland cases.

5:20pm - We are about 10 minutes away from Hipkins' press conference on Northland's alert levels.

You'll be able to watch that live in the video player above or by watching Three. This page will also be updated with any new information.

5:15pm - Speaker Trevor Mallard has agreed to change arrangements for MPs coming from COVID level 3 areas to Parliament.

The new requirement will be that members have the negative result of a COVID test taken not less than 72 hours before they left a level 3 area. 

"For the next sitting block House arrangements will be unchanged (i.e. 60 members max) and mask-wearing in the house and corridors will continue. The proxy voting arrangements will be unchanged so members coming to Wellington will be optional," Mallard says.

"I have asked the Parliamentary Service to investigate making available rapid antigen testing to attempt to keep staff safe."

He says that he encourages staff and regular visitors to get vaccinated to increase the options for and the speed of return to more normal arrangements.

5:10pm - There are several new locations of interest. They are:

  • Countdown Ōtorohanga, October 24 from 8:15am to 8:45am
  • Ōtorohanga Country & Fresh Fruits Vege Market, October 27 from 12:35pm to 12:40pm
  • Village Green Bakery & Cafe, Ōtorohanga, October 27 from 12:40pm to 12:45pm
  • Countdown Ōtorohanga, October 27 from 3pm to 3:15pm
  • Bunnings Silverdale, October 28 from 8:15am to 9:45am
  • Four Square Parakai, October 29 from 7:45am to 8:15am
  • Bells Produce Kaitaia, October 30 from 10:45am to 11:15am.

4:55pm - Countdown has announced people in all roles across the business must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 10, 2022.

Countdown's director of health, safety and wellbeing Kiri Hannifin says the proposed requirement is seen as an important next step as New Zealand adapts to the evolving COVID-19 situation and alert level systems. 

"As an essential service, supermarkets will be one of the very few places where proof of vaccination will not be a requirement of entry for the general public. That has the potential to pose a significant health and safety risk to our team and, as an employer, we must reduce that risk as much as we can," she says.

"The medical science is unequivocal - being vaccinated significantly reduces the risk of people contracting COVID-19 in the first place, from passing it on and from being hospitalised or becoming seriously ill from the virus. Our team members are our whānau and we want to make their workplace as safe as we can."

Countdown will undergo a consultation period with its team to understand any concerns they may have regarding the proposal, to gather feedback and to connect anyone who may be vaccine hesitant with independent health providers before making any final decision about its proposed policy.

4:40pm - COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins is going to hold a press conference on Northland's alert levels at 5:30pm.

We will livestream this and also provide any new updates on this page. It will also be broadcast on Three.

4:30pm - The University of Auckland will require all students, staff, and visitors to be fully vaccinated as a condition of being able to enter its campuses or to take part in face-to-face university-managed activities.

This policy will come into effect from January 4.

In a message to staff and students, Vice Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater says that consultation with students and staff and the development of a risk assessment framework had informed the decision, which she was confident had the support of a significant majority of the university community.

"This decision is firmly based on the health and well-being of our community and is in line with decisions the Government has announced for other industry sectors. It also follows the lead of similar leading universities around the globe," she says.

"We all very much want to return to a normal university experience for our students and staff, and we believe a vaccine policy such as this is the best way to keep everyone safe."

Freshwater says while they know some people will feel that it may impinge on their freedom of choice, the policy doesn't force anyone to get vaccinated - that is still a personal choice. 

"However, if you make that choice then you need to be aware that it will carry consequences and limit your ability to take part in university activities."

The decision will be reviewed regularly and will be revisited in full in June 2022, noting the rapidly changing environment and the increasing advances in the management of living with the pandemic globally.

 It covers all University of Auckland campuses including Tai Tokerau in Whāngarei, the Leigh Marine Laboratory, and Te Papa Ako o Tai Tonga in south Auckland. Entry into campuses includes all teaching and learning spaces (such as workshops, classes, labs, tutorials, meetings, noho marae, exams, and assessments), libraries, student services, student accommodation, gyms, counselling and health services, offices and research and related activity settings.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, November 2
Photo credit: Getty Images

4:15pm - There will be a 'Mega Vax Pacific' event at Mt Smart Stadium on November 12 to 14 from 9am to 5pm each day.

The aim is to vaccinate 10,000 Pacific people over three days.

The event is led by the Pacific Leadership Forum (PLF) with the goal of helping Auckland get to a 90 percent fully vaccinated rate.

The health provider administering the vaccination is South Seas Health Care.

The event is specifically for the Pacific communities of Auckland, namely Tonga, Samoa, Cook Island, Fiji, Rotuma, Niue, Kiribati, Tokelau, and Tuvalu.

3:50pm - New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is calling on the Government to start using the COVID hospitalisation rate and ICU numbers to make decisions and stop using the "increasingly irrelevant" community case numbers.

"University of Auckland emeritus professor of medicine Des Gorman has stated that the continued use by the Government of statistics such as the number of cases in the community is becoming 'superfluous'," he says.

"It was right in the beginning to focus on community cases to stop the spread, but we are in a position now to focus on ensuring our health system can handle any serious cases that may occur. It is no longer about whether people have the virus."

Peters says the purpose of vaccines is to ensure people in the community can live normal lives while COVID is present.

"We currently have forty-two COVID cases in hospitals across the country – with well over one and a half million people in lockdown," he says.

"Continuing to base lockdown decisions on increasingly irrelevant data is causing multiple unnecessary business and social disasters."

