As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Monday, November 8

Auckland is moving to alert level 3, step 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday and the Far North is going back to level 2 at 11:59pm on Thursday.

It comes after 190 new COVID-19 cases were announced on Monday - 182 in Auckland, seven in Waikato, and one in Northland. Hospitalisations have also risen to a record 81, up from 74 on Sunday. Northland has now recorded its first COVID-related hospitalisation, with the 80 other patients in hospitals across Auckland.

On Sunday, it was announced that 90 percent of all eligible people across Auckland's three district health boards (DHBs) had been vaccinated with their first dose, a key milestone towards the region reopening. Auckland will enter the 'Red' setting of the Government's new COVID-19 Protection Framework, a three-step 'traffic light' system, once 90 percent of the three DHBs' eligible populations have been vaccinated with their second dose.

What you need to know

  • There were 190 new cases of COVID-19 to report on Monday - 182 in Auckland, seven in Waikato and one in Northland
  • Four additional cases have also been detected in Northland but will be added to the official tally tomorrow
  • Eighty-one people are currently in hospital - Northland has recorded its first COVID-related hospitalisation
  • Auckland is moving to level 3, step 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday
  • The area of Northland currently in level 3 is moving back to level 2 at 11:59pm on Thursday
  • A patient with COVID-19 died at Auckland City Hospital over the weekend - they were admitted for an unrelated incident and their cause of death will be determined by the Coroner
  • A person who returned to New Zealand on November 3 has died in a MIQ facility
  • All three of Auckland's DHBs have crossed the 90 percent threshold for first doses
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest locations of interest here.

These live updates have finished.

9:00pm - Waiheke has its first local case of COVID-19, its local board chair has confirmed to Newshub.

In a post to Facebook, Cath Handley said a resident had tested positive at the Ostend Medical Centre.

"Just as we welcome our wonderful local shops opening again, and following our second positive Covid-19 wastewater test result in the weekend, I am sorry to confirm that we now have our first positive local Covid case," she wrote.

"It is important to know that public health have been phoning that resident's own contacts and those people have been great at responding and stepping up to get tested today."

It comes after the Ministry of Health on Sunday said there had been positive wastewater detections on the island from the main township of Oneroa.

8:35pm - COVID-19 modeller Professor Michael Plank warns easing restrictions in Auckland while cases are doubling about every 12 days is a "risky move".

"The Government is banking on the new freedoms not contributing to a big increase in transmission. However, with 700 cases from the last two weeks remaining unlinked, the reality is we don't actually know where a significant proportion of our cases are coming from," he says in a Science Media Centre release.

"Interactions in a typical retail setting are lower risk than in say hospitality and social gatherings. However, they will still provide opportunities for the virus to spread through the community so some increase in cases is probably inevitable."

Prof Plank says while our increasing vaccination rates mean that we can tolerate a higher level of cases in the community, we can't afford to let them spiral completely out of control.

"The number of cases is putting an increasing strain on our contact tracing system. And while the vaccine has weakened the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths, it hasn't broken the link altogether," he warns.

"Hospitalisations are already rising and a further increase in cases could put significant pressure on our healthcare system."

8:05pm - Time is up for staff at one of the country's first industries to face the impact of vaccination mandates.

Prison staff were due to have their first dose of the vaccine by the middle of the weekend, but 202 haven't - and teachers are next, with just one week left until their deadline.

It's getting to the pointy end of things, but some workers in industries impacted by vaccine mandates aren't budging.

Read and watch the full story from Newshub's Alice Wilkins here.

7:35pm - A Mount Albert Grammar School student has tested positive for COVID-19.

Principal Patrick Drumm says the student attended school last week on Wednesday November 3 and Friday November 5 and was considered infectious during these times.

As a result, the school is moving back to online learning for all students for the remainder of the week. There won't be any on-site classes held at school this week for students.

"While it is frustrating to be back in the online setting so soon after our recent restart, we are confident this is the best decision to support students in their preparation for upcoming NCEA and Scholarship examinations," Drumm says.

"At this stage, we are planning to reopen school next week for senior students to attend optional exam preparation tutorials. Further information will be provided later in the week once confirmed."

7pm - As the Government continues mulling over increased Christmas freedoms, Aucklanders' anxious eyes are fixed on the fast-approaching December 25 date.

The region remains in lockdown with the highest number of cases in the country, and a hard border preventing residents from carrying COVID to the rest of the country.

Meanwhile a push to raise vaccination rates has now seen all of Auckland's three DHBs reach 90 percent first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, bringing Auckland one step closer to moving to the traffic light system and an easing of restrictions.

Here's what we know and don't know so far about Christmas freedoms for Auckland.

6:45pm - With Auckland moving to alert level 3, step 2, there are a range of loosened restrictions those in the city will have to learn.

Here's what you need to know.

6:30pm - ACT leader David Seymour says the booster shot rollout should begin immediately for those who are due one.

"I have heard of doctors and nurses in Auckland who were vaccinated more than six months ago. They are worried their immunity is waning and they'll take COVID home to their families," he says.

"We know that immunity decreases after six months. The doctors who are keeping our hospitals running should be able to count on boosters ASAP. So should the vulnerable.

"Why would a medical professional continue to protect our communities if we're not protecting them?

"The Australian TGA approved boosters on October 27th, two weeks ago. Now that we've caught up - let's do this."

David Seymour.
David Seymour. Photo credit: Newshub.

6:15pm - There is one new location of interest. It is:

  • Warehouse Stationery Whangarei, November 4 from 2:40pm to 2:55pm.

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

5:55pm - National leader Judith Collins says Ardern still can't tell Aucklanders how or when they'll be allowed to leave the city for Christmas.

"The Government created an almighty mess for itself after COVID Minister Chris Hipkins mused out loud last week about Aucklanders being given a state-sanctioned, allocated time to leave the region during the holiday period," Collins says.

"Despite senior ministers Grant Robertson and David Parker trying to shut the issue down, Jacinda Ardern still won't rule it out, indicating it remains on the table as an option as the Government scrambles to figure out what on earth to do.

"All we got this afternoon was what Jacinda Ardern has now become famous for at the 4pm Podium of Truth: an announcement of an announcement. Next week, apparently, Aucklanders will hear how and when they will be allowed to leave Auckland for summer."

Collins says it's "wrong to keep Aucklanders in purgatory" since they've "done the heavy lifting" for New Zealand.

"Of course, if vaccine certificates were available right now, then vaccinated Aucklanders could safely travel right now. The fact that they are still unavailable is an indictment of the lack of work the Government has done this year to prepare for Delta and a world in which New Zealand enjoys high vaccination rates," she says.

"Cabinet only authorised the development of vaccine certificates on July 5 this year. The country needs and deserves certainty. The goal should be to get to 85 percent double vaccination or December 1, whichever comes first, and then open up."

