As it happened: Latest on Parliament protest, COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, February 22

The Ministry of Health announced a jump in new community COVID cases with 2846 and a record 143 people in hospital on Tuesday.

It comes after Police Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers called anti-mandate protesters behaviour "disgraceful and unacceptable". Tensions kicked off this morning at Parliament with three police officers requiring medical care after being after sprayed by an unknown, stinging substance 

Earlier officers in riot gear moved concrete blockades forward to shrink the size of the protest area. 

A large number of protesters attempted to obstruct police from moving the concrete barriers. This saw three people were arrested for spraying the officers and one person was arrested after attempting to drive a car into a group of police officers. 

What you need to know:

  • There were 2846 new community COVID cases in New Zealand on Tuesday.
  • Location of new community cases: 1802 are in Auckland, 285 in Waikato, 206 in Southern, 105 in Canterbury, 86 in Bay of Plenty, 84 in Capital and Coast, 77 in Nelson Marlborough, 36 in Northland, 26 in Taranaki, 25 in Hawke's Bay, 25 in MidCentral, 25 in Hutt Valley, 19 in Lakes, 19 in Whanganui, 17 in Tairāwhiti, four in South Canterbury and two in  Wairarapa.
  • Number of new cases identified at the border on Tuesday: 15
  • Cases in hospital on Tuesday: Total number 143; 51 are in Middlemore, 50 in Auckland, 27 in North Shore, seven in Waikato, five in Tauranga, one in Lakes, one in Canterbury and one in  Tairāwhiti.
  • The Parliament protest is on day 15.
  • You can see the latest locations of interest here.

These live updates have finished.

9:25pm - Students at Wellington Girls' College will work from home up until and including Monday February 28, principal Julia Davidson says.

"Up until yesterday staff have been volunteering for extra duty before and after school to ensure that the many hundreds of students who travel by trains and buses had a safe passage to and from school. We asked the staff to let us know when this no longer felt ok for them," she says.

"At a meeting this afternoon they have made us aware that they no longer feel safe doing this. They are continually abused, filmed and people try to engage them in conversation without wearing masks."

She says it also isn't safe around shops in the suburb of Thorndon, school buses are no longer functioning so students are being dropped off further into the city and forced to walk past the protestors, and they're hearing from parents and students that they feel unsafe in the area.

"As you know, the wellbeing of our students and staff is paramount. I don't think we ever imagined this sort of situation, but it has happened and we need to respond," Davidson says.

"I am incredibly grateful to the staff and students for their work so far and to the Board for their support. This is really challenging for us all."

9:15pm - Waikato is the latest area to roll out rapid antigen tests as its laboratories struggle to meet COVID-19 testing demand.

The demand is causing a delay to process tests in the lab, with the DHB saying some tests may take up to seven days for a result.

Waikato District Health Board COVID-19 response executive lead Maree Munro said its labs were already at full capacity.

"We are seeing labs, reaching really, their full capacity and saying 'we can't deliver the results of tests in a timely manner, we need to do something about the demand that is coming in'."

As a result, Munro said it decided to use rapid antigen tests to combat demand.

Waikato is now the third region, behind Northland and Auckland, to have RATs available at community testing centres.

Read the full story here.

8:50pm - E tū union and the Public Service Association dropped off about 100 treat bags on Monday night made for cleaners, security staff, and those in Parliament who need to be on-site.

8:25pm - The New Zealand Medical Association has sent a rare red letter to members warning of the impact of Omicron on healthcare.

The red letter is used to notify its members and the wider profession about serious issues affecting it.

"While we continue to support the Government's approach to manage COVID-19 and minimise the impact on health and hospital services, there has been insufficient consideration of how these strategies will impact General Practice and the workforce that has been at the frontline of this pandemic," the letter says.

"In recent weeks we have seen the emergence of significant and growing demands and expectations of General Practice with little or no engagement or effort to agree the details and terms of the services implemented.

"We are concerned that these expectations ignore matters of capacity which is already stretched, matters of workforce which is already stressed, matters of sustainability which is already at crisis point, and the health of other patients who may be impacted due to these pressures."