3:30pm - A new report from Auckland University of Technology shows how Kiwis have changed their internet use in response to lockdown.

More than half of the 2000 respondents say they increased their internet usage during the first lockdown of 2020 for the purposes of communication, information, entertainment, and financial transactions.

But the increase in internet activity during lockdown was largely temporary, with most users reporting their internet use returned to pre-lockdown levels soon after restrictions were lifted.

The survey also found a significant "digital user divide" with respect to income levels and age. Simply put, the lower the household income, the more likely it was that the respondent was not an internet user. 

Approximately 13 percent of those earning under $30,000 a year (the lowest household income) described themselves as non-users. In contrast, this figure ranged between 0-4 percent of higher income households.  

In terms of age, the proportion of non-users in the age ranges of 16-24 years and 55-64 years was between 2 and 5 per cent. Among older respondents (over 65 years), 16 percent reported they were non-users. When asked why they didn't use the internet, many said they "didn't see the purpose".

The report also found that over a quarter of non-users (28 percent) said that a better understanding of the internet and/or cheaper costs associated with internet access would help them become internet users. 

3pm - Unvaccinated Brits this year were more than 30 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the inoculated, new figures show. 

They were also three times more likely to die of any cause, according to analysis by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The UK has lost 140,000 people to COVID-19, about half of the deaths occurring last year and half this year. The ONS looked at cases reported between January 2 and September 24, 2021, and found the "weekly age-standardised mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19 were consistently lower for people who had received two vaccinations compared with one or no vaccinations". 

Read more here

2:45pm - Here's the latest update on vaccination rates in the Waikato region.

This data is accurate as of October 31 and is the latest available.

Territorial local authority 

1st doses 

2nd doses 

1st doses as a pct of eligible population 

Fully vaccinated as a pct of eligible population 


Hamilton City 



89.9 pct 

76.4 pct 


Hauraki District 



78.9 pct 

64.1 pct 


Matamata-Piako District 



84.4 pct 

68.4 pct 


Ōtorohanga District 



77.8 pct 

59.8 pct 


Ruapehu District 



77.6 pct 

59.5 pct 


South Waikato District 



79.6 pct 

60.2 pct 


Thames-Coromandel District 



84.1 pct 

73.2 pct 


Waikato District 



85.1 pct 

70.5 pct 


Waipa District 



90.7 pct 

76.3 pct 


Waitomo District 



86.3 pct 

66.7 pct 


Waikato region 



86.7 pct 

72.2 pct 

Vaccination data 

To date (as of 9:17am, November 2), 566,558 vaccinations have been delivered at sites in the Waikato. 

  • 308,955 first doses have been administered 

  • 257,570 second doses have been administered 

  • On November 1, 2401 vaccinations were delivered across the Waikato. 

2:30pm - Police have arrested a second person in connection with a gathering held at the Auckland Domain on Saturday, Superintendent Shanan Gray, relieving Auckland City District Commander, said on Tuesday.

Officers have arrested and charged a 57-year-old man with Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19) in relation to the event. The man will also appear before the Auckland District Court on Tuesday for breach of bail conditions.

"Police are not ruling out the possibility of further enforcement action as part of our investigation into the gathering, which was held in breach of the current alert level restrictions in Auckland," Gray said.

2:15pm - There are three new locations of interest as of 2pm, two of which are in Kaitaia. One is in Awanui.

They are:

  • The Awanui Hotel
  • Farmers, Kaitaia
  • Bells Produce, Kaitaia.

Anyone who was at the Awanui Hotel on Sunday, October 31 between 5:30pm and 7:30pm are asked to stay at home and get tested immediately, as well as five days after the date of exposure.

"Please continue to stay at home until you receive a negative day five test result."

Farmers and Bells Produce are the latest locations of interest in Kaitaia after two other businesses were identified more than a week ago on October 23.

Earlier on Tuesday, Countdown in Nawton, Hamilton was also identified as a location of interest.

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

2pm - Questions are being asked about when the Government will firm up supplies of paediatric vaccines, with an application from Pfizer due any day now.

Last week America's health regulator authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged five to 11 years - the first COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in young children in the US.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said an application from Pfizer to Medsafe was expected in the next two weeks.

"Our teams are already gathering the published research, anything that they can get their hands on, but they can't put a provisional approval forward or make a recommendation around that until they've had a formal application from Pfizer."

National Party COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop said with approval looming, details of actual supply should be a sure thing by now.

"It's really important that we get on an order the vaccine supply for five to 11-year-olds and frankly it's outrageous that we haven't yet," he said on Tuesday.

"I was told last week in Parliament by Chris Hipkins that he understood that our contract with Pfizer allows us to order them, so we should be doing that ASAP - and we should be trying to make sure we can roll out the vaccine to five to 11-year-olds before Christmas."

However, vaccinologist and Auckland University associate professor Helen Petousis-Harris was not so sure a mass rollout was required - or feasible - this side of Christmas.

Read more here.

1:55pm - Trust in the Government "to do anything that makes sense" is waning as Auckland's sticken hospitality sector faces more weeks of closed doors and no revenue.

Hospitality businesses are staring down the barrel of permanent closure as the region endures its eleventh week of lockdown, with wage subsidies and support payments offering little respite to struggling owners who are desperate to open their doors and welcome in customers. 