Collins says that Medsafe's approval of booster shots is a promising step, but it is "baffling" that the COVID Technical Advisory Group is still considering the issue.

"Many countries have been rolling out boosters for months now and Australia started two weeks ago," she says.

"Why is New Zealand so slow, yet again?"

5:40pm - Retail NZ says it is good news the Government has confirmed most retail stores in Auckland will be allowed to open from Wednesday, and that a further review will happen next week.

Chief executive Greg Harford says retail is a "relatively safe environment", so long as customers wear masks and retailers are prepared to open their doors while keeping customers safe.

"After 12 weeks of enforced closure, businesses will be hoping that the re-opening will reinvigorate the sector. Customers will need to wear a mask in store, and will be asked to keep a two metre distance from others," he says.

"Retail NZ is asking everyone to stick to the rules as stores re-open on Wednesday to help keep everyone safe. We expect customers will be cautious, at least in the first stages of opening, but it is good news that they will be able to get back into store."

5:30pm - ACT leader David Seymour says the party's 'Freedom Day' has been effectively adopted by the Government - November 29.

"Jacinda Ardern should now go further and take the whole country to level orange of the COVID-19 Protection Framework," he says.

"This decision should have been made weeks ago. Nothing has changed. The Government just got organised and bowed to political pressure."

Seymour says ACT has called for any suburb reaching the 90 percent fully vaccinated rate to have its restrictions lifted. He also says businesses are calling for a clear date to end restrictions and details of what the new framework will look like.

"All of these sentiments were laid bare when I visited Auckland recently. You could see the pain behind the mask, something you can't sense over Zoom. This is why Jacinda Ardern needs to be there," he says.

"If the Prime Minister saw, heard, and felt what I did, she would be making different decisions.

"Labour's plan has meant freedom depends on the least-motivated person. Every DHB reaching 90 percent keeps people guessing. What businesses, students, and people needing healthcare need is certainty."

ACT has called for the following steps:

  • Set the date and stick to it
  • Supercharge vaccination with community partnerships and financial incentives
  • Engage every sector in all-in 'sprints' to reduce transmission, vaccination and death
  • Remove restrictions as we know them and "get on with life".

"ACT believes in personal responsibility. Once everyone has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, it's time to get on with life," he says.

"ACT has a plan that would get our freedom back. The Government adopted nine of the 15 recommendations in our COVID 2.0 plan. We call on them to take our COVID 3.0 recommendations, implement them, and then set a date for freedom."

5:20pm - The High Court has dismissed a challenge to the vaccine mandate for aviation security workers.

Justice Cooke accepted that the applicants had proper arguments to be brought to the Court, and emphasised the importance of their ability to do so in an environment where those

opposed to vaccination were liable to criticism.

He also acknowledged that the applicants had put themselves at risk as border workers for the benefit of the public, that they had now lost their jobs, and that "they should not be thought of as any less committed to the community than any other New Zealander".

The full decision is available here.

5:15pm - Here is a breakdown of the vaccination status of today's 67 cases in hospital, as of 9am:

  • No doses - 37
  • One dose - 21
  • Two doses - 9.

5:05pm - Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the Government's decision to move Auckland to level 3, step 2 from 11:59pm on Tuesday will be welcomed by Aucklanders.

"We have been in lockdown for around three months and people will enjoy being able to visit shops and retail outlets again," he says.

"It will be an important boost for those businesses and people working in them that have been hit hard by the extended lockdown.

"The response from Aucklanders - with 92 percent vaccinated and 82 percent having had their second dose - is a major factor in enabling the continuing easing of restrictions.

"A huge thank you to every Aucklander who has stepped up to get vaccinated and a massive vote of thanks to our vaccinators and healthcare staff, essential workers, community leaders and to everyone who has played a role in helping us achieve this milestone."

Goff says lockdown has played an important role in protecting people, but the city can't stay there forever.

"There are real costs in the strains it has placed on people's lives, their wellbeing and their livelihoods," he says.

"People who have been vaccinated are increasingly unwilling to wait for those who won't be vaccinated or who haven't got around to it yet.

"COVID-19 is in the community in significant numbers and those not vaccinated are at most at risk of getting seriously ill.

"We really need everyone prepared to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible so that when we move to the COVID-19 Protection Framework, they will have more protection from COVID and can contribute to containing the spread of the virus."

Phil Goff.
Phil Goff. Photo credit: Getty Images

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

  • Auckland is moving to level 3, step 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday
  • The Far North is moving back to level 2 at 11:59pm on Thursday
  • November 29 is the check-in date when it's likely Auckland will move to the new traffic light framework
  • Medsafe has approved a Pfizer booster shot for people aged 18 and over, six months after they've had their first dose.

4:58pm - While some people may call November 29 'Freedom Day' or "a number of other things", Ardern says the date will create greater certainty for businesses than they have now.

She adds that she wants nothing more than to move into the framework for summer.

4:55pm - Ardern says they are expecting case numbers to continue to rise.

The R value is between 1.2 and 1.3, meaning it is tracking as per modelling.

Public health doesn't think step 2 changes will contribute to more cases, but it could contribute to more movement with retail workers.

4:53pm - Just 10 percent of hospitalised cases are fully vaccinated.

A proper breakdown is coming, she says.

4:52pm - Ardern says it's difficult to measure how changes to rules affect cases, but modelling has been close to expectations.

She says they know cases are coming from people who aren't sticking to the rules.

4:48pm - Dr Bloomfield says the current hospitalisation level is within the limit they can handle.

Around 200 cases a day is within the scope of the system, he says.

He says there are seven people in ICU now and this is "well within the bounds" at the moment.

4:44pm - Dr Bloomfield says the decision to not share data with Whanau Ora was after "careful consideration.

He says the Ministry of Health can work with the agency and its provider to release date where it's helpful.

Ardern disagrees that Maori are being put at risk by lifting restrictions and points to a high vaccination rate in Auckland.

4:38pm - Ardern was asked how many local cases might push changes to MIQ. She says she'd be surprised if epidemiologists were pushing for no border protections due to seeding cases.

She says all advice has been on checks to not add risk to the outbreak. Up to 20,000 people could come home, meaning potentially hundreds of cases, so they want to get it right.

4:34pm - On the death of the returnee, it's believed it was at the Crowne Plaza.

They are receiving health treatment when they died.

On vaccine certificates, Ardern says they're being trialled this week and are ready to go, considering the November 29 expectation.

4:32pm - Ardern says the status of every part of the country would be reviewed on November 29 - and maintains she's always said this.

On how long Auckland would have to wait if the traffic light system is allowed, Arder nsays at 90 percent, it would be a straight move. She adds they would look to move as quickly as possible.

4:30pm - Ardern wants to keep driving for a 90 percent vaccination rate before they move all of New Zealand into the traffic light system.

