As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, November 15

Waikato will move to alert level 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday, the Government has announced.

It comes after 173 new COVID-19 cases were reported: 163 in Auckland, seven in Waikato, two in Northland, and one in Taupō. A person has also tested positive in the Wairarapa town of Masterton, but will be officially added to the tally on Tuesday

What you need to know

  • There are 173 new cases to report on Monday - 163 in Auckland, seven in Waikato, two in Northland and one in Taupō.
  • Ninety people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care or high dependency units.
  • Eight-one percent of New Zealanders aged over 12 years are now fully vaccinated and 90 percent have received one dose.
  • A person has tested positive in the Wairarapa town of Masterton and will be officially recorded in Tuesday's numbers.
  • Waikato will move to level 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday.
  • Wellington City has fully vaccinated 90 percent of its eligible residents - the first city to hit that milestone.
  • A leading epidemiologist has suggested that New Zealand's 90 percent target is not enough, noting the number of unvaccinated children under the age of 12.
  • Twelve police staff are isolating after coming into contact with two cases in Rotorua.
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest locations of interest here.

These live updates have finished.

7:30pm - There are two new locations of interest. They are:

  • Chemist Warehouse Ronwood Centre Manukau, November 9 from 10am to 6:30pm
  • Chemist Warehouse Ronwood Centre Manukau, November 10 from 10am to 2pm.

6:30pm - National leader Judith Collins is questioning the timing of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's strong support for an early move into the new 'traffic light' COVID-19 framework.

At her press conference on Monday, Ardern confirmed that the Ministry of Health has advised her to consider moving to the new traffic light system earlier because it "provides greater protection" than the alert levels. 

"We set that high vaccination rate target and that has served us well," Ardern said. "Many DHBs are already hitting that 90 percent first dose, so there is the ability for us to get the best of both worlds - high vaccine rates, but the protection of this new framework."

Collins suspects the reason the Government has held off on moving to the new framework is because the work hadn't been done on vaccine certificates. 

"Strangely, today we have the new advice that actually, the traffic light system is more robust than the alert level system, so we should move to it early. The obvious question is, why didn't we simply move to it right away, when it was announced in October?" she says.

"What the Prime Minister can't say is that New Zealand couldn't have moved to a vaccine certificate system in October, or today, because Labour hasn't done the work needed to get certificates or legislation ready. 

"It seems the DHB target was a weird charade to buy time while vaccine certificates and enabling legislation was cobbled together."

Read the full story here.

6:15pm - Wellington City is 90 percent fully vaccinated, Capital and Coast DHB says.

"A massive thank you to all our hard-working vaccination teams and to everyone who has come forward to be vaccinated so far," they said in a tweet.

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

5:40pm - Dr Matthew Parry, president of the New Zealand Statistical Association, says as the number of COVID-19 cases grows, the number of people hospitalised will grow too.

"Based on the latest numbers, under 3 percent of our active cases (3569) are in hospital (90). Of those in hospital, under 10 percent are in ICU (7)," he says.

"However, since hospitalisation tends to lag positive test results by up to a week, we can expect the hospitalisation rate to be higher, perhaps closer to 4 percent."

Parry says while these rates compare favourably with those in New South Wales, we have to remember that they are at a different stage in their outbreak. Also, our hospitalisation rate might go up if we start seeing more cases among the older age groups.

Currently the median age for cases is about 26 but the median age for hospitalisation is about 44, he says.

"Fortunately, we can see in the data that vaccinated people who become infected with COVID are much less likely to end up in hospital. This means there will be downward pressure on the hospitalisation rate as the effect of more people being vaccinated kicks in," Parry says.

"Booster doses now being rolled out by the Government will be crucial to maintaining the protection against the risk of hospitalisation."

5:20pm - National's COVID-19 response spokesperson Chris Bishop says today's decision on COVID booster shots is positive but overdue.

"I have been raising the issue of COVID booster shots for months now and on August 22 Dr Bloomfield said that discussions were at a 'crucial stage'. It has taken the Government until mid-November to provide clarity about the pathway forward," he says.

"I get daily emails from border workers, doctors, nurses and older New Zealanders who are worried about their Pfizer vaccine effectiveness waning. New Zealand started the vaccine rollout in February, so many frontline border workers are already beyond the six-month point for their second dose.

"Today's announcement will be welcomed by many people but they will also wonder why it's taken so long, given many other countries have already started their booster regime."

Bishop says it's good that the Government has given up on the idea of using Novavax as a booster.

"Novavax may yet be approved here, but it has only been approved in one country and it has not been tested as a booster. It was always a risky strategy to rely on Novavax as a booster dose, so it is good the Government has seen sense and confirmed a third dose of Pfizer."

Chris Bishop.
Chris Bishop. Photo credit: Getty Images

5:05pm - The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists Toi Mata Hauora says it is pleased to see the Government moving quickly to roll out COVID booster shots.

ASMS executive director Sarah Dalton says many senior clinicians and frontline health workers who were vaccinated early this year were becoming increasingly concerned about waning COVID immunity.

She says today's announcement will come as a relief, especially with COVID spreading rapidly and the prospect of endemic COVID in the community.

"It's the right thing to do. Health staff are acutely aware of the need to access boosters so it's great that they now have certainty around that," Dalton says.

"For health staff who work in high-risk environments it's important to know that they are being offered basic protection to keep them, their patients and their families safe."

Dalton adds that easy access to booster shots is also essential and DHBs and other health services need to ensure that the booster vaccinations are available to staff at their worksites.

4:55pm - The press conference has finished. To briefly sum up:

  • Waikato is moving to alert level 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday
  • The Government has confirmed booster shots will be available to people who had their second vaccine at least six months ago.