On Monday, the Government announced that Auckland will move to step two of the Government's 'roadmap', a three-stage plan to gradually guide the region out of lockdown restrictions, next Wednesday. Under step two, non-essential retail is allowed to reopen with masks and social distancing - however, hospitality is not included, with the Government offering little to no indication as to when trading will finally be able to resume.

Under step two of the phased reopening, Aucklanders will be allowed to browse library shelves, peruse art at museums, visit animals at the zoo and even host a backyard barbecue with two dozen, socially distanced friends - but going out to eat, even outdoors, is still verboten, despite the reduced risk of transmission in outdoor settings.

Following an emotionally charged interview with two prominent Auckland business owners, The AM Show host Ryan Bridge said it's evident Aucklanders are "stressed" and "mental health is up the bloody wazoo" in the Super City, the epicentre of the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

The first case of the highly infectious Delta variant was detected on August 17 - 11 weeks ago at the time of publishing. Auckland has been in some form of lockdown ever since, despite the gradual easing of restrictions under step one of the Government's roadmap.

"For those of you outside of Auckland, that is the reality - people are stressed. Mental health is up the bloody wazoo… the trust and frankly the faith in this Government to do anything that makes sense at this point is about that big," Bridge said, gesturing a tiny gap with his fingers.

Read more here.

1:45pm - The Prime Minister was forced to shut down a COVID-19 press conference in Northland within minutes after a heckler hijacked reporters' question time.

Jacinda Ardern had been speaking to media in Te Tai Tokerau on Tuesday after the Government announced a $23 million boost to community-led Māori vaccination campaigns.

But at least one person could be heard singing and chanting over the press conference and another jumped in on the press gallery's questions to ask if she could name the person who died from the vaccine.

"Forgive me, sir," she said as he continued speaking over her. "Sir, I'll direct questions among those who are attributed here to ask questions."

Read more here.

1:25pm - Here's the latest from the Ministry of Health: 

Today's cases

Two community cases reported on Monday were incorrectly classified and have been removed from the total community case count and added to the cases at the border.

One previously reported community case has been confirmed as a historical case.

One case was an MIQ worker which has been classified as a community case after investigation.

Northland update

There is one new case to report in Kaitaia in Northland today, who is a household member of the Northland case announced On Monday. This brings the region's total number of cases to 14, with three people now recovered.

All of the cases in Northland are isolating at home with public health oversight.

Public health interviews continue to identify new locations of interest and we ask people in Northland to check the Ministry's locations of interest webpage regularly, which is updated throughout the day. Each location of interest has corresponding advice.

Anyone in Northland who has any symptoms that could be COVID-19 is urged to get a test and remain at home until you receive a negative test result. Testing today is available at the following locations:

  • Kaitaia Hospital (via the driveway by the car compound) – 9am to 4pm
  • Rawene Hospital, Honey Street – 9am to 2pm
  • Kerikeri, 1 Sammaree Place – 9am to 4pm
  • Ôhaeawai Rugby Clubrooms – 9am to 5pm
  • Dargaville Hospital – 9am to 3pm
  • Whangârei – 20 Winger Crescent – 9am to 4pm
  • Kaiwaka - Three Furlongs – 10am to 2pm.

There were 1125 tests processed throughout Northland on Monday and 1161 vaccinations given.

Auckland update

Testing numbers across Auckland remain strong and public health staff are focusing on testing in areas with higher positivity rates.

People who have symptoms, no matter how mild, are being asked to get a test, especially if they live in the suburbs of Redvale, Rosedale, New Lynn, Wiri, Drury, Henderson and Manurewa. Even if people are vaccinated, they should get a test if they have symptoms that might be COVID-19.

There are 18 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today. For up-to-date information on testing locations in Auckland, visit Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

In Auckland, public health officials are now supporting 582 cases to safely isolate at home.

The safety and security of individuals with COVID-19 and their families remains paramount when people are isolating at home with public health oversight. If people can't safely isolate at home they may be moved to a managed isolation or quarantine facility.

Auckland care home

Two further staff members at Edmonton Meadows care home in Henderson have now tested positive for COVID-19.

The total number of active cases is now 12.

Today a mobile testing unit will be at the care home for further testing for the residents and staff of the care home.

Two of the COVID-19 -positive residents are receiving appropriate ward-level care at North Shore Hospital.

The care home continues to operate under alert level 3 guidelines for visitors, meaning people have only been able to visit the facility on compassionate grounds.    

As the source of the infection in the facility remains unknown, whole genome sequencing is underway.

Corrections facilities

The Ministry is also aware of a small number of COVID-19 cases in Auckland in Corrections custody.

These people were exposed to COVID-19 prior to coming into custody and are being managed appropriately to avoid any potential for the virus to spread to the prison population. There is no evidence of in-facility transmission to date.

The Department of Corrections has controls in place to minimise risks relating to the transmission of COVID-19, including health screening, separating all newly arrived prisoners for their first 14 days, testing prisoners for COVID-19 on days zero, five, and 12, and isolating suspected and confirmed cases.

Nationwide, 67 percent of prisoners have received their first dose and 50 percent are fully vaccinated. The prison population changes daily due to arrests and releases, and Corrections is carrying out significant work to encourage prisoners to be vaccinated.

Since the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, more than 500 people who have been released from custody have also been fully vaccinated while in prison. Meanwhile, 81 percent of prison-based staff have received their first dose and 66 percent are fully vaccinated.

Waikato update

Waikato confirmed a further 18 cases overnight, with six in Hamilton, five in Te Awamutu/Kihikihi, four in Ôtorohanga, two in Ngâruawahia, and one in Kawhia. All cases have been epidemiologically linked.