She says they haven't changed that position and they are thinking about how it might add some extra incentive.

4:29pm - Border issues are to be worked through, Ardern says.

She estimates up to 40,000 people could be moving over the Christmas period and says the border won't be "iron clad".

4:28pm - Ardern says she keeps it "in perspective" when protesters are near.

She says recent protesters in Whanganui had a "range of views" and she welcomes people to share their views.

4:26pm - Ardern says MIQ is being changed, and says the recommendation from lots of experts is to maintain some checks at the border.

She also says a trial of self-isolation is underway.

4:25pm - Ardern says she hasn't seen experts' criticism of MIQ - Dr Bloomfield also says he hasn't seen it.

He admits the risk of arrivals is low, but "not zero", and there is an average of three cases a day. But he says the risk of going to the supermarket is zero, but there's "no doubt" the risk profile is changing.

4:23pm - Dr Bloomfield says research shows people get their second dose within six weeks, but there is a chance Aucklanders will want to get theirs sooner.

Ardern also re-emphasised that Cabinet has a "strong expectation" Auckland will shift to traffic light system on the November 29 check in.

4:22pm - Ardern believes Counties Manukau will reach the 90 percent double dose rate.

She says Cabinet has a "strong expectation" they will be confirming Auckland to move to traffic light system on November 29.

4:20pm - Ardern says there will be more certainty for hospitality once the 90 percent double dose comes into force.

She says the Government is still committed to moving up the steps, but can't say when it could come in.

On al fresco dining, Ardern suggests it would be unfair to only allow some restaurants to open outdoors because only some could, but they haven't had advice on it.

4:19pm - Dr Bloomfield confirms a six-week-old baby with COVID-19 is in Whangarei Hospital.

4:18pm -  Dr Bloomfield says there "is definitely pressure" on MIQ with so many local cases.

The are looking at what supports people need to isolate at home. Dr Bloomfield says there are people "waiting longer than we would like" for information from health professionals.

4:17pm - Dr Bloomfield says they have a "clear picture" of where people self-isolating at home are.

People considered 'Other' are people who have come to an end of their quarantine, so data is still updating.

4:16pm - Cabinet has a "strong expectation" that the November 29 check in is when Auckland will shift to the new framework, but Ardern will give date on when border will reopen next week.

4:15pm - Ardern says they need to sort out protections to put in place with Aucklanders moving at Christmas, but says they will definitely be able to move out of the city.

4:13pm - If Auckland reaches the 90 percent vaccination rate before the November 29 check in, they will move to traffic light system, but Cabinet thinks it will be on November 29.

Next week, the Government is looking to confirm the Auckland border. Ardern says they need to consider the rest of the country's status too.

4:12pm - Medsafe has approved the Pfizer vaccine booster for people aged 18 and older, six months after second dose.

Ardern says the doses are ready to give booster shots.

4:11pm - The Far North area currently in level 3 will move back to level 2 at 11:59pm on Thursday.

Despite new cases, Dr Bloomfield says they could be managed with contact tracing.

4:10pm - Waikato alert levels will be considered next week.

Auckland is on track to meet 90 percent vaccination this month, and on the November 29 check-in, Cabinet expects the city to move to new traffic light framework.

Ardern warns that cases will grow, but she says that's not the only consideration anymore - they look at ICU rates, which is not that high right now.

4:08pm - Ardern says the reason for step 2 is a recognition of high vaccination rates in Auckland.

She says this is a "substantial part of our consideration now" and is "easing into our reopening". She adds that picnics have not led to increases in cases and only one case has been reported from BBQs.

4:07pm - Movie theatres and gyms will remain closed, Ardern reminds Aucklanders, but outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed, and there is no limit on number of bubbles that can meet up.

Public facilities can also open.

4:06pm - Auckland will move to alert level 3, step 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday night.

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

3:45pm - A Destiny Church member charged with organising an anti-lockdown protest in Auckland has caught COVID-19, Stuff reports.

He is isolating at home after testing positive in recent days. He also didn't reveal his vaccination status to Stuff.

The man says he wasn't carrying COVID-19 at the most recent anti-lockdown protest on October 30, were thousands protested Auckland's lockdown restrictions.

3:40pm - We are about 20 minutes away from the Government's update on Auckland's alert level.

You'll be able to watch that live on Newshub's website, or follow along with updates on this page.

3:15pm - Here's a breakdown of cases in Waikato.

There were seven new cases confirmed in Hamilton overnight, four in Te Awamutu, and three in Hamilton. Six were known contacts already in isolation. Waikato DHB says public health will today investigate links for the remaining case.  

There is one case in Waikato Hospital for a non-COVID-19-related condition.   

There are five pop-up and dedicated testing sites operating across Hamilton, Ōtorohanga, and Te Kūiti today. 

The Te Awamutu site is closed today as the station is relocated within the site and will be open again from tomorrow. Testing is available at the medical centres in Te Awamutu with patients asked to phone in advance. Non-enrolled patients are welcome and testing is free for everyone. The pop-up testing sites in Huntly are now closed with testing available from Wednesday at Waahi Whanui.  

Ten locations of interest were identified in Hamilton yesterday. Details can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

Wastewater samples from November 3 have returned positive results across Hamilton, Ngāruawāhia, Ōtorohanga, Te Awamutu and Te Kuiti. 

There were 2239 tests processed in Waikato yesterday and 880 vaccinations given.  

2:55pm - There are five new additions to the Ministry of Health's list of locations of interest, including:

  • Chemist Warehouse - Westgate, Auckland
  • Katsubi - The Base Shopping Centre, Hamilton
  • EB Games - The Base Shopping Centre, Hamilton.

Click here for the relevant dates, times and public health advice.

2:40pm - National leader Judith Collins says Aucklanders have had enough of lockdown. 

"I was out in Howick visiting small businesses and out with a couple of our MPs - Melissa Lee, Simeon Brown and Christopher Luxon - and just hearing from people about how they're trying to cope," the Papakura MP told Magic Talk on Monday afternoon. 

Collins spoke to Magic Talk ahead of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's post-Cabinet press conference at 4pm, where she's expected to confirm if Cabinet has endorsed the in-principle decision made last week to let Auckland shift to alert level 3, step 2 - meaning retail can return and outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed. 

"Aucklanders are moving there anyway, I can see," Collins said. 

"This requires them to have bought into it and the problem is that we're seeing total inconsistency. We've now got 80 percent of Aucklanders double-vaxxed, we've got 90 percent with their first jab - come on, get on with it. 

"There comes a time when we have to call a stop. Enough is enough. The feeling I'm getting is they've had enough. They're double vaccinated, they're saying 'I'm willing to take whatever risk because I'll be masked, I'm double vaccinated, I'm social distancing, I'm washing my hands constantly, I'm doing everything I can'

"Ultimately now, we have people's mental health at stake, we have not only their livelihoods but very much their health, and we know that there are people not getting their treatments they should be for everything else. Eighty-five-thousand people had their initial first assessments, scans and other treatment cancelled in the first six weeks of lockdown, so now after 12 weeks, you might as well double that - about 170,000 people.