4:47pm - Ardern was asked what's changed for the Ministry of Health to think about moving to the traffic light system earlier than 90 percent?

She says it was designed for the next stage of strategy. Experts said to aim for a vaccine rate as high as possible, but with cases moving outside of Auckland, the ministry thinks the traffic light system might be safer now.

4:43pm - Dr Bloomfield says November 26 is when people will be able to book their booster dose.

4:38pm - On the vaccine mandate, Dr Bloomfield says there's been 68 applications for exemptions.

A large provider was given an extension, he says.

There was no update on how many have been approved, and a small number will be given this approval, he says.

4:37pm - Ardern was asked how many school staff won't turn up tomorrow once the teacher mandate comes into force.

She says no schools have been unable to open due to it. Eleven schools of 2500 have a high-risk of staffing issues, and overall there's been four exemption applications.

4:35pm - On the Oranga Tamariki vaccine mandate, Dr Bloomfield says it applies to some staff, because on the health side it captures some care workers in clinical settings.

He says like other public agencies, there is a process they will go through for redeployment. Ardern says she doesn't think it would be widespread.

4:33pm - Ardern was asked about at-home isolation.

She says it's critical to have a good understanding of someone's medical history and a clinical assessment needs to happen early on - that's her expectation, but daily check-ins won't always be by a clinician.

4:30pm - Dr Bloomfield says vaccine certificates are on track, and this week they'll be downloadable.

Ardern says level 2 is still limiting some things, like how many people can be in a venue, but going forward, she says the traffic light system makes sense to have vaccinated people gathered together.

4:29pm - Ardern denies the pace of vaccine certificates have impacted how soon the traffic light system could come into effect.

Dr Bloomfield says advice to move into new framework early is based on level 2 posing a risk as COVID moves south.

4:28pm - Ardern says whether New Zealand would start at 'red' in the new framework would depend on health advice.

She accepts it's uncertain for events, which is why they announced the insurance scheme.

4:25pm - Ardern was asked if she's happy there will be two types of New Zealanders: vaccinated and unvaccinated.

She says she "wouldn't define it that way". She adds that New Zealand is "not alone" and the alternative is more restrictions for everyone.

4:24pm - The new framework is better suited for New Zealand's future, Ardern says, and the Government is talking to people who have helped the response so far.

4:22pm - Ardern says the reason why other regions with cases aren't in restrictions is because there are strong links is most cases, so no indication of a widespread outbreak.

She says they're being most careful about Wairarapa and Masterton cases due to visitors.

4:19pm - Ardern says the Ministry of Health is trying to make vaccine certificates accessible for those without ID but also to avoid fraudulent behavious.

She adds that she's given them a test run and it went smoothly.

4:18pm - Dr Bloomfield says vaccinations will help to reduce infection and the chance they will get unwell and die.

Ardern adds that mandates have been applied cautiously. 

Could lower vaccination areas be cut off? Ardern says the idea has been put to the Government, but they have to consider if it's actually feasible with so many entry points - but it's all under consideration.

4:16pm - Ardern says there was a strong view from the Ministry of Health to consider moving to the protection framework earlier, so this is something the Government is consulting on.

She adds that COVID-19 cases will be stamped out, contact tracted, and isolated, but there will be a change in approach. This will be that contact tracing will be used instead of lockdowns, with vaccination rates helping to keep cases lower.

4:13pm - Dr Bloomfield says advisors told him it was appropriate for Waikato to move to level 2, rather than to step level of level 3.

The option of step 3 was considered, but level 2 was "more simple".

Ardern says Waikato's alert level move is "short term", and points to the new framework expected to come in soon.

4:11pm - Ardern says New Zealand has avoided the worst of COVID, but "no country has escaped Delta".

She says "we bought time as we accelerated vaccination". While this worked considering New Zealand's comparatively low cases, she acknowledges there "will be different views" as we change approach.

4:08pm - New Zealand is among the most vaccinated countries in the world, Ardern says, and science shows boosters top up immunity levels back up to the mid-90 percent mark.

She says the vaccine isn't ineffective after six months, rather boosters bring immunity back up.

Ardern announced that free Pfizer booster shots will be available from November 29 for those who had their second dose six months ago.

4:06pm - Ardern says Cabinet is keen to move "very soon" into the new COVID Protection Framework, because it's designed for when COVID is in the community.

4:05pm - Waikato is moving to alert level 2 on Tuesday at 11:59pm.

4:04pm - Ardern and Dr Bloomfield have arrived.

She starts by giving an overview of the week ahead. On Wednesday, a date will be given for the Auckland border, schools reopen, and later this week, Kiwis will be told how to get a vaccine certificate.

Next Monday, there will be an alert level review for Auckland.

3:50pm - We're about 10 minutes away from the Government's alert level update for Waikato.

Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield will also give a general COVID-19 update.

You'll be able to watch their press conference from 4pm in the video player above or on Three.

3:30pm - National's COVID-19 response spokesperson Chris Bishop says New Zealand should be following Australia's lead and opening up to the rest of the world by scrapping MIQ for fully vaccinated travellers.

Travellers who are fully vaccinated no longer have to go into quarantine when arriving in New South Wales or Victoria.

"Australia is opening to the rest of the world while New Zealand retains its 'Fortress New Zealand' barriers that sees fully vaccinated Kiwis without any COVID spending seven days in MIQ and three days in self isolation before being allowed into the community," Bishop says.

"We now have the absurd situation of nearly 2000 people with COVID isolating at home while fully vaccinated travellers without any COVID are going into MIQ.

"As public health experts have recognised, it makes much more sense for people with COVID to be taking up quarantine rooms rather than people who don't have any COVID and who are fully vaccinated."

Bishop says National wants the Government to get rid of MIQ and that the current timeline of quarter one, 2022 is too late.