Public Health have confirmed that 14 were known contacts of previous cases and were already in isolation and in daily contact with Public Health.

A number of Waikato locations of interest have been identified in recent days and we encourage people to continue checking the Ministry of Health website for those locations.

As well as the permanent testing site in Hamilton, there are six pop-up testing sites operating today across the region today in Huntly, Ngâruawahia, Ôtorohanga, Te Awamutu and Hamilton.

Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms is asked to get tested, no matter how mild their symptoms may be. This advice is the same even if people are vaccinated.

There were 1430 tests processed throughout Waikato today and 2401 vaccinations given.

Christchurch update

There are no new cases to report again in Christchurch today. There are still the four active cases who are in quarantine and 22 locations of interest in Canterbury – no new locations have been added in recent days.

Test results from additional wastewater samples collected in Christchurch are expected on Wednesday.

To respond to the increase in demand for testing, Canterbury DHB has increased its testing capacity - with additional staff, extended operating hours at some testing centres and a pop-up COVID-19 community testing centre operating on Wednesday and Thursday this week (November 3 and 4) at the New Brighton Club.  This will be both a drive through and walk up clinic and will be open each day from 10am to 4pm.

The testing options available in the community currently provide adequate capacity throughout the region. Testing and vaccination sites are available across Canterbury today. Please see the Canterbury DHB website for site locations and hours.

Due to the recently reported cases in Canterbury, the Ministry encourages everyone in Canterbury, especially those in Christchurch with any symptoms, no matter how mild, gets tested.

On Monday there were 4345 COVID-19 vaccinations provided in Canterbury – 1170 first doses, 3160 second doses and 15 third doses.

Investigations into the case in Tonga continue there, including determining whether the person is a possible historical case.

1:20pm - There are 126 new community cases on Tuesday.

Of these, 107 are in Auckland, 18 are in Waikato and one is in Northland.

There are 59 of the 107 cases still to be linked, 

Forty-nine people are in hospital, down from 53 on Monday, with three in ICU or HDU.

COVID-19 vaccine update


Total vaccines administered to date (percentage of eligible people)

6,896,557: 3,716,740 first doses (88 pct); 3,179,817 second doses (76 pct)

Vaccines administered yesterday

27,473: 7,187 first doses; 20,286 second doses

Mâori (percentage of eligible people)

412,747 first doses (72 pct); 303,845 second doses (53 pct)

Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people)

244,702 first doses (85 pct); 198,665 second doses (69 pct)

Vaccines administered to Auckland residents yesterday

8,623: 2,007 first doses; 6,616 second doses

Vaccination rates by DHB (with active cases)


Northland DHB (percentage of eligible people

128,068 first doses (79 pct); 104,560 second doses (65 pct)

Auckland metro DHBs (percentage of eligible people

1,310,293 first doses (91 pct); 1,161,233 second doses (81 pct)

Waikato DHB (percentage of eligible people

310,408 first doses (87 pct); 259,827 second doses (73 pct)

Canterbury DHB (percentage of eligible people

441,511 first doses (91 pct); 359,535 second doses (74 pct)



Cases in hospital

49 (total, down from 53 yesterday): North Shore (17); Middlemore (12); Auckland (19); Waikato (1)

Average age of current hospitalisations


Cases in ICU or HDU




Number of new community cases*


Number of new cases identified at the border*


Location of new community cases

Auckland (107), Waikato (18), Northland (1)

Location of community cases (total)

Auckland 3,457 (1,645 of whom have recovered); Waikato 141 (38 of whom have recovered); Wellington 17 (all of whom have recovered); Northland 14 (3 of whom have recovered); Nelson/Marlborough 1 (recovered) Canterbury (4)

Number of community cases (total) *

3,634 (in current community outbreak)

Confirmed cases (total)


Historical cases*

182 out of 4,549 cases since 1 January

Cases infectious in the community **

47 of 161 cases reported yesterday have exposure events

Cases in isolation throughout the period they were infectious**

114 of 161 cases reported yesterday have no exposure events

Cases epidemiologically linked

67 of today's 126 cases

Cases to be epidemiologically linked

59 of today's 126 cases

Cases epidemiologically linked (total)

3,063 (in the current cluster) (432 unlinked from the past 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)

75 pct

Percentage who have returned at least one result

74 pct

Locations of interest


Locations of interest (total)

360 (as at 10am 2 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



Registered users (total)


Poster scans (total)


Manual diary entries (total)


Poster scans in 24 hours to midday yesterday


1:10pm - The press conference has restarted. You can watch it here.

1:05pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was holding a media stand-up in Northland, but has had to shut that down as a protester, seemingly speaking against vaccines, kept asking questions over the top of journalists.

12:40pm - Just a reminder there is no press conference on Tuesdays anymore. Instead we will get a media release from the Ministry of Health around 1pm.

12:30pm - We have one new location of interest:

  • Countdown Nawton, Hamilton - Tuesday, October 26 between 6:15pm and 6:45pm

12:15pm - Auckland and Waikato will shift to alert level 3 step 2, the Prime Minister announced on Monday, with the easing of restrictions coming amid high vaccination rates in both regions.

Waikato will move to level 3.2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday, with Auckland following suit a week later.

Both regions have for weeks been at alert level 3.1, which came with increased freedoms like two households being able to socialise outside, early learning centres to reopen and specialised healthcare to resume.

So what difference will the shift from level 3.1 to 3.2 make?