"On Saturday, I met a young woman who came up to me, she said 'I'm 32-years-old', she was crying, she said 'I have cancer'. She had cancer treatment and she has had to miss three or four of the follow-up appointments because of this lockdown.

"Now, a Government health system that can't organise the people who have had cancer treatment to get their check-ups in a timely manner, I'm sorry, I've just got no confidence in these guys. We look at the cost of COVID and it's enormous, but the cost of the response to COVID - the shutting down of everything, people unable to get operations they need or treatment or scans or assessments - is just too much now."

2:25pm - Retailers throughout the country have come together on Monday at the Retail NZ Summit on Violence and Anti-Social behaviour in Parliament's Grand Hall to signify their commitment to keeping their employees and contractors safe.

"Rates of aggression, violence and anti-social behaviour from members of the public have doubled over the past year, on top of significant increases over the last few years," Greg Harford, Retail NZs chief executive, said on Monday. 

"This is having a big impact on the wellbeing of everyone working in the sector, and retailers have come together today to discuss solutions.

"Retail workers have the right to come to work and go home every day without feeling unsafe. However, retail teams are often threatened and abused in store, online or over the phone, and are increasingly being subjected to physical or even sexual assault in-store. This is completely unacceptable, and retailers are asking everyone to #shopnice.   

"Retailers are committed to providing great customer service and treating our customers with respect, but also to keeping employees, contractors, other customers and visitors to stores safe and well. In a new Declaration of Violence and Anti-Social Behaviour, retailers are asking customers to treat workers with respect, use polite and non-threatening language at all times, and comply with team member requests."

Harford says this is particularly important with retail set to reopen in Auckland from Wednesday.

"Some people may be frustrated by new requirements around masks and distancing, but retailers are not prepared to accept sexual or racist harassment of any kind, offensive or abusive language, threats or violence.  People engaged in anti-social behaviour can expect to be asked to leave stores. Let's #shopnice and treat everyone with respect," he said.

2:15pm - Here's the latest data 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 



90.9 pct 

79.5 pct 


Hauraki District 



80.4 pct 

68.0 pct 


Matamata-Piako District 



85.7 pct 

73.0 pct 


Ōtorohanga District 



79.1 pct 

64.4 pct 


Ruapehu District 



79.1 pct 

63.7 pct 


South Waikato District 



81.3 pct 

64.3 pct 


Thames-Coromandel District 



85.0 pct 

75.1 pct 


Waikato District 



86.4 pct 

73.9 pct 


Waipa District 



91.5 pct 

79.7 pct 


Waitomo District 



88.2 pct 

71.0 pct 


Waikato region 



87.9 pct 

75.6 pct 

Reporting on vaccination rates at TLA level is provided by the Ministry of Health. This data is accurate as of 10:46pm on November 6, 2021 and is the latest available at TLA level. 

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

On November 8, 880 vaccinations were delivered across Waikato. 

2pm - A Kiwi in the United States has dismissed claims that New Zealand is languishing behind as the rest of the world reopens amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Rosie Carnahan-Darby, a Los Angeles-based producer in the entertainment industry, says she has seen a lot of comments from New Zealanders on social media complaining that the rest of the world has "gone back to normal", while Aotearoa continues to opt for lockdowns and stringent restrictions.

But Carnahan-Darby says that from her experience, things in the US are still far from normal - with well over 1000 new cases of the virus in Los Angeles each day and a myriad of restrictions still in place.

"After spending 15 months in NZ, we have been back in LA for six months. I can count the number of times I have hung out with friends on the fingers of my hands," she wrote on social media. "Every morning I have to fill in a health declaration for the kids to go to school. They wear masks all day. At lunch they sit behind [perspex] 6 feet from their friends. They even wear masks in PE."

Carnahan-Darby says she and her husband, New Zealand comedian and actor Rhys Darby, do take their family out to dinner and gigs - neither of which are options for Kiwis at present - but they only feel comfortable doing so due to the mandates in place, including mask use and vaccination.

"Here in LA County you have to show vaccination certificates to enter venues, bars, restaurants, and you have to be vaccinated to attend school. If you cannot get vaccinated, many of these places will accept a negative COVID test from that day," Carnahan-Darby explained.

Read more here.

1:45pm - Professor Michael Baker and a group of his colleagues from Otago University have penned a blog highlighting the Government's "inconsistent and arbitrary" managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) requirements. 

It comes as the National Party's petition to scrap MIQ completely ticks past 75,000 signatures, with leader Judith Collins urging the Government to "just end it now" for fully vaccinated new arrivals.

In the blog post, Prof Baker, along with Dr Lucy Telfar Barnard, Dr Jennifer Summers, and Lesley Gray, described the Government's current MIQ requirements for tested and vaccinated travellers as "inconsistent and arbitrary" - given the new arrivals pose a "lower risk of COVID-19 infection than Aucklanders". 

"Auckland's total case rate of 83 per million per day is higher than the case rate in many countries, and higher than the vaccinated case rate in many more," the experts wrote. 

"If you're at the supermarket in Auckland, a fully vaccinated person randomly teleported from Canada is less likely to infect you than an average resident Aucklander in the aisles."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly denied it's inconsistent to allow vaccinated Aucklanders to travel around the country over Christmas - but still force returnees from overseas to quarantine on arrival.

Read more here.

1:30pm - Here's a recap of the key developments in Monday's update from the Ministry of Health:

  • There are 190 new cases to report on Monday - 182 in Auckland, seven in Waikato and one in Northland
  • Of the cases, 110 have yet to be epidemiologically linked
  • Of the seven cases in Waikato, four are in Te Awamutu and three are in Hamilton - six were known contacts of existing cases and already isolating
  • Four other cases have also been detected in Northland, but will be included in Tuesday's tally - there are currently 12 active cases in the region
  • Eighty-one people are in hospital, up by seven from Sunday's total - seven are in an intensive care or high dependency unit
  • Northland has recorded its first COVID-related hospitalisation 
  • To date, 89 percent of eligible New Zealanders have had their first dose and 78 percent are fully vaccinated
  • A patient with COVID-19 died at Auckland City Hospital on Saturday after being admitted for an unrelated matter on October 23 - the Coroner will determine their cause of death
  • Suburbs of concern in Auckland - where the risk of unidentified cases is higher - include Ranui, Sunnyvale, Kelston, Birkdale, Manurewa and Mangere
  • There are now 2238 individuals completing home isolation in metro Auckland
  • Twenty residents and four staff members of Edmonton Meadows Care Home in Auckland have now returned positive tests - seven have been hospitalised
  • People living in or around Taipa, Kaingaroa, Awanui and Kaitaia who have had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last two weeks are urged to get tested as soon as possible.