"Tens of thousands of Kiwis are stuck offshore, forced to endure the MIQ lottery just to come home to their own country. It doesn't have to be this way and the Government must act," Bishop says.

"Nearly 90,000 people have signed National's petition to end MIQ now. The Prime Minister needs to realise that she can't keep New Zealand locked away from the rest of the world forever. The time to open up has come and she needs to get on with it and follow Australia's lead."

3pm - With just two weeks left in November, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is being urged to confirm a date for the lifting of the Auckland border and set a 'Freedom Day' to enable Christmas planning. 

Auckland has been in lockdown for 13 weeks and during that time, checkpoints at the city's border have been in place in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 into other parts of New Zealand. 

But with more than 80 percent of the country fully vaccinated and cases of the virus confirmed in several regions beyond Auckland - Northland, Waikato, Rotorua and Tararua - the case for keeping Auckland cordoned off is wearing thin. 

Ardern has already promised Aucklanders the ability to travel over the Christmas period, and last Monday said she expected to "give an update on the date for the border reopening next week". 

"We don't expect Aucklanders to wait that long for confirmation of how the border will work or the date at which the border will reopen. We'll look to make decisions on that shortly," Ardern said at the time. 

Read more here.

2:45pm - ACT leader David Seymour has proposed a regular testing system as an alternative to COVID-19 vaccination mandates, which National's Judith Collins has described as "a complete flip-flop". 

The mandate for the education workforce came into effect on Monday, with all school staff now required to have at least one dose. All staff must be fully vaccinated by January 1.

While the ACT Party is pro-inoculation, Seymour believes there should be an alternative for those who are unwilling to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

"Mandates in specific sectors are a blunt way to lift overall rates, that should be done by an efficient roll-out boosting availability, and incentives. Regular testing can provide as much if not more reassurance to people encountering essential workers that they are safe," Seymour said on Monday. 

"ACT's preferred policy is to allow businesses to decide their own policy for vaccination; the option of regular testing as a substitute can be built into that."

But Opposition leader Judith Collins didn't seem too impressed.

"Well, number one he's changed his mind because he was all for mandating, so that's a complete flip-flop," she told Magic Talk on Monday.

Read more here.

2:35pm - The baby of a woman who was recorded as a case of COVID-19 on Sunday has died following a premature birth.

The woman and her partner both tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving at Rotorua Hospital.

Lakes District District Health Board chief executive, Nick Saville-Wood, told RNZ the young couple is going through an extremely difficult time. He said he is unable to provide additional details due to privacy reasons.

"Because the baby was born prematurely and our hospital doesn't look after that particular age group for those premature births, we transferred the baby up to Waikato Hospital," he said.

"The mother didn't go with the baby but we were talking to the mother this morning about potentially going up to see the baby."

He said the couple are from Auckland and are now isolating with a family member in Rotorua.

Read more here.

2:25pm - Here's the latest update on COVID-19 vaccinations in the Waikato region:

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 



91.8 pct 

82.0 pct 


Hauraki District 



81.9 pct 

71.6 pct 


Matamata-Piako District 



86.7 pct 

76.0 pct 


Ōtorohanga District 



80.1 pct 

67.8 pct 


Ruapehu District 



81.2 pct 

68.4 pct 


South Waikato  District 



82.8 pct 

68.3 pct 


Thames-Coromandel District 



85.8 pct 

77.0 pct 


Waikato District 



87.2 pct 

76.5 pct 


Waipa District 



92.1 pct 

83.0 pct 


Waitomo District 



89.4 pct 

74.7 pct 


Waikato region 



88.8 pct 

78.5 pct 

Reporting on vaccination rates at TLA level is provided by the Ministry of Health. This data is accurate as of 11:59pm on November 13, 2021 and is the latest available at TLA level.

Data at SA2 level (approximately equivalent to suburb) is available via the Ministry of Health.  

2:20pm - The Court system is currently in a state of crisis, says the National Party's spokesperson for Courts, Chris Penk.

In a statement on Monday, Penk said the ongoing lockdown has seen 47,000 court events adjourned, resulting in a backlog of 3000 jury trials.

"New Zealanders deserve access to the justice system in a timely fashion," he said.

In answers to Penk's written parliamentary questions, it was revealed that 27,970 criminal court cases and 656 civil court cases were postponed between August 18 and September 30.

He claims the Government failed to prepare the justice system for future lockdowns.

"Lockdowns have forced the postponement of court cases at all levels of the judicial system. We've also seen a postponement of a raft of tribunal cases, such as 1476 Dispute Tribunal cases having been postponed and 497 Tenancy Tribunal matters having required adjournment," he said.

"We knew COVID wasn't going away. We knew about Delta. This Government failed to prepare the justice system for future lockdowns."

He added that the Government has yet to make a decision on whether vaccination should be mandatory for those working at courts and tribunals, including witnesses and jurors. 

"This uncertainty is debilitating for a system already in crisis. The delays are now stretching far into the future with no end in sight.

"Every New Zealander has the right to their day in court in an assured and safe setting. The current delays in access to justice and uncertainty are frankly not good enough."

2:15pm - There are six new locations of interest as of 2pm:

  • Main entrance waiting area, Rotorua Hospital
  • Chemist Warehouse, Manukau
  • Emergency Department waiting room, Rotorua Hospital
  • Unichem Mackays Pharmacy, Stratford
  • Taupo Darts Club, Tauhara.

For relevant dates, times and advice, click here.

2pm - In case you missed it, Ngāti Toa has condemned the use of the Ka Mate haka by anti-vaccination protesters.

Ka Mate - best known as the haka performed pre-match by the All Blacks, who have been granted special permission to use the war dance - has recently been appropriated by anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protesters as demonstrations ramp up across the country.