12:05pm - The ACT Party is repeating its call for a 'Vax Break', a $250 tax credit for anyone who gets vaccinated by December 1. 

"The fact is, life will be no better or worse for those not vaccinated if the country moves to the traffic light system. There is currently no incentive for them to get the jab. The problem is, everyone else is relying on them to get vaccinated before they can get free," David Seymour says.

"Under Alert Level 3 Step 2 in Auckland, you will be able to go to a shop, have contactless hospitality without vaccination, but won’t be able to get a haircut. If Auckland moves to Red as promised, things stay the same for those not vaccinated. 

"Under Alert Level 2 in the rest of the country, you can shop, go to bars, and have your hair cut without vaccination. If the rest of New Zealand moves to Orange, as promised, you’ll have to do contactless hospo only, and you won’t be able to get a haircut. You are better off staying unvaccinated."

11:55am - The Broadcasting Standards Authority says it has had its busiest years for complaints in more than a decade, largely down to COVID-19 and elections in New Zealand and the US.

In the year to June, it received 206 complaints, up 52 percent on the previous year. It issued 160 decisions, up 44 percent, with 15 complaints upheld and 13 orders made. The number of upholds was down from 16 the previous year.

Accuracy and balance, key standards for coverage of elections and an historic health pandemic, attracted the most complaints (97 and 68, respectively), followed by good taste and decency (59), fairness (55) and discrimination and denigration (46).

As with the year before, TV was the most complained about broadcaster type, with 115 complaints, while radio accounted for 76. News and current affairs was the programme genre to attract the most complaints (133, up from 88 in 2019/20), followed by radio/talkback (29, up from 23).

"The upsurge in complaints has come amid a period of enormous uncertainty in areas spanning health, politics, the environment and economy. This is a stressful time for communities and audiences, and the BSA is a pressure valve," said BSA chief executive Glen Scanlon.

"Throughout this time, broadcasters have played a vital role in informing and entertaining audiences and holding leaders to account."

Major decisions in 2020/21 included new guidance in March drawing a line under complaints about the use of te reo Māori in broadcasts. The Authority noted Māori was an official language whose use was protected and promoted by law and encouraged broadcasters to respond to complaints indicating that broadcasting in te reo it is not a breach of standards.

11:45am - NZHerald reports the Northland District Health Board as saying it is aware of a second COVID-19 case in the Kaitaia area in Northland. The case is in the household of the first. That takes the region's total to 14.

11:35am - Auckland is set to continue its path out of COVID-19 lockdowns, with authorities making an in-principle decision to slightly ease restrictions in the Super City next week.

In what will be its 13th week of lockdown, Auckland will still remain at alert level 3 - but will move to 'step 2' of the Government's three-step plan to ease restrictions. Waikato will move into that phase of easing restrictions on Wednesday.

But do you know what the 'alert level 3, step 2' rules are? Newshub has created a quiz to test your knowledge.

11:05am - An Auckland restaurant owner is warning there will be "carnage" in the hospitality industry if the Government doesn't allow venues to open their doors soon, or at least let them host outdoor dining. 

The Government on Monday said it's likely that next week the city will be able to move to level 3, step 2 - while this allows non-essential retail to open with distancing and masks, hospitality isn't included. 

Aucklanders will be allowed to browse library shelves, peruse art at museums, check out the monkeys at the zoo and even host a backyard BBQ with two dozen friends, but sitting down for a feed you've paid someone else to prepare - even outdoors - is still verboten. 

"We would have dearly loved to have been part of this level 3, step 2," Restaurant Association Auckland president Krishna Botica told The AM Show on Tuesday.

Read more here.

10:40am - Ōtorohanga Mayor Max Baxter says there are possibly four new cases of COVID-19 in the town on Tuesday. 

"I do not have locations of interest since the last update at 6pm last evening, that was posted by the Ministry of Health. Continue to treat every premise as if it is a location of interest, so carry on wearing face masks, social distance and sanitise. This is even more important now we are about to change to a new level.

"It was disappointing to hear late yesterday that the number of people being testing in Ōtorohanga has dropped off considerably in the last few days. Please if you are unwell, have any doubts or are worried please get tested."

10:35am - After nearly three months in lockdown, Auckland business owners are breathing a sigh of relief.

Cabinet has decided in principle to move the Super City to alert level 3 step 2 at 11:59pm next Tuesday.

It means shops, museums and libraries can reopen with mask-wearing and social distancing, and the outdoor gathering limit will be increased to 25.

Ponsonby's Shellshock Jewellery owner Merete Molving said she was over the moon with the decision.

Read more here.

10:15am - There is one new location of interest:

  • Pak'nSave Manukau -  Monday, October 25 between 10am and 6:30pm

10am - The owner of an iconic Auckland clothing store says it's taken "a bit of goodwill, a handful of sales, some Government money, a few prayers and hopes" not to go under during the longest lockdown of the pandemic to date.

It's not over yet, but the Government on Monday said it's likely that next week the city will be able to move to level 3, step 2 - allowing 'non-essential' retailers to open their doors. 

While health officials might not consider jeans essential, they're pretty important to Route 66 owner Todd Male. Like most other retailers the doors to his Newmarket store have been shut since mid-August, with only contactless sales under level 3 - a tough environment in which to sell tight-fitting clothing. 

"It hasn't been easy," Male told The AM Show on Tuesday. 

Read more here.

9:50am - The Ministry of Health on Monday began to change the way they report COVID-19 data daily.