1:09pm - There are 190 new cases of COVID-19 to report on Monday. Here's the Ministry of Health's full statement:

More than 3.3 million New Zealanders fully vaccinated; 81 cases in hospital; 190 community cases

There were 14,280 first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses administered yesterday, made up of 3,272 first doses and 11,008 second doses. To date, 89 percent of New Zealanders have had their first dose and 78 percent are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccine update


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

7,056,440; 3,755,550 first doses (89 pct); 3,300,890 second doses (78 pct)

Total first and second vaccines administered yesterday

14,280; 3,272 first doses; 11,008 second doses

Mâori (percentage of eligible people)

749,756; 424,366 first doses (74 pct); 325,390 second doses (57 pct)

Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people)

456,982; 248,532 first doses (87 pct); 208,450 second doses (73 pct)

Total first and second vaccines administered to Auckland residents yesterday

4,512; 892 first doses; 3,620 second doses

Vaccination rates by DHB (with active cases)


Northland DHB (percentage of eligible people

239,960; 130,309 first doses (81 pct); 109,651 second doses (68 pct)

Auckland metro DHBs (percentage of eligible people

2,515,971; 1,319,774 first doses (92 pct);  1,196,197 second doses (83 pct)

Waikato DHB (percentage of eligible people

584,797; 313,999 first doses (88 pct); 270,798 second doses (76 pct)

Canterbury DHB (percentage of eligible people

825,689; 446,796 first doses (93 pct); 378,893 second doses (78 pct)

Hospitalisations *


Cases in hospital

81 (total, up from 74 yesterday): North Shore (26); Waitakere (1); Middlemore (26); Auckland (27); Whangarei (1)

Average age of current hospitalisations


Cases in ICU or HDU


Cases *


Seven day rolling average of community cases


Number of new community cases


Number of new cases identified at the border


Location of new community cases

Auckland (182), Waikato (7) Northland (1)

Location of community cases (total)

Auckland 4,337 (1,731 of whom have recovered); Waikato 163 (68 of whom have recovered); Wellington 17 (all of whom have recovered); Northland 19 (6 of whom have recovered); Nelson/Marlborough 1 (who has recovered); Canterbury 4 (all active)

Number of community cases (total)

4,541 (in current community outbreak)

Confirmed cases (total)


Historical cases

186 out of 5,474 cases since 1 January

Cases infectious in the community

37 of yesterday's cases have exposure events

Cases in isolation throughout the period they were infectious

74 of yesterday's cases have no exposure events

Cases epidemiologically linked

80 of today's cases

Cases to be epidemiologically linked

110 of today's cases

Cases epidemiologically linked (total)

3,585 (in the current cluster) (700 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)

76 pct

Percentage who have returned at least one result

72 pct

Locations of interest


Locations of interest (total)

192 (as at 8am 8 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


Auckland Hospital patient death

Sadly, today we have been informed of the death of a patient on Saturday at Auckland City Hospital.

The patient, who was in their late 60s, was admitted to hospital on October 23 for a trauma incident and tested positive on admission.

The cause of the person's death will be determined by the coroner, including whether it may have been COVID-related.

Our thoughts are with the patient's whanau and friends at this deeply sad time.

We would also like to acknowledge the team at Auckland City Hospital and all healthcare workers for their continued hard work and dedication.

This person's death has not been officially reported as it is still under investigation.

* Hospitalisation data

To more accurately reflect the numbers of people who are in hospital for COVID-related conditions, the Ministry of Health will from this week report on those in hospital who are inpatients and who are being treated for their COVID-19 illness.

* Today's cases

A previously confirmed community case has been reclassified as under investigation – the net increase is 189 community cases.

From Monday, the ministry is reporting the rolling seven-day average for community cases. Today it is 148. The rolling average is in line with international reporting and gives a better sense of trends over time, by reducing the fluctuations seen in daily numbers.

* Maritime vessel

Two of Monday's border-related cases are on board a bulk carrier vessel which recently arrived in in Bluff from Malaysia. These two cases are being investigated as likely historical cases.

The crew members were tested as part of the process for allowing a crew member to depart the vessel and fly home on compassionate grounds. All crew member remain aboard the vessel.

Testing of the 23 crew has identified two weak positive cases. The bulk of the crew are vaccinated. None of the crew have symptoms or have reported a recent illness during the voyage.

Results from repeat testing are expected tomorrow.

Auckland update

There are 19 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland on Monday.

We're continuing to encourage everyone in Auckland to please get a test if they have any symptoms, no matter how mild. Even if people are fully vaccinated, and have been isolating at home, please seek out a test if you feel the need.

Suburbs of particular concern, where the risk of unidentified cases is higher, include Ranui, Sunnyvale, Kelston, Birkdale, Manurewa and Mangere.

In metro Auckland, public health staff are now supporting 2238 individuals to safely isolate at home - this includes 838 cases across 698 households.     

Auckland care home    

Twenty residents and four staff members of Edmonton Meadows Care Home in the Auckland suburb of Henderson have now returned positive tests for COVID-19.    

Seven of the COVID-19 positive residents are receiving appropriate ward-level care at Auckland hospitals.

Waikato update

There were seven new cases confirmed in Hamilton overnight, four in Te Awamutu and three in Hamilton.

Six were known contacts already in isolation. Public Health will today investigate links for the remaining case.

There is one case in Waikato Hospital for a non-COVID-related condition.  

There are six pop-up and dedicated testing sites operating across Hamilton, Huntly, Ôtorohanga, and Te Kuiti on Monday. The Te Awamutu site is closed today as the station is relocated and will be open again from Tuesday.

Ten locations of interest were identified in Hamilton on Sunday.

There were 2239 tests processed in Waikato on Tuesday and 880 vaccinations administered.

Northland update

There are five new cases to report in Northland on Monday.

Four of the cases were notified after the ministry's 9am reporting cut-off and will be added to the official case tally on Tuesday.

The total number of cases in Northland is now 23, which includes 12 active cases and 11 recovered cases. Four cases are linked to known cases and public health interviews with the fifth case were yet to be completed, as at 12pm on Monday.

We are continuing to encourage those who live in or around Taipa, Kaingaroa, Awanui and Kaitaia and have had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last two weeks, to get tested as soon as possible. Testing centre locations can be found on the Northland DHB website.

On Monday we are reporting the first COVID-related hospitalisation Northland linked in the current outbreak. The hospitalisation is another reminder for everyone in Northland who is eligible to get vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated will help to stop you and your loves ones getting seriously ill, and could save your life and theirs. If you haven't been vaccinated, please get your first dose today.         

12:30pm - There is no 1pm press conference today. Instead, the Ministry of Health will release the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak in a statement. Newshub will publish the statement as soon as we receive it.