In a statement on Monday, Ngāti Toa called on protesters to cease using the haka immediately, saying they do not wish for the iwi or Ka Mate to be affiliated with anti-vaccination views.

The iwi is issuing the call amid increasing concern over the use of the haka. A spokesperson said the iwi has also received reports that Brian Tamaki - the leader of Destiny Church and founder of the Freedom and Rights Coalition - is planning to teach Ka Mate to protesters to use in future demonstrations.

Read more here.

1:45pm - Here's a breakdown of the key developments on Monday:

  • There are 173 cases to report on Monday - 163 in Auckland, seven in Waikato, two in Northland and one in Taupō.
  • Ninety people with COVID-19 are currently in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care or high dependency units.
  • Of the 173 cases, 110 have yet to be epidemiologically linked to existing infections.
  • A person has tested positive in the Wairarapa town of Masterton - as the Ministry of Health was notified of the case after its 9am cut-off, it will be officially recorded on Tuesday.
  • A new case has also been detected in Taupō, which will be officially added to the tally on Tuesday.
  • The death of a woman in her 90s at North Shore Hospital has officially being added to New Zealand's figures.
  • There are no new cases to report in the Mid-Central DHB region - genome sequencing indicates the two cases in Tararua, reported on Sunday, are linked to the Waikato cluster. The cases remain in isolation in the same household.
  • There are three new cases in the Lakes District - two of the cases are in Rotorua and were first announced on Sunday. They have now been officially recorded in today's tally and are self-isolating in Auckland. The third is the new case in Taupō, who is a household contact of a known case and is isolating at home. They will be officially added to Tuesday's tally.
  • Six people have now tested positive in the Lakes District.
  • Regarding the new case in Masterton, public health officials believe the person tested positive early in the course of their infection and interviews are underway to determine possible exposure events and close contacts.
  • The two new cases in Northland are both residents of Kaitaia and are linked to existing cases. 
  • There are no new cases to report in Taranaki - all five close contacts of the six cases in Stratford have so far tested negative. 
  • Of the seven new cases in Waikato, three have been detected in Ōtorohanga, two have been detected in Hamilton, one has tested positive in Kawhia and one has tested positive in Huntly. Five are linked. Interviews with the remaining two cases are continuing to determine any links to existing cases.
  • The new case in Huntly is one of the two who have yet to be linked to existing infections. The person undergoes regular surveillance testing and therefore is not believed to be the cause of the recent detection of COVID-19 in the local wastewater catchment. 
  • One further resident of the Rosaria Rest Home in Avondale in Auckland has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of residents at the facility who have contracted the virus to four.

1:25pm - There are 173 new cases of COVID-19 to report on Monday. Here is the full statement from the Ministry of Health:

More than 7.2 million doses of vaccine now given; 90 people in hospital & 7 in ICU; 173 community cases

There were 14,638 vaccine doses administered on Sunday, made up of 4645 first doses and 9993 second doses. To date, 90 percent of eligible New Zealanders have had their first dose and 81 percent are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccine update


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

7,211,963: 3,798,124 first doses (90 pct); 3,413,839 second doses (81 pct)

Total first and second vaccines administered yesterday

14,638: 4,645 first doses; 9,993 second doses

Māori (percentage of eligible people)

785,874; 438,210 first doses (77 pct); 347,664 second doses (61 pct)

Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people)

471,141; 252,728 first doses (88 pct); 218,413 second doses (76 pct)

Total first and second vaccines administered to Auckland residents yesterday

4651: 1173 first doses; 3478 second doses

Vaccination rates by DHB (with active cases)


Northland DHB (percentage of eligible people)

248,088; 133,003 first doses (82 pct); 115,085 second doses (71 pct)

Auckland metro DHBs (percentage of eligible people)

2,558,079; 1,329,906 first doses (93 pct); 1,228,173 second doses (86 pct)

Waikato DHB (percentage of eligible people)

598,687; 317,565 first doses (89 pct); 281,122 second doses (79 pct)

Taranaki DHB (percentage of eligible people)

166,007; 89,079 first doses (87 pct); 76,928 second doses (75 pct)

Canterbury DHB (percentage of eligible people)

845,064; 450,710 first doses (93 pct); 394,354 second doses (82 pct)

Lakes DHB (percentage of eligible people)

148,384; 79,318 first doses (84 pct); 69,066 second doses (73 pct)

MidCentral DHB (percentage of eligible people)

255,200; 135,421 first doses (89 pct); 119,779 second doses (79 pct)



Cases in hospital

90; North Shore (26); Middlemore (21); Auckland (39); Waitakere (2); Whangarei (1); Waikato (1)

Vaccination status of current hospitalisations (Northern Region wards only)

Unvaccinated or not eligible (114 cases / 66 pct); partially vaccinated <14 days (11 cases / 6 pct) partially vaccinated >14 days (22 cases / 13  pct); fully vaccinated <14 days (4 cases / 2 pct) fully vaccinated >14 days (22 cases / 13 pct); unknown (5 cases / 6 pct)

Average age of current hospitalisations


Cases in ICU or HDU




Number of new community cases


Number of new cases identified at the border

One historical case

Location of new community cases

Auckland (163), Waikato (7), Northland (2), *Lakes (1),

Location of community cases (total)

Auckland 5429 (2,001 of whom have recovered); Northland 46 (15 of whom have recovered); Waikato 239 (85 of whom have recovered); Lakes 6; Taranaki 6; MidCentral 2; Wellington 17 (all of whom have recovered);

Nelson/Marlborough 1 (who has recovered); Canterbury 4 (3 of whom have recovered),

Number of community cases (total)

5751 (in current community outbreak)