NZMA's advice to members is that they give full consideration to capacity, workforce, sustainability and the impact on other patients before committing to COVID care in the community or other COVID services.

If people think they don't have the capacity to offer these services, then they need to inform their PHO or DHB in writing with their concerns and ask them to urgently consider alternative care pathways.

7:50pm - The following statement is from the leaders and organisers of the Parliament protest about antisocial behaviour from people who they say are not associated with the protest:

The Wellington protest group is shocked by the alleged violent and antisocial behaviour exhibited during the past 48 hours by a number of individuals who do not appear to be associated with the protest.

Throughout, we have continually sought to work with Police to identify individuals involved in any criminal acts and maintain a safe and peaceful environment. We are ever-mindful that approximately 15 percent of protestors present are either children or aged over 60, and 55 percent are women.

However, significant concern has arisen during the past 48 hours over a notable lack of action by Police against identified individuals committing offences outside the protest area.

Emerging evidence of potential external involvement in placing these agitators among the protest is even more worrying.

The individual who sprayed faecal matter at Police on Monday morning was unknown to protestors. He intentionally hid behind a protestor as he sprayed the police, wore a ski mask and fled immediately. Protest organisers have asked Police for pictures from surveillance footage to help us ascertain if the person is still amongst the protest. Police denied the request.

We are now worried he may have returned to the site to perpetrate further violent acts.

Video and photographic evidence has emerged that agitators use earpieces identical to that used by Police. An individual letting off loud fireworks to the rear of the protest on Tuesday morning, making a sound similar to gunshots that naturally increased tension, was immediately stopped by other protestors, and he was handed over to Police. Footage of this person is widely available on social media.

It is not surprising that many of those at the protest site are now suspicious that a deliberate and coordinated action by external parties is being waged to escalate tensions and smear the protestors.

Given the enormous numbers of Police and blanket surveillance of the area, we've been advised they are tracking specific trouble-makers but not acting. We can only perceive their protracted inaction is at the bidding of the Government's PR machine. Meanwhile, anywhere up to 10,000 people per day peacefully visit Parliament grounds to protest these mandates.

The person who allegedly sprayed a mystery substance into the eyes of three Police officers today was also a person unknown to any of the protestors present. He was wearing a face-covering similar to a ski mask.

The vehicle rolled into the back of officers was outside of the protest site (as were the other events) and in an area in which Police have jurisdiction. No one was hurt.

The leaders of the combined groups that comprise the majority of the protestors condemn any acts of violence and request that Police do more to work with them in removing known perpetrators. We also believe that subversive actions of people posing as protestors is an underhand and dishonest tactic that doesn’t fit with New Zealand values.

It has not been helpful today that Police raised with media the possibility for sexual assaults before communicating that to us and before anything of the nature had occurred at the site. This is despite a legal representative having daily and sometimes hourly contact with Police on our behalf for this express purpose.

We are increasingly of the view that Police are playing PR games – taking a leaf out of the Prime Minister's book. It's not drawing too long a bow to observe that it would suit the interests of both Police and Government for the trouble-makers to cause problems for media to report widely upon.

We urge politicians to reflect on a professional survey that revealed the majority of protestors are the exact opposite of "ferals", far-right extremists and "a river of filth". Of the 312 people researchers spoke to on-site over the weekend, 27 percent are Maori, and 45 percent voted Labour or Greens at the last election.

Speaking on behalf of the majority of the groups represented on-site, we are unanimous in our commitment to maintaining a peaceful protest that does not support any violence.

Today, we have passed on our sympathies via official Police channels to the officers injured during the past few days.

As it happened: Latest on Parliament protest, COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, February 22
Photo credit: Getty Images

7:40pm - Here's the latest from the Ministry of Health on vaccine rates across New Zealand.

The table was recently updated to also include booster rates for all district health boards.

Northland is the only DHB that hasn't given two doses to eligible residents. It is sitting on 87.6 percent double-vaxxed.