12:15pm - "Protect you and your pēpi – Get immunised."

Read more on pregnancy and immunisation here.

12:05pm - A petition by the National Party to put an end to managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQ) has now ticked past 75,000 signatures, with the Opposition's COVID-19 Response spokesperson, Chris Bishop, saying on Monday that public health experts have backed the idea that MIQ could be dropped for most new arrivals.

From November 14, the period of isolation for new arrivals will reduce from 14 days to seven days, followed by isolation at home until a day 9 test result has been received. However, the Opposition is calling on the Government to scrap MIQ completely for fully vaccinated returnees.  

"New Zealanders understand that MIQ has become a lottery of human misery that shuts out Kiwis from their own country. It is callous, cruel and unfair," Bishop said on Monday. "It's great to see public health support for the idea that MIQ needs to fundamentally change. 

"The risks of fully vaccinated travellers to New Zealand with negative pre-departure tests are not zero, but they are negligible, particularly in the context of more than 1800 people with COVID-19 (or close contacts) isolating at home in Auckland right now."

Bishop cited a blog post from Monday morning in which Dr Lucy Telfar Barnard, Dr Jennifer Summers, Lesley Gray, Professor Michael Baker and Professor Nick Wilson noted that the risk of infection for most vaccinated international arrivals is typically less than the current risk for Auckland residents.

"As the experts note, 'with tested, vaccinated travellers from many jurisdictions having a lower risk of COVID-19 infection than Aucklanders; with no vaccination or quarantine requirements for Aucklanders permitted to travel outside Auckland; and with the decision to allow many known positive cases in the current outbreak to isolate at home in Auckland, current MIQ requirements for tested vaccinated travellers have become inconsistent and arbitrary'," Bishop said.

"The experts note that 'filling MIQ rooms with arrivals who typically have a lower infection risk than Aucklanders wastes limited MIQ space. Public health would be better served by having those rooms available for community cases, when their homes are not suitable for home isolation'.

"National agrees that 'most vaccinated international travellers arriving in Auckland do not require quarantine and will probably only need monitoring and testing at most' and that 'most vaccinated international travellers destined for other parts of New Zealand could now fly into Auckland, and then travel on to other parts of the country on the same testing and quarantine conditions as for Aucklanders'.

"We urge the Government to adopt National's position of ending MIQ right now for fully-vaccinated travellers to New Zealand. This is the right thing to do and will put an end to this lottery of human misery and allow Kiwis to come home for Christmas."

11:50am - Refrigerated containers are being hired and purchased across the country to store the bodies of deceased COVID-19 patients, RNZ reports.

Not all district health boards (DHBs) have morgues and many that do are concerned the virus may overwhelm capacity.

The Ministry of Health's influenza pandemic plan, written in 2017, warned mass fatalities could overrun services that store and dispose of bodies.

The plan suggested using refrigerated containers to stop prevent decomposition, but it warned that "care should be taken to avoid thawing and re-freezing remains".

University of Auckland epidemiology professor Rod Jackson does not think New Zealand's morgues are prepared for a possible influx of COVID-related deaths.

"Nothing in New Zealand is prepared for an outbreak of COVID, a major outbreak. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about the morgues, hospitals, [or] primary care," he said.

He expected mass fatalities would overwhelm these services.

Read more here.

11:35am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is defending the Government's continued use of managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities for New Zealanders returning from overseas - even for those who are fully vaccinated and have tested negative for COVID-19.

The Government has slowly eased MIQ requirements, including halving stays for the fully vaccinated. Newshub revealed on Sunday that some New Zealanders returning home to visit dying loved ones are only required to isolate for three days.  

But the Opposition wants MIQ to be scrapped completely for double-jabbed returnees and last week, started a petition calling for it to happen. 

Ardern was asked on The AM Show why returnees are still required to enter MIQ on arrival.

"We've halved down the amount of time people are spending there now," she said. "We have people who are in home isolation having come in at the border, and what they're helping us to test are the things that we'll do in the future to make sure that when we ask people to isolate at home, that they are.

"We're in a transition at the moment - things are starting to flip. We're shortening, we're moving to home isolation."

Read more here.

11:20am - The Government is funding counselling support for around 24,000 of New Zealand's most vulnerable children and young people, Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti announced on Monday.

"We are putting counsellors into 141 primary, intermediate, area and small secondary schools throughout Aotearoa. This funding follows an additional $31.8 million which was allocated to large secondary schools in January this year. It equates to 90 additional counselling staff across the country and means 223,838 students have better access to a counsellor at school," Tinetti said in a statement.

"This initiative invests $44 million, over four years, as part of the $200 million package announced last year to improve the wellbeing of learners and educators. It is particularly important as we continue to deal with the impacts on our children and young people from COVID-19.

"Good mental health and wellbeing is essential for student success. I know that for some of our tamariki, a lack of wellbeing is getting in the way of their attendance, engagement, and achievement.

"This support will help children and young people better manage issues such as bullying, loneliness, anxiety at school, or loss or grief. As a former principal, I know how much teachers, and students, will welcome this extra support."

The Counsellors in Schools initiative will provide much-needed additional support beyond the $15 million recently allocated to help Auckland's students stay engaged with their learning in 2021 and 2022.

The Government is also expanding Mana Ake into the Northland, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and West Coast District Health Board regions. Mana Ake currently provides wellbeing and mental health support for around 9000 Year 1 to Year 8 learners in Canterbury and Kaikoura.

"Schools know their learners best. So, with the Counselling in Schools initiative, it will be up to them, working with their whānau, communities, wellbeing staff and the counselling provider, to decide what supports their students need and how they will be delivered," Tinetti said.

"We want all children and young people to understand it's okay at times not to feel fine, to learn more about their feelings and behaviours, and to build supportive relationships with their teachers, their classmates and their whānau.

"During the development of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, one young person said 'sometimes it can be a scary thing trying to reach out to people. It would be good if there was someone, we could see ASAP when we're feeling down'. That is what Counselling in Schools is designed to do.

"It's all part of our plan to make Aotearoa a better place for all our children and young people so they can go on to live healthy, happy lives."

11:05am - In case you missed it, a health expert is calling for the Government to rethink its penciled-in decision to reopen primary schools, warning the classroom could be a "super-spreading" setting while children aged five to 11 are unvaccinated. 

Rod Jackson, an epidemiologist at the University of Auckland, believes primary schools should stick with remote learning for the rest of the year - or until five-to-11-year-olds are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"We need to get the vast majority of eligible people vaccinated and we [need] the five-to-11-year-olds [to] get the go-ahead to get vaccinated because schools are a super-spreading setting," Jackson told The AM Show on Monday morning.

"If you look just across in Australia and New South Wales alone, I think 69 schools had to close during their July/August outbreak so I think we need to get [our vaccination rates] much higher."  