Confirmed cases (total)


Historical cases

194 out of 6693 cases since 1 January

Cases infectious in the community

52 of the cases reported yesterday have exposure events

Cases in isolation throughout the period they were infectious

133 of the cases reported yesterday have no exposure events

Cases epidemiologically linked

63 of today's 173 cases

Cases to be epidemiologically linked

110 of today's 173 cases

Cases epidemiologically linked (total)

4426 (in the current cluster) (861 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)

72 pct

Percentage who have returned at least one result

  55 pct

Locations of interest


Locations of interest (total)

93 (as at 10am 15 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

See below



Registered users (total)


Poster scans (total)


Manual diary entries (total)


Poster scans in 24 hours to midday yesterday


Today's cases

Today we are reporting a new case in Wairarapa. See the below Wairarapa update for more detail. This has not been included in our official numbers as it came through after our 9am cut-off. The case will be officially recorded on Tuesday.

Today we are also announcing a new case in Taupō. This will be officially added to the case numbers on Tuesday.

The death of a woman in her 90s in North Shore Hospital, which we reported on Sunday, is officially being added to our numbers today.

We'd like to, again, extend our sympathies to this person's whānau at this deeply sad time.

Today we are officially recording two cases in Rotorua, which were first announced by the Ministry on Sunday.

MidCentral update

There are no new cases in the MidCentral DHB region to report today.

Interviews are continuing, but whole genome sequencing results indicate that the two cases reported on Sunday have links back to the Waikato cluster.

The cases remain in isolation in the same household.

MidCentral DHB would like to pass on its gratitude to local communities, particularly in Tararua, who have been tested already.

The Ministry is continuing to encourage testing for anyone with mild symptoms of COVID-19 in Tararua and ask people to check the locations on interest on the Ministry of Health's webpage.

Testing is available today at a number of locations, please go to and check out Midcentral DHB Facebook page for up to date information.

On Sunday, 698 tests were carried out across MidCentral.

On Sunday, 624 vaccines were administered across the region. For a full list of vaccination centres in the MidCentral region, please visit

Lakes update

Today we are reporting three cases of COVID-19 in the Lakes DHB region.

Two of these cases, in Rotorua, were first announced on Sunday by the Ministry and have been officially recorded today. In addition, there is a new case in Taupō to report.

The person, in Taupō, is a household contact of a known case and is isolating at home.

This takes the total number of cases in the Lakes district in this outbreak to six. The additional Taupō case was reported after the 9am cut-off and will be officially added to the case tally on Tuesday.

The two Rotorua cases, first reported on Sunday, are now self-isolating in Auckland with whānau support available to them.

We are encouraging anyone with COVID-related symptoms in the region to get tested. Testing is available today in Rotorua and Taupō. Please check the Healthpoint website for details.

On Sunday, 615 tests were carried out across the region and 1007 doses of the vaccine were administered, including 461 first doses and 546 second doses.

Across the region, 84 percent of people have had at least one dose of vaccine and 73 percent have had two doses.

As investigations continue, additional locations of interest at sites around the region and in Wairarapa will be added to the Ministry of Health's webpage if they are identified.

Wairarapa update

A positive test result has been received in the Wairarapa town of Masterton on Monday morning. It has come in after the Ministry's 9am cut-off and will be added to official numbers on Tuesday.

Local public health officials believe this case was found early in the course of their infection. They are carrying out interviews with the person today to identify any close contacts and exposure events.

People in Wairarapa are advised to check the Ministry's website for any locations of interest and if they have symptoms, even if they are mild and they are vaccinated, get a free COVID-19 test at your nearest medical practice. Please check the Healthpoint website for details.

Northland update

There are two cases to report in Northland today – both are in Kaitaia and both are linked to known cases.

We continue to urge anyone in Northland with COVID-19 symptoms – no matter how mild – to get tested. Testing locations in Northland can be found on the Northland DHB website.

Northland locations of interest continue to be reported, and we do ask people in Northland to check the Ministry of Health's webpage.

We're also encouraging anyone who visited Sacred Heart Dargaville church on November 7 between 9am and 10:30am to get tested today, and isolate at home until you receive a negative test result.

Testing is available in Dargaville today from 9am to 4pm at Dargaville Hospital.

There were 405 swabs taken throughout Northland on Sunday and 190 vaccines administered, including 94 first doses and 96 second doses.

Vaccination centres open in Northland today can be found on the Northland DHB website.


There are no new cases to report in Taranaki today. Testing levels remained high over the weekend and public health staff are continuing to encourage anyone with COVID-related symptoms, no matter how mild, to get tested.

All five close contacts of the Stratford cases have so far tested negative, and public health staff will be continuing to monitor close contacts and retest them if necessary.

There are a number of testing sites open today, including in Stratford, New Plymouth, Hāwera, Waitara and Ōpunake. Testing is free. For locations and times, please visit the DHB's website.

On Sunday, around 300 tests were carried out across Taranaki.

As of Sunday, 87 percent of the eligible people in Taranaki have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 76 percent have received a second dose. For Māori in Taranaki, 74 percent have had at least one dose, and 57 percent have received their second dose.

On Sunday, 1000 vaccines were administered across the region. For a full list of vaccination centres in Taranaki, visit TDHB - COVID-19 vaccine.

Waikato update

There are seven new cases to report in Waikato today. Three of the cases were from Ōtorohanga, two from Hamilton, one from Kawhia, and one from Huntly. Five of today's cases are linked. Interviews with the remaining two cases are continuing to determine any links to existing cases.

One of the unlinked cases is in Huntly and undergoes regular surveillance testing so isn't thought to explain the recent positive COVID-19 detection in wastewater in the area. However, interviews with the case today will also help discover any other potential cases in the area.