In terms of boosters, the Nelson-Marlborough DHB is leading the way, with 74.3 percent of those eligible for the booster having received it.

A full breakdown of vaccine data is available here.

As it happened: Latest on Parliament protest, COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, February 22
Photo credit: Ministry of Health

7:10pm - The Southern District Health Board says the reported number of cases in the area is not reflective of the true number of cases in the district.

"It is estimated that total case numbers in the Southern district is closer to 1200 with escalating numbers in the last two days," they say.

"Please be vigilant when out in the community. COVID-19 is widespread, and we all run the risk of being exposed."

There are 690 active cases in the area. Of these, Dunedin has 349, Queenstown-Lakes 270, Invercargill 29, Waitaki 13, Central Otago 11, remaining Southland areas eight, Gore seven, and Clutha one.

6:30pm - Winston Peters says a young girl delivered him a hand-written note while he was at the protest.

The note says: "Hi. Thank you for being in Wellington to fight for freedom. You are a hero to me. Love Lacey."

Peters tweeted the young girl told him to open the note once he got home.

"This is who they are," Peters says.

6:20pm - ACT leader David Seymour says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should open the border to all overseas travellers.

"Today there were 2846 new cases in the community and just 15 new cases at the border. Pretty soon, there will be so many Omicron cases in New Zealand compared with the rest of the world, it will seem bizarre that it's us locking them out," he says.

"Jacinda all but asked for a medal when she said the border would be open to New Zealanders in Australia if they isolate for seven days. She should be apologising for keeping unnecessary restrictions that do not make sense for too long."

Seymour says it makes "absolutely no sense" to put people through queuing online for a MIQ spot when there are more cases in the community than in those arriving from overseas.

"In pre-COVID times, around 20,000 people arrived in New Zealand each day. That is 0.4 percent of the New Zealand population. If those people had Omicron at the same rate as New Zealanders, they would add to daily cases by 0.4 percent. Requiring a negative test would dramatically reduce that number. We are keeping the border closed to reduce daily case numbers by a fraction of a percent," Seymour says.

"People are unlikely to travel if they’re ill, most travellers will be people who are unlikely to be hospitalised. The effect on hospitalisation and ICU capacity from opening the border will be unnoticeable.

"There are thousands of people isolating at home with Omicron, but it will still be weeks or months before Kiwis, workers, students and tourists can come here. It’s illogical."

Seymour says there is a relatively low risk to public health by those arriving from overseas compared to community cases, particularly in Auckland.

"This confirms what ACT has been saying for months. There is now no public health reason not to ditch MIQ altogether," he says.

"The Government should accept it is wrong and end MIQ in favour of home isolation for negatively tested travellers immediately."

6pm - It's time for Newshub Live at 6pm for the latest on the COVID-19 outbreak and protest activity at Parliament.

Watch online here or tune in on Three.

5:40pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accused National leader Christopher Luxon of dancing "dangerously close to sympathy" for the Parliament protesters. 

Ardern's comments came after Luxon delivered a speech on Monday declaring New Zealand "increasingly divided", which he attributed - among other things - to the Government's COVID-19 response. 

"What we are seeing outside Parliament, and the reaction to it, is the culmination of underlying issues that have been rumbling along in our communities for some time," Luxon said.

"It's driven by COVID and vaccine mandates, yes, but the frustrations shared by many Kiwis are also driven by a Government that seems to be stalling."

Luxon delivered his speech on the day the protest at Parliament against vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions entered its third week. 

While Ardern has refused to engage with the protesters, describing it as "illegal", Luxon and ACT leader David Seymour have been calling on the Government to provide a vaccine mandate end date.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins on Sunday accused Seymour of "dog-whistling to anti-vaxxers" for suggesting it was time to consider scrapping the mandates. 

Luxon is now facing similar accusations from Ardern after his speech. 

"All parties in Parliament have said that we will not engage with those who are so blatantly breaking the law in their occupation of Wellington right now, and that was a very clear statement," Ardern said on Tuesday. 