However, he did have a different opinion for hospitality businesses. The Government is likely to reopen retail in Auckland this week, but eateries, cafes and restaurants will have to continue with takeways and contactless trading. 

"Retail done properly is probably not so much of a risk, but I wouldn't be opening primary schools until next year until we got them vaccinated,'' Jackson said.

"Hospitality outside, I don't think that is unreasonable. Personally I'm a supporter of hospitality outside."

Read more here.

10:53am - A returnee has died in a managed isolation and quarantine facility (MIQ) on Monday morning, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

The returnee arrived on November 3 and tested positive for COVID-19 following a routine day 3 test.

"The Ministry is saddened to be reporting the death this morning of a returnee in a managed isolation facility," a spokesperson said in a statement on Monday morning.

"The cause of the person's death will be determined by the coroner, including whether it may have been COVID-19-related.

"The Ministry wishes to acknowledge the managed isolation facility's staff and St John paramedics who were called to the facility just before 6:30am.

"We wish to extend our sympathies to this person’s family during this stressful time."

10:30am - Two of Auckland's most popular farmers' markets will not be reopening if the Government decides to shift the region to step two of its three-step 'roadmap'.

The Government has signalled that from 11:59pm on Tuesday, Auckland will move to step two of its three-phase plan to gradually ease restrictions under alert level 3. Under step two, retail will be allowed to reopen to customers with masks and strict social distancings. Cabinet will make the final decision on Monday afternoon.

But some organisers of Auckland's farmers' markets say it's still too risky to open without a clear mandate from the Government.

Just 30 minutes drive from central Auckland, Clevedon Farmers' Market is home to more than 60 permanent and seasonal stalls that sell all manner of fresh local produce and provisions from fruit and veges to meat, cheese, preserves and fresh flowers. The ongoing lockdown is the longest closure the market has endured since it opened in 2005, which its owner, Helen Dorresteyn, says has been devastating for the community.

"The market is a community focal point... there's also a lot of quite stressed people that produce food for this particular food system, and it's terribly hard to get that product to the public, if you're not in a bigger shop that's allowed to stay open," Dorresteyn told RNZ.

Clevedon Farmers' Market has made the tough decision to not reopen until the Government's 'traffic light' system is implemented, which features clear vaccination mandates.

"I believe we need a very clear mandate on how we're going to operate and that does not seem to be there until we reach the traffic light system, and I just think it's too risky for our customers and our stallholders and staff to deal with the sheer number of people.

"It's going to be difficult telling people to mask up and asking people if they have been vaccinated and so I want to be in a position where I feel confident going forward to ask someone that."

Read more here.

10:10am - There is one new location of interest as of 10am.

Anyone who attended Inspire45 Bootcamp in Henderson between 6:30pm and 7:30pm on Wednesday, November 3 is asked to stay at home and get tested immediately, as well as five days after the date of exposure. People are asked to stay at home until a negative day five test result is returned.

9:50am - Australia's largest city of Sydney will further ease social distancing curbs on Monday, a month after emerging from a lockdown that lasted nearly 100 days.

Almost 90 percent of eligible people have now received both doses of a vaccine, officials said.

Although most freedoms are limited to residents who are fully inoculated, the relaxation of restrictions in the state of New South Wales - home to Sydney - has seen limits on house guests and outdoor gatherings lifted, among other measures.

"We're leading the nation out of the pandemic," said state Premier Dominic Perrottet, as he called for a "final push" to reach, and even surpass, a milestone of 95 percent vaccination.

Read more here.

9:30am - In case you missed it, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has dismissed suggestions that Auckland's stricken hospitality sector could reopen under step two of the Government's roadmap, saying it wouldn't be "particularly viable" for businesses.

If Auckland does shift to step two this week, retail will be allowed to reopen and outdoor gatherings can increase from 10 to 25 people. However, hospitality must continue to operate under the current alert level 3 restrictions, meaning venues are only able to open for contactless trading and takeaways.

But struggling businesses have argued that if gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted to take place outdoors, hospitality should be able to serve up to 25 socially distanced customers in an al fresco setting. 

Speaking to The AM Show on Monday, Ardern shut down the suggestion, reiterating that hospitality will be able to reopen when Auckland shifts to the first stage of the Government's 'traffic light' system, the COVID-19 Protection Framework. The first stage of the framework will be triggered when all three of Auckland's DHBs achieve 90 percent vaccination - both doses - among their eligible populations.

Read more here.

9:15am - Experts are urging the Government to rethink the possible easing of restrictions in Auckland this week, with data modeller Professor Shaun Hendy warning that the virus is outpacing vaccinations.

Cabinet will decide on Monday whether Auckland is ready for step two of the three-stage 'roadmap to recovery'. Under step two, retailers will be able to reopen with masks and social distancing, and outdoor gatherings can increase to 25 people.

But with 319 new cases over the weekend and more than 1000 in the past seven days, experts fear that New Zealand could be recording 1000 new infections a day by Christmas - if the outbreak is allowed to escalate.

Public health lecturer Collin Tukuitonga told RNZ it is not the right time to ease restrictions in Auckland.

"The outbreak could explode and spin out of control," he said.

Professor Hendy agreed, telling RNZ the virus is currently outpacing the rate of vaccination.

He says the gains achieved by the vaccination campaign are being eaten away by the loosening of restrictions in Auckland - and possibly by a lack of compliance.

With greater freedoms and less restrictions in place, Hendy fears the number of new cases each day could continue to double every fortnight - reaching four figures in December. Although modelling the spread of the virus has become increasingly difficult, the outbreak could possibly peak in two weeks' time, he said.

"We're starting to get to the point where we will be putting severe strain on hospital beds and staffing capacity, so we do need to put the breaks on at this point and have a rethink - or we could be facing a much worse scenario," Hendy said.

Read more here.

9am - New research from the University of Auckland highlights how comfort eating may surge during lockdowns.

About 76 percent of respondents to the university's 'COVID Kai Survey' said they chose "comforting" recipes during lockdown - up from 59 percent before the restrictions were introduced in 2020.

"Comfort foods can be a boost for your mood, especially during periods of social isolation, but the downside can be a worse diet," researcher and registered dietitian Dr Rajshri Roy, of the Discipline of Nutrition and Dietetics in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, said on Monday.

"The simple carbohydrates, added sugars, saturated fat, and salt that often turn up in high levels in comfort meals and snacks can be less healthy, especially with extended periods of lockdown and comfort eating."

The research is based on 2997 responses to an online survey conducted during last year's lockdown. Overall, the study - just published in the journal Nutrients - showed less healthy dietary patterns for the majority who selected "comforting" recipes than for the minority who didn't.

In other findings:

  • The proportion of people influenced by celebrity cooks in their recipe choices rose during lockdown to about 5 percent from about 3 percent.