Instead of starting with the latest case numbers, a vaccine update is given and hospitalisations are provided a spotlight. 

"The order of our daily numbers has changed from today, to better reflect the shift in New Zealand’s current response to COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination. This includes data showing our progress on reaching 90 percent fully vaccinated eligible people across Aotearoa."

On Sunday, 20,176 doses were administered nationally. Of those, 4867 were first doses and 15,303 second doses. In Auckland, 1302 first doses were administered and 5102 second doses. 

9:40am - Need a quick wrap of COVID-19 developments around the world overnight? Look no further.

From the Netherlands introducing new restrictions, to the US rolling out the Pfizer vaccine to children, here's everything you need to know

9:20am - There will be no press conference on Tuesday. Instead, a media release will be sent out at 1pm with the latest COVID-19 data. The Prime Minister will, however, be speaking in Northland in the afternoon. She's up there in an attempt to boost vaccination rates.

From this week, there won't be COVID press conferences on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The PM will do her usual post-Cabinet stand-up on Mondays, Chris Hipkins and Dr Ashley Bloomfield will front on Wednesdays, while Grant Robertson and Dr Caroline McElnay will feature on Fridays. 

9:10am - Here's the latest DHB by DHB vaccination rate breakdown. It includes doses up until Sunday night. Auckland's Counties Manukau is just 4773 first doses off the first 90 percent milestone. 

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, November 2

8:55am - Novavax and partner Serum Institute of India said on Monday (US time) they received emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia, making it the first approval anywhere in the world for Novavax.

Shares of Novavax rose about 11 percent before the opening bell after the company also said it had filed an application for emergency use for the vaccine to Canada and the European Medicines Agency.

For Indonesia, the shot will be manufactured by the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute, and sold under the Indian company's brand name, Covovax.

Read more here.

8:40am - The Government has approved $23.3 million for eight Māori organisations and iwi aimed at boosting Māori vaccination rates, through the new $120 million Māori Communities COVID-19 Fund.

This is part of the first $60m of the fund going towards vaccination rates, while the second $60m will support Māori and iwi-led initiatives to protect their communities against COVID-19.

Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson, on behalf of the Ministerial Oversight Group reviewing funding proposals, said the quality of the proposals supported the swift decision-making needed to accelerate vaccination rates for Māori.

"The task now is to put our foot on the pedal and reach Māori, particularly in high priority and low vaccination areas like Te Tai Tokerau, Counties Manukau, Lakes District, Taranaki and Tairāwhiti DHBs," Jackson said.

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, November 2

8:30am - Modeller Professor Shaun Hendy says cases could reach 300 a day going into December as a result of restrictions easing. 

"If we keep things as is, we’re expecting to see case numbers sort of level off between 200 to 300 per day, which is quite substantial, and definitely does put pressure on the health care system," he told RNZ.

"Now with these relaxations, we’d expect things to go even higher, and for those numbers to persist through the Christmas period and into next year."

Prof Hendy said he would have liked to have seen cases started to decline before easing restrictions. He fears cases will jump and a "sizeable outbreak". will be with us throughout summer. Officials also haven't seen the effect of letting senior students back to school last week, he said. 

According to modelling presented by the Director-General of Health on Monday, on the current trajectory and taking into account the effect of vaccines, cases will peak at 200 a day (or 1400 a week) near the end of November. 

8:20am - A declassified US intelligence report saying it was plausible that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a laboratory is unscientific and has no credibility, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a statement on Sunday.

The updated US intelligence briefing, published on Saturday, said that a natural origin and a lab leak were both plausible hypotheses to explain how SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, first infected humans, but that the truth may never be known

In a response on Sunday on the website of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang said "a lie repeated a thousand times is still a lie", adding that US intelligence services "have a reputation for fraud and deception".

Read more here.

8:05am - John Tamihere says the High Court's decision on Monday night that the Ministry of Health must reconsider its refusal to share Māori vaccination data with the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency is a "comprehensive victory". 

"The Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency has now vaccinated over 510,000 individuals, over 90 percent are non-Māori. All Kiwis know that we should have been given access to vaccinate Māori from the get go.

"To be constantly denied access to fulfill our obligations to our communities and to have to resort to litigation in the middle of a pandemic vaccination rollout is a disgrace and a blemish on any nations history book.

"We are in effect six weeks out from Christmas and we will not be able to meet the 90 percent uptake that other communities have been blessed to achieve because they had no obstacles placed in their way.

"The difficulty we find ourselves in, is based solely on the fact that we are Māori, we are brown and we are treated as second class citizens. That has to stop.

"This is a formidable decision that was forced upon what used to be called the Public Service and it is yet another rung on our ladder of Māori liberation. And so our nationhood story marches on."

7:55am - According to a report from Stuff, a landlord tried - and failed - to have a tenant evicted after they held a party during Auckland's alert level 4 lockdown. 

A neighbour who went to the property to ask for loud music to be turned down was allegedly verbally abused by a middle-aged woman the neighbour said did not live at the house. The woman then threw objects across the fence and tried to break down their door, according to the neighbour. 

The tenant said the woman had been invited to the property and agreed she "lost the plot" and is no longer welcome.

Stuff says the landlord's application to terminate the tenant's contract was dismissed as the Residential Tenancies Act requires tenants to demonstrate anti-social behaviour on three or more occasions. 

7:45am - The deadline is looming for caregivers to get their first vaccination and it's making some of those who rely upon them feel helpless.