"It is a statement that certainly I stand by and we as the Labour Party stand by."

Read the full story here.

5:20pm - Parents at Auckland's Maungawhau School in Mt Eden have been told via email that there are currently six confirmed cases within the school. 

Three of these are linked to an external social event.

"With the delay in test results, the latest notification and student's attendance at school means that at this stage no one is deemed a close contact," the email says.

5pm - The Freedom and Rights Coalition (TFRC) says if mandates aren't lifted by March 1, they have "mass rolling non-compliance actions underway" that they will "peacefully" activate nationwide that will impact "most New Zealanders".

"These actions can be avoided by this Government and officials if they take proactive action now," they say.

"Also over these next seven days, our TFRC team on the ground will continue to show support at Parliament grounds by way of providing peaceful security, resources, and personnel.

"These next seven days are critical for New Zealand. Stand with us in solidarity, as we continue to stand up to this Government."

TFRC says while many people are distracted by the "extreme fringe element" of people at the protest, they remain focused on the business at hand.

They say they've extended a formal invitation to Jacinda Ardern, the police, and the Wellington Mayor to meet for "frank discussions".

"This meeting will be respectful, safe, proactive and ultimately solution-focused, and provide an opportunity for legitimate concerns to be discussed," they say.

On Saturday February 26, they will march at significant landmarks nationwide. The Auckland march will feature the harbour bridge, they say.

And when 10am on March 1 rolls around, they expect the Government to have lifted mandates after their negotiations.

"We will not accept just vague inferences from the PM. We want a clear decisive directive for mandates to be lifted," they say.

"It was always the original intention that once mandates lift we will clean out the camp on Parliament's front lawn, so Parliament officials and Wellingtonians can return to some version of life as normal."

4:45pm - Here is a photo showing a line of police at a barricade.

As it happened: Latest on Parliament protest, COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, February 22
Photo credit: Newshub.

4:25pm - Winston Peters says he was down at Parliament today to listen to the protesters and hear their side of the story.

"The Govt and politicians' refusal to talk is just going to make things much worse," he tweeted.

4:20pm - Police are now moving down Bowen Street in riot gear.

As it happened: Latest on Parliament protest, COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, February 22
Photo credit: Newshub.
As it happened: Latest on Parliament protest, COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, February 22
Photo credit: Newshub.

3:55pm - Here are some more images of Winston Peters at the protest. He is with former MP Darroch Ball.

As it happened: Latest on Parliament protest, COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, February 22
Photo credit: Newshub.
As it happened: Latest on Parliament protest, COVID-19 community outbreak - Tuesday, February 22
Photo credit: Newshub.

3:35pm - As New Zealand enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a leading bank economist expects economic growth to slow.

In an economic overview report released on Tuesday, Westpac acting chief economist Michael Gordon says the price of the country's largely successful approach to managing COVID-19 is now revealing itself. 

Buoyed by Government and monetary policy stimulus, strong economic recovery is "running up against capacity constraints", Gordon says in the report. 

While economic activity is expected to "remain firm" this year, conditions are mixed across the economy. 

The Omicron outbreak and public health measures are expected to dampen economic growth in the early part of this year. 

The number of workers in self-isolation is expected to increase, raising the risk of high absenteeism. Rising case numbers are also affecting the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Read the full story here.

3:15pm - New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is now at the protest.

3:05pm - Here is a statement from Wellington Free Ambulance on its team members no longer entering the protest zone:

As of 3pm Wellington Free Ambulance has made the difficult decision to no longer enter the protest area at Parliament. 

This decision has been made to prioritise the safety of our paramedics following the increase in hostilities experienced both this morning and yesterday.

As the only provider of ambulance services in the region, we will continue to support people requiring urgent medical attention, but this will be at a designated safe space outside the recently established cordon.  

It has been widely publicised that the protestors have established their own medical support within the cordon area.  The Wellington Free Ambulance Tactical Emergency Support team will remain behind the cordon to support the NZ Police response.

Please be assured that if residents, people at their place of work or shopping in or close by the protest zone require support we will respond as per standard procedure.