Three new locations of interest were added on Sunday in Hamilton, Ōtorohanga, and Te Kuiti.

There are four pop-up and dedicated testing sites operating across Waikato today in Hamilton, Te Kuiti, and Ōtorohanga, with GP practices offering testing across the Waikato, including Te Awamutu and Raglan. Please check the DHB's website for details.

There were 3331 tests processed in the region on Sunday - 1814 vaccinations were administered on Saturday and 876 on Sunday.

In the Waikato region, public health staff are now supporting 321 people to isolate at home, including 84 cases and 237 contacts.

Auckland update

There are 18 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today, while testing centres at Northcote, Balmoral, Wiri, and Ōtara are operating extended hours to increase access to testing in those areas.

We are continuing to urge anyone in Auckland who is displaying any symptoms, no matter how mild, to get tested - even if they are vaccinated - and remain isolated until they return a negative result.

Public health staff are now supporting 4,071 people to isolate at home around Auckland - this includes 1893 cases.

Auckland rest home

One further resident of the Rosaria Rest Home in Avondale has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of residents at the facility who have contracted the virus to four.

12:45pm - To recap, there is no press conference at 1pm today. The Ministry of Health will instead be releasing a statement with the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will front a post-Cabinet announcement at 4pm. She will be joined by the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

12:05pm - There will no press conference at 1pm today. Instead, the Ministry of Health will release a statement with the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak. The press release will be published to these updates as soon as it is available.

11:50am - Here's an update on the latest MIQ departure numbers:

  • Number of people eligible for release on Sunday: 2533
  • Auckland: 1649 people departed on Sunday, 76 departing on Monday
  • Hamilton: 69 people departed on Sunday, nil departing on Monday
  • Rotorua: 186 people departed on Sunday, nine departing on Monday
  • Wellington: nil
  • Christchurch: 530 people departed on Sunday, 14 departing on Monday
  • Total number of people released on Sunday: 2434
  • Number of people approved to stay another night in MIQ: 99.

11:45am - The former 14-day period new arrivals to New Zealand were required to complete in a managed isolation and quarantine facility (MIQ) has now officially halved.

The length of time international arrivals were required to spend in managed isolation halved from 14 days to seven days on Sunday. Following their seven days in a facility, new arrivals must continue to self-isolate until a negative day nine test result has been received.

Shortened stays in managed isolation are part of the Government's broader plan to re-open New Zealand safely and marks a significant milestone, joint head of MIQ, Brigadier Rose King, said on Monday.

"This is the next stage of evolution for us," she said. "Yesterday was a really big day for the staff in our facilities, it was among the biggest changes we have put into place since MIQ began."

Approximately 2500 people were eligible to leave on Sunday - about eight times more than staff would normally see depart each day.

"As we move to a shorter stay cycle, this means a higher turnover of returnees and therefore a corresponding increase in the need for health checks and tests, together with logistics and operational practices such as cleaning rooms and organising onward travel," King said.

When people leave MIQ to begin their self-isolation, they are required to travel directly to their home or accommodation using the fastest and most direct route without stopping. Private transportation is strongly recommended but public transport is permitted, as is travel to another region. If MIQ has transported people to another city for managed isolation, they will be transported back to their city of arrival.

"As with all New Zealanders, people leaving MIQ are required to abide by the rules around mask use, physical distancing and scanning," King said.

Once a returnee reaches their place of self-isolation, they are required to adhere to a number of requirements set by the Ministry of Health until they receive a negative day nine test, at which point they are safe to re-enter the community.

Ministry of Health Director of Public Health, Dr Caroline McElnay, says the public health risk of the shortened stay is low.

"With most people returning now reporting being fully vaccinated, the risk profile of international arrivals has changed. They're now considered at low risk of spreading COVID-19 and positive cases are mostly picked up within seven days of arriving in MIQ.

"Also, international evidence increasingly suggests that increased frequency of testing helps manage the public health risks associated with the shorter stay.

"As well as having a pre-departure test, international arrivals will be tested in MIQ on day zero/one, day three, and day five/six. They will also get a PCR test on day nine of their self-isolation and must stay in self-isolation until a negative result comes back. This is compulsory and will be tracked through an automated system."

While in self-isolation, people cannot leave their home or accommodation for any reason other than to get their day nine test. They must maintain physical distancing from any others in the household and no visitors are permitted. All deliveries must be contactless. They will be given detailed guidance, which is also available on the Ministry of Health website.

11:35am - Even when 90 percent of all eligible residents across all District Health Boards are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one in four New Zealanders will still be without protection due to their age or unwillingness to get the jab.

About 15 percent - three out of every 20 New Zealanders - are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Newborns, toddlers and young children up to the age of 11 cannot receive the jab, although the vaccine is likely to become available for five-to-11-year-olds next year.

Speaking to RNZ, epidemiologist Rod Jackson said he believes the 90 percent target isn't "anywhere near enough".

"With Delta, it's so contagious, we believe everyone is either going to get vaccinated or get COVID-19. So I didn't think it was anywhere near enough," he told RNZ.

Even if 90 percent of New Zealanders aged 12 and over get both doses of the vaccine, a quarter of the country will still be unprotected - and Jackson says this poses a serious problem.

"We're going to see pockets - certainly households, but I think communities - where you might be lucky to get 50 percent vaccinated. I'm really concerned that we're going to see some major outbreaks that are going to overwhelm local and indeed national health services."

Roughly 90 percent of the eligible population of Ireland, a nation with a similar-sized population to New Zealand, are now fully vaccinated. However, more than 50 people are currently dying every week from the virus.

Applying that to New Zealand, COVID-19 would become the third highest cause of death behind only cancer and heart disease.