  • Nadia Lim, the television celebrity chef and dietitian known for shows including Nadia's Comfort Kitchen, was the single person, organisation or brand with the most influence over recipe selection.

  • Individuals swayed by food influencers were more likely to have vegan diets.

Respondents who said they were influenced by experts on health and nutrition had healthier dietary patterns both before and during lockdown, says Dr Sarah Gerritsen, who led the COVID Kai Survey team from the School of Population Health.

"We should remember, too, that there are healthy home-cooked versions of 'comfort food,' including recipes promoted by nutrition experts," she says.

Talking about the implications of the study, Dr Roy says public health messages and educational campaigns could be tailored more closely to the factors that are most influencing people's food choices.

The study is a snapshot but is not representative of New Zealand's population - respondents were predominantly university-educated Pākeha/European women.

8:45am - A public health team working to lift low uptake of the vaccine in Northland say they are on an "impossible mission".

Without access to Ministry of Health data, the team - who travelled to Northland in a bid to lift low vaccination rates among Māori - are "trawling the ocean without a net", Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait said on Monday.

The Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency took the Ministry of Health to court to try and gain access to individual-level data, information the agency says it needs in order to target unvaccinated Māori. The ministry, which has declined to release the data, was ordered last week to reconsider its refusal to share the information with Whānau Ora.

Raukawa-Tait says if the agency had access to the individual-level data, the team would have a better strategy.

"[If we had] the data we requested, we would know where to target and how to approach those yet to be vaccinated with manaakitanga," she said.

"We have dispatched a team of 70, four large mobiles and trained kaimahi to Northland and I'm in no doubt they will all do their best to make a difference for our people. Hopefully our hard work approach will help lift the low Northland numbers and keep our whānau safe."

She compared searching for unvaccinated whānau to finding "needles in haystacks".

8:30am - The Government is "working through a range of options" to ensure Aucklanders will be able to travel this summer, Jacinda Ardern told The AM Show.

As the epicentre of the ongoing outbreak, Auckland remains sealed off from the rest of the country, with police-operated checkpoints guarding its northern and southern borders. Aucklanders are only able to leave the region, which is currently at alert level 3, if they have been granted an exemption certifying their travel is for an essential purpose. Likewise, those from regions currently at alert level 2 are not able to enter Auckland without an exemption. 

Officials have indicated that fully vaccinated Aucklanders will be able to leave the region for Christmas to reunite with friends and family, but there have been questions over how the regional boundary will be managed.

An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 vehicles will be hoping to cross Auckland's border each day, which will present "logistical challenges", Ardern said. It's understood all motorists attempting to cross the boundary will be required to present evidence of a negative test as well as proof of vaccination.

"We've never had a hard land boundary in New Zealand... The issue we will have over summer, 30,000 to 40,000 vehicles a day seeking to move - at that point, checking things like testing and vaccine certificates for every occupant in a car, you can imagine what logistical challenges that presents," Ardern said.

"We've been working through a range of options in order to make sure that we meet that objective that we have set ourselves, which is that Aucklanders will be able to move.

"We've given the commitment - we know we need to enable people to move, but this is a once-in-a-generation pandemic situation. We're trying to establish something New Zealand has historically never had. The closest thing we have are toll booths... we will not, in the long-term, have a land boundary."

Jacinda Ardern.
Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Newshub

8:15am - Speaking to The AM Show earlier this morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Auckland could shift to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework within "as early as three weeks".

As of Sunday, all three of Auckland's DHBs have now reached the 90 percent threshold for first doses of the vaccine. 

When 90 percent of the eligible populations under the three DHBs have received their second dose, Auckland can shift away from the existing alert level framework and enter the Government's new three-step 'traffic light' system, which will allow the Super City to reopen with public health measures in place - and without lockdowns. 

"Within as early as three weeks, you could see Auckland moving into the new framework, which opens up everything again. Yes, there are public health measures, but that is the place where people will be able to operate in a way that is more financially sustainable," Ardern told The AM Show on Monday morning.

"In the meantime, we continue with the Resurgence Support Payment and the wage subsidy, as we come to this point of transition."

8:05am - Almost 250 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded worldwide, with the average number of infections per day falling by 36 percent over the past three months, according to a Reuters analysis.

Although the spread of the virus has slowed, roughly 50 million people are still infected every 90 days due to the nature of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the analysis showed. Comparatively, it took almost a year to record the first 50 million cases.

Here's the latest on the pandemic from around the world.

7:55am - Ardern has shut down speculation that she may not run for re-election in 2023.

"I'm not going anywhere," she told The AM Show. "Do I have hard days? Absolutely, I'm human - but I'm not going anywhere.

"From time to time, you think 'this is a hard day'. I have plenty of those. Regardless of that, I am not going anywhere.

"It's politics - we know I am in one of the most unpredictable careers that there is."

7:50am - Ardern says Cabinet will consider on Monday whether Auckland is ready to shift to step two of the Government's 'roadmap' for the region - a three-stage plan to gradually ease restrictions in the stricken city.

Under step two, 25 people will be able to meet outdoors with masks and social distancing. Retailers will also be able to reopen, however hospitality venues are not included.

Business owners have argued that if 25 people are able to socialise in an outdoor setting, hospitality venues should be able to serve up to 25 customers al fresco.

Speaking to The AM Show, Ardern reiterated that hospitality will not be able to open under step two. Allowing venues to serve 25 socially distanced customers outdoors would not be a "viable" option for many businesses, she said.

"That wouldn't be a particularly viable level of operation for many of them."

When 90 percent of the eligible populations under Auckland's three DHBs are fully vaccinated, the region will be able to shift into the COVID-19 Protection Framework, Ardern noted - which will allow trading to resume for hospitality businesses. 

"Within as early as three weeks, you could see Auckland moving into the new framework, which opens up everything again. Yes, there are public health measures, but that is the place where people will be able to operate in a way that is more financially sustainable. In the meantime, we continue with the Resurgence Support Payment and the wage subsidy, as we come to this point of transition."

7:40am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is about to appear on The AM Show. You can watch the interview live on Three or via our livestream here.

7:30am - Dr Rod Jackson, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Auckland, told The AM Show on Monday that primary schools should not reopen until next year.

Jackson said young children should not return to the classroom until they have been fully vaccinated.

On Thursday (NZ time), the US began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children aged five to 11, two days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the vaccine could be broadly used in the age group. The vaccine is expected to become more widely accessible at pediatrician's offices, children's hospitals and pharmacies in the US next week.

It's currently unclear when the vaccine will become available to children aged five-to-11 in New Zealand.

"Schools are a super-spreading setting... I can't see why we can't get the majority of five-to-11-year-olds vaccinated," he said.

"I wouldn't open primary schools until next year, until we've got [children] vaccinated."

7:25am - Kia ora, welcome to Newshub's live updates for Monday, November 8.