Over the past 95 years Wellington Free Ambulance has responded to emergencies for anyone, anywhere, no matter the circumstances and this decision has not been made lightly. We hope that our community of supporters understand the need to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our paramedics during this time of ongoing unrest in the capital.

3pm - A Long COVID sufferer made redundant by Air New Zealand says the company has failed in its role as an accredited ACC employer after being turned down for personal injury cover.

Former cabin crew member Daniel Lavender said his application for cover wasn't helped by a lack of medical knowledge among doctors and specialists about his post-viral condition.

Advocates now fear others will face similar problems when seeking financial support as an expected wave of post-viral illnesses hits New Zealand this year due to an increase in COVID-19 infections.

Lavender lost his job just weeks after testing positive for COVID-19 while on a tour of duty in Shanghai on 22 November, 2020.

The Auckland man said he had openly criticised "the level of cross-contamination" when surveillance testing was carried on arrival at Shanghai Airport the week before, the period he believed he came into contact with the virus. Staff and passengers from other aircraft had been grouped together as they lined closely to get swabbed, he said.

Lavender was repatriated from China and remained at Auckland's Jett Park managed-isolation facility for two weeks before returning to work.

The company had informed him of redundancy on 29 October, along with other staff, which came into effect on 9 December, 2020.

Read the full story here.

2:45pm - The Prime Minister's press conference has finished.

2:44pm - On getting COVID-19 tests, Ardern says if people aren't symptomatic and are just getting one because they're worried, they are making queues longer than they need to be.

She says while she understands their anxiety, she only wants people who need access to a test to get one.

2:39pm - Ardern says the Government and the police have been talking with iwi to make sure they have the support they need during the protest.

She says that what's happening in Wellington "is not New Zealand".

"What we have is a group who is simply going too far, who are breaking the law, and who need to leave," she says,

2:35pm - On the protest, Ardern says the protesters' behaviour towards police is "absolutely disgraceful".

She also encourages people to leave the protest.

Ardern says she was concerned for police officers' safety after she heard a currently unidentified liquid was thrown over one officer this morning.

2:32pm - Ardern says border changes will continue and they will continue taking advice on this.

This includes self-isolation requirements, which has already changed from 10 days to seven days, and they expect this to change again.

2:28pm - Jacinda Ardern has arrived.

She says it is exciting to welcome Kiwis back from Australia from midnight on February 27.

Travellers will receive a welcome pack on arrival that includes rapid antigen tests.

2:25pm - Jacinda Ardern is speaking in Auckland at 2:30pm after being briefed on the airport's readiness for the border opening to New Zealanders travelling from Australia on Sunday. 

The Prime Minister is expected to speak about the ongoing Parliament protest, the COVID-19 Omicron response, and Russia sending forces into eastern Ukraine.

You can watch the livestream here.

2:20pm - Over in Queensland, Australia, there are 5583 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths. 

A total 394 people are in hospital, 34 of whom are in ICU.

2:05pm - There's "absolutely no need for dialogue" with protesters occupying Parliament's grounds, Newshub's Patrick Gower believes.

There have been calls - including from former Prime Minister Jim Bolger - for political leaders to head down to the demonstration that has engulfed the front lawn of Parliament and blocked surrounding streets and speak to protesters about their demands and concerns.

MPs have so far been unwilling to enter dialogue with the occupiers, saying their protest is illegal and causing significant disruption to nearby businesses. There have been reports of protesters abusing members of the public, while some have also made death threats towards politicians and journalists.

Speaker Trevor Mallard released a statement on behalf of all parties in Parliament last week clarifying there would be no dialogue with protesters "until the protest returns to one within the law". 

Gower, Newshub's National Correspondent, told AM on Tuesday that his view was that there was "absolutely no need for dialogue". 

"All of this talk about having a dialogue with the people on the front lawn of Parliament. I saw a sign there yesterday comparing the Prime Minister to the person who committed March 15," Gower said.

"We don't need dialogue with these people, in my view. No need for