"I talked to my colleagues in Ireland and I asked them, 'How did you get to such high vaccination levels?' and they said the number one motivator was fear. People were terrified, almost everyone had someone in their family who'd died. The number two motivation was mandates," Jackson said.

But COVID-19 data modeller, Professor Michael Plank, told RNZ the solution is not as simple as vaccinating children as soon as possible. 

"We need to be very, very sure that there is a benefit to children for them to be vaccinated, rather than just using them as a means to an end to make life easier for adults. So I think that's a process that still needs to be worked through," he said. "It will certainly be interesting to see in countries like the US, where they have started using the vaccine in that age group now, what effect that has on transmission."

He says there is no 'magic number' when it comes to vaccination, however, the experts agree that the higher the proportion of vaccinated people, the better - and the best thing people can do for their own protection is to get both doses.

11:20am - ACT leader David Seymour is calling on Jacinda Ardern to provide clear advice and commitments regarding Auckland's border, booster shots and 'Freedom Day'.

In a statement on Monday, the Epsom MP called on the Prime Minister to outline clear pathways forward to provide greater certainty for New Zealanders, claiming the Government has given mixed signals on the possibility of 'Freedom Day' and when the country will move into the COVID-19 Protection Framework. 

"The Prime Minister should set out what will happen and when, then state clearly if there are any scenarios that could get in the way," Seymour said.

He cited mixed messages from Ardern, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and Health Minister Andrew Little over recent days. 

"Today is a great opportunity for the Prime Minister to show leadership about WHEN New Zealand will move, and what if any exceptions should be made. It would make more sense to close off Northland than to keep the highly vaccinated Auckland bordered off," he said.

"What we need is certainty. Cabinet is the perfect time for Ardern, Robertson, Hipkins and Little to finally get on the same page. Decide what is happening, try to agree with each other and communicate it clearly and definitively to all New Zealanders.

"While they're there, they should also state what New Zealand's position is on boosters. They need to answer the simple question: After how many months will boosters be available, and after how many months will they be deemed essential? Put another way, what is the booster window?

"There is no reason not to answer such a question, if the Government can't it should say why."

11:10am - Primary schools in Auckland and Waikato are set to return to the classroom this week as the vaccination mandate kicks into gear for the education workforce.

Educators are required to have at least one dose of the vaccine by November 15 and the second by January 1.

But one deputy principal, Gina Rosendaal, told The AM Show there's been very little guidance on the mandate from the Government - and it has been a rollercoaster for the workforce. 

"We're really looking forward to having our tamariki back with us, but we're still not going to have all of us... and that's really sad," Rosendaal, from Waikato's Waeranga School, said on Monday.

"At the end of the day, we have got children coming back who are not going to have their teacher in their class and I am really surprised at the Prime Minister this morning when she was talking, saying that there's going to be little effect. The thing is, this is a calculated move by the Government, these mandates." 

Rosendaal fears a number of schools will encounter staffing shortages due to the mandates.

"The ripple effect on our tamariki from this is not going to be known for probably another 12 months," Rosendaal said.

Read more here.

11am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern doubts there will be a large number of resignations as the vaccination mandates commences for the education workforce.

The mandate for the education sector came into effect on Monday. Under orders announced by the Government last month, all staff are required to have their first dose by November 15.

Speaking to The AM Show, Ardern said as far as she's aware, no school has applied to the Ministry of Education for an exemption.

"[An exemption application] hasn't happened, that we've been advised, from any schools - so that indicates that while there may be staff affected, the impacts of those have been able to be managed," Ardern told The AM Show.

It comes after Fire and Emergency New Zealand last week was granted a two-week extension to get its workforce vaccinated.

Read more here.

10:55am - Broadcaster Duncan Garner says he has contracted COVID-19 and is awaiting his test result.

"A few days ago, I woke up, but my body refused to move in any direction. I had a headache, my body was aching like something would break if I moved suddenly, and I had a frog in my throat," Garner wrote in his column for NBR

Read more here.

10:50am - The total number of people crossing New Zealand's border in September 2021 was the lowest since May last year, Stats NZ said on Monday.

There were 16,100 border crossings in September 2021 (down from 41,300 in August), comprising 8200 arrivals and 7900 departures. It marks the lowest number of monthly arrivals since May 2020 and the lowest number of departures for any month since September 1961.

"Pauses to quarantine-free travel with Australia and the Cook Islands have seen total border crossings fall to levels last seen in May 2020, early in the pandemic," population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said on Monday.

Provisional data for October 2021 shows a small increase in both arrivals and departures. This coincides with the opening of one-way, quarantine-free travel for workers from Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga, as part of the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

Visitor arrivals lowest since May 2020

There were 2300 overseas visitor arrivals in September 2021, the lowest number since May 2020. The countries where most visitors came from were the United States, Great Britain, India, and Russia.

Overseas visitors to New Zealand in September 2021 included members of international Antarctic programmes and fishing industry crew, among others (see group allocations), along with New Zealand citizens who live overseas.

New Zealand-resident arrivals

There were 3200 New Zealand residents returning from trips overseas in September 2021. The main countries people returned from were the United Kingdom, United States, Cook Islands, and India. Over half indicated their trip overseas was to visit friends or relatives.

"COVID-19 travel and border restrictions have changed short-term travel patterns. For example, September 2021 was the first month the USA has led visitor arrivals since October 1988, and the first month that the United Kingdom has led New Zealand resident arrivals," Islam said.

10:30am - Ngāti Toa iwi is condemning the use of the Ka Mate haka to promote anti-vaccination messages.

With an increase in anti-vaccination protests across the motu, Ngāti Toa - an iwi based in the southern North Island and in the northern South Island - are calling on demonstrators to stop using Ka Mate immediately.