The 'no jab, no job' health order requires this workforce to be fully vaccinated by January 2022, but that won't be enough time for Teina Boyd and her unvaccinated carers.

The Tauranga-based tetraplegic is reliant on her caregivers 24/7 and is fearing the worst.

"I struggle to understand how the Government can get a mandate on health care providers, which is already amazingly understaffed," she tells The Hui.

Read more here.

7:35am - A student at Fruitvale School in the west Auckland suburb of New Lynn has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a letter sent to the school community, the school's principal was notified on Saturday night that a child "in the 'Fruitvale Bubble School'" had received a positive result. 

"All of the families attending 'Bubble School' on the days that could possibly have been affected have now been contacted by email by ADHB and they will also be contacted as soon as possible by phone".

The letter says the children and their families will now self-isolate for two weeks and get tested. 

It says the school is following all protocols for bubble classes, the classroom will be deep cleaned, all impacted people have been contacted and future bubble classes will be held in different spaces.

7:20am - Speaking to The AM Show, Route 66 business owner Todd Male, says he is "semi-excited" and a "bit relieved" about the chance for retail to reopen next Wednesday. 

He says it hasn't been an easy lockdown, especially as it dragged on after the first six weeks. Male noticed lesser engagement from staff and there were "tough conversations" with suppliers he couldn't pay. But after speaking with his employees about their circumstances, he feels a lot closer to his staff despite not being together. 

Restaurant owner Krishna Botica says she would have liked to have seen hospitality back in action next week. She says the Government has missed the boat by not allowing outdoor dining. At the second step, 25 people can gather outside for picnics, but no outdoor dining is allowed.

She wants to see a fixed date for hospitality to return with vaccine certificates in play. Mid-November would be ideal, she says.

"It is really getting ridiculous now. We cannot sustain. We are going to see such carnage."

7am - Here's a reminder of the case summary on Monday - 162 new community cases is the most New Zealand has recorded in a single day. 

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, November 2

6:45am - Tonga is waking up to its first day in lockdown after a traveller from Christchurch tested positive on arrival in the island nation. While all contacts have tested negative, Tonga is not taking any chances. 

As Michael Morrah reports, the lockdown  will cover all of the main island Tongatapu and the nearby island group of Ha'apai and last a week. 

Teacher Talika Matangi says the lockdown will impact learning - but she hopes it won't be too disruptive.

"The senior students are on a student break. The juniors have their last exam this week so we have to delay it but it's not a harm as everyone is prepared for that."

The royal family in Tonga have been busy publicising the need to vaccinate, with various images of Princess Pilolevu receiving the Pfizer vaccine circulating on social media.

6:35am - There was interesting development late on Monday night when the High Court ordered the Ministry of Health to reconsider its decision not to share Māori vaccination data with the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.

Read more about that here.

6:25am - Auckland Airport will require all employees, visitors and contractors to be vaccinated before going onto a company worksite. Already, 98 percent of its staff are fully vaccinated.

"As we begin preparations for the easing of restrictions in Auckland and the return to the office for our non-front-line staff, we considered what measures we needed put in place to make sure everyone was as safe as possible at work," says general manager corporate services Mary-Liz Tuck. 

Having a really clear vaccination policy for all staff is part of the process. It's about ensuring everyone feels confident when they come to work, they are stepping into a workplace where their safety is taken seriously."

From 1 November, only those employees who are vaccinated can come into Auckland Airport workplaces or attend company events. The policy also applies to contractors entering Auckland Airport's infrastructure worksites. The company is also currently consulting airport-based organisations on a change to the Airport Workers' Rules to ensure all staff with airside (beyond security screening) access and those in customer-facing roles at the terminals be fully vaccinated by mid-December.

"While many of our staff are involved with the day-to-day running of the airport, as an infrastructure business lots are in roles that see them in working alongside a range of construction contractors building and maintaining the airport, which is why we extended the policy to include all sites at the airport that are visited by our employees," she said.

"The health impact of COVID-19 cannot be underestimated, and vaccination is a key tool in limiting the serious effects of this disease. It is important we put into practice the latest scientific and government health advice to protect not only our staff, but those around them – their workmates, whanau, and the wider community."

6:20am - RNZ has spoken to several retail shop owners about the Government's announcement on Monday that stores will be able to reopen next week. 

"Absolutely thrilled. Can't wait. I think that we've done really well Auckland, but can't wait to get back into business," Ponsonby's Shellshock Jewellery owner Merete Molving said.

She told RNZ she was a little worried about managing people wearing face coverings. 

"A little bit fearful about approaching people if they get too close, but I think most people actually know the rules, and I think people are going to naturally respect them."

The owner of Chambers Linen & Gifts, Erin Santoro, said she was nervous to reopen due to the number of COVID-19 cases. 

"It's really hard from a retail perspective to know whether we're going to get hit and it's going to go crazy and we're going to be emptied out, or, are people going to be cautious and wait? We just don't know what we're in for."

6:10am - A fully vaccinated teacher at the Henderson Living and Learning Family Centre has tested positive for COVID-19. The result came after surveillance testing on Friday.

"We were notified by the Ministry of Health on Sunday, that the time frame of interest was people that attended from Wednesday 27 October. 

"Since being notified on Saturday 30 October, the Family Centre employees and centre families were notified that evening, while awaiting further instructions from the Ministry of Health.