"As the descendants of Te Rauparaha, we insist that protesters stop using our taonga immediately," Pou Tikanga, Dr Taku Parai, said on Monday. "We do not support their position and we do not want our tupuna or our iwi associated with their messages."

Dr Parai says they have witnessed the use of the haka at recent anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protests. He says members of the public have also alerted the iwi to reports that Destiny Church leader, Brian Tamaki, is planning to teach Ka Mate to attendees of future anti-vaccination demonstrations.

"Ngāti Toa has been proactive in the protection of our whānau against COVID-19 with our Ora Toa Health Services being a major provider of COVID-19 vaccinations across our rohe," Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira CEO, Helmut Modlik, said on Monday.

"Many of our tupuna lost their lives in previous pandemics and our iwi suffered greatly. We are absolutely clear that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection we have available to us, and we are committed to supporting our whānau to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"Protests are promoting the views of individuals ahead of the needs of collective whānau. In our view, this is not rangatiratanga and we are confident that our tupuna would agree with our stance."

"Our message to protesters who wish to use Ka Mate is to use a different haka. We do not endorse the use of Ka Mate for this purpose."

9:47am - ACT leader David Seymour is raising concerns about the vaccine mandates which kicked into effect today. 

"As the reality of teachers and nurses walking away from their jobs sets in today, ACT is again calling for the mandate to allow regular testing as an alternative to vaccination," Seymour said in a statement. 

"ACT is pro-vaccination; we are frustrated by those who are refusing the vaccine. But the issue has now become divisive and mean spirited. It's time for the Government to apply the approach of the Danish Government, Air New Zealand, and its own requirement for teachers to all mandates, testing every 72-hours for the unvaccinated.

"Nearly every sector is experiencing great difficulty with vaccination mandates. Teachers have testing as an alternative to vaccination, at least in the interim. Firefighters have just been given a two-week extension. The Government is suspiciously silent on a mandate for the police force. 

 "As a rule of thumb, it appears some sectors will lose five percent of their workforce to mandates. None of them can afford that as they are all stretched already."

9:33am - Primary schools are set to return to the classroom this week as vaccine mandates kick into gear.

Educators must have at least one dose from today and their second by January 1.

One deputy principal Gina Rosendaal says it's been a roller coaster with very little guidance from Government.

"We are really looking forward to having our tamariki back with us but we are still not going to have all of us on the shop floor and that's really sad.

9:11am - There's concern Whangarei's hospital couldn't cope with a surge in COVID-19 cases as it has sewage leaking inside its walls. 

Whangarei mayor  Sheryl Mai told RNZ she's disgusted by the state of the hospital 

She said the building has been rife with problems for a long time. 

8:42am - One of yesterday's COVID-19 cases is a woman who gave birth prematurely at Rotorua Hospital, and whose baby later died.

Read more here.

8:21am - Watch Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's full interview on The AM Show here.

8:05am - Ardern reiterated Aucklanders could see more freedoms on November 29 but it's not guaranteed. 

 "On November 29, that's when Cabinet meets to make decisions around when Auckland will move into the [traffic light] framework," Ardern said. 

"We gave a very strong signal that, at that meeting, we will be making decisions to flip Auckland into the new framework soon after. Nothing's changed.

"We make the decision on the 29th, we announce that decision on the 29th and then there'll be a date that we then flip in."

7:52am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told The AM Show Aucklanders will get out of lockdown, pointing to the recent opening of retail stores as an example. 

"Obviously retail opened last week, this week schools go back so in Auckland I hope you're seeing the signs of those restrictions easing." 

7:34am - Modeller Shaun Hendy says Auckland's outbreak could be reaching its peak. 

But he says other areas of the country might be in for a bumpy ride.

Read the full story here

7:19am - The Prime Minister also defended home isolation among concern there will be more deaths as a result. 

Ardern said the vast majority of people who are vaccinated will only have mild symptoms and are able to safely isolate at home. 

She said everyone is offered the chance to isolate in Managed Isolation and Quarantine and have daily calls with health workers.  

7:16am - Ardern says she isn't expecting large numbers of resignations as the vaccine mandate kicks in for teachers and healthcare workers. 

Ardern said no schools have applied for an exemption on the basis they won't have enough staff. Another example is bus routes, she said. 

"We have over 1400 bus routes for schools across the county, my understanding is there have been 17 impacted by the mandates."

7:12am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says November the 29th isn't freedom day but Aucklanders could see more freedoms. 

Ardern said given the vaccine rate, Auckland is likely to see 90 percent double vaccination rates on November 29 and as a result move to the new traffic light framework. 

6:57am - The tourism community in Rotorua has grave concerns about the impact COVID-19 will have on businesses. 

The Lakes District has confirmed two positive cases with two hospital workers forced to isolate.

Mayor Steve Chadwick says there are concerns because Rotorua relies on tourism dollars to survive. 

6:45am - Austria is placing millions of people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in lockdown as of Monday to deal with a surge in infections to record levels and the growing strain on intensive-care units.

Read all the latest from around the world here.

6:38am - Auckland businesses are feeling anxious as they wait for another COVID update from Cabinet this afternoon. 

Business association Heart of the City is calling for a December 1st opening date.

CEO Viv Beck says those who have survived lockdown are hanging on by a thread.

6:32am - The countdown is on for a lockdown-free Christmas with just five days left to get double-dosed in time.

With the holiday season just six weeks away those who haven't had their first jab have until Friday to get the ball rolling.

Epidemiologist Michael Baker says it's time to get moving.

6:24am - Health authorities are concerned the rural Māori population is most at risk as the Delta outbreak spreads across the country. 

COVID-19 is now in Rotorua, Taupo and Tararua with a record 207 new cases reported on Sunday.

Read more here.