"The Ministry of Health contacted us on the Sunday, we worked with them to contact-trace and notify all those who were deemed close-contacts to be isolating as per the Ministry’s instructions. The centre is currently closed and will be undergoing a deep-clean on Tuesday. We have been advised that we can reopen 24 hours thereafter. 

"Those children and staff in the affected bubble will be isolating away from the centre for 14 days. All other team members on-site will be tested before returning to work in their respective bubbles that are re-opening. We will continue to operate under Alert Level 3 restrictions for Early Learning Services."

6am - Kia ora and welcome to Newshub's live updates for Tuesday.

There's been a lot of reaction to the Government's 'in principle' decision on Monday to allow restrictions to ease in Auckland from Tuesday night next week. The region will shift to the second step of the alert level 3 roadmap, meaning more people at outdoor gatherings, retail back in business with their doors opening and public facilities like museums able to open.

While cases continue to rise in Auckland, the Prime Minister said the loosening of rules was made possible due to high vaccination rates, with 80 percent of those eligible in the region fully vaccinated. She said advice suggests opening retail "doesn't lead to a marked increase of cases".

Here's some of the response:

Sunny Kaushal, chair of the Dairy and Business Owners Group, who wants to see hospitality reopened soon: "Retail and hospitality are peas in a pod... We don't think the government or the Prime Minister understands how bad things are for retail and hospitality under Alert Level 4". 

"It's why reopening retail without hospitality does not make sense.
There's little incentive to get into the shops if food and drink are
just a hole-in-the-wall experience. That's not how we're going to turn
this Delta disaster around that's cost small businesses in Auckland a
billion dollars."

Microbiologist associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles: "I am very nervous about the step down to Step 2 in Auckland as we have yet to see the full impact of senior students returning to school on transmission. Cases are still rising, and while we are being reassured that this is not going to overwhelm our health system, we need to remember that COVID-19 is a serious disease and many unvaccinated people who catch the virus will develop Long COVID.

"This will have serious consequences for their health and well-being. We also have to remember that there are people in our community who have been safely vaccinated but who haven't had a good immune response and so are still vulnerable to getting sick. 

"This is why it is so important that as Auckland moves to Step 2 that everyone does everything they can to reduce the chances of the virus transmitting. That means getting vaccinated if they aren't yet vaccinated, getting tested if they have symptoms even if vaccinated, and following the mask-wearing and distancing rules, again even if they are fully vaccinated.

"The data is very clear that wearing a mask will reduce the chances of the virus transmitting. But it needs to be worn covering the mouth and nose, not just the mouth or chin."

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois: "What we have is yet another short-term plan with no certainty around when our businesses can plan to reopen". 

“All we are asking for is a specific date around which our business can start planning, but once again we are left wanting.

"Our industry has been left behind in the three-step process and while retail is opening and outdoor gatherings can increase in size, hospitality remains closed.

"We have requested an opening of hospitality for outdoor dining at level 3.2 but are yet to receive a response to this suggestion.

"It doesn’t make much sense to business owners to see people picnicking in groups of 25 whilst smaller groups are unable to make use of outdoor dining areas in our venues.

"We implore the Government at this stage to give us a set date to work to. This will allow our businesses to plan with some certainty."

Greg Harford, Retail NZ chief executive: "The decision to allow retail to open comes after weeks of lockdown, but is in line with previous Government announcements.  Retail NZ would like to see Auckland open earlier, but is pleased that the Government has now committed to dates for opening."

"The re-opening of retail will provide a lifeline for many businesses that have been struggling to stay afloat, but the road to recovery will still be long and hard.  It’s important that businesses can get their doors open ahead of the busy Christmas season, but it won’t be business as usual in-store.  I’m asking all customers to wear masks, be patient and understand that everyone in retail is trying their best to deliver great products and services during difficult times.

"Retail NZ thanks the Government for listening to advice that our sector can open while mitigating health risks. Our sector is keen to work with Government on these issues and we look forward to further conversations in the coming days.

"Although it’s good news that most retail can now open, there are still other businesses whose doors remain firmly shuttered, and some of the rules really don’t make sense.  Physiotherapists are already open to customers, while spa and massage services must be closed, although the risk profile of these businesses is nearly identical.  Retail NZ hopes that the Government will move swiftly to Step 3 of the Auckland Roadmap in two weeks, so that other businesses are also able to open, subject to safety measures."

Modeller Professor Michael Plank: "In today’s announcement the government signalled it is moving towards a higher tolerance for cases of COVID-19 because high vaccination rates mean the risk of severe disease and hospitalisation of those cases is lower. This is true to an extent but we can’t afford to forget about cases altogether. 

"Vaccination weakens the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths, but doesn’t remove it altogether. If case numbers grow too high, it will translate into large numbers of people needing hospital treatment. 

"There are also other consequences of high cases, including pressure on primary care, health impacts from long covid, and disruption to schools and workplaces from illness. We need to look at the impacts of all these things from an equity point of view. Māori now account for 40-50% of cases in the current outbreak and will bear the brunt of any increase in community transmission.

"The modelling projections shown by Ashley Bloomfield today show case numbers peaking between 200 and 300 per day some time in the next 4-6 weeks as the vaccine gradually makes it harder for the virus to find new hosts, bringing the R number down. 

"This is a reasonable expectation, however other factors may affect case numbers over this period. Any easing of restrictions that allows more contacts between people will tend to push the R number back up and could cause cases to grow faster. 

"If our contact tracing system struggles to cope with demand that could mean cases accelerate. The planned move to step 2 next week may need to be revisited if there are signs this is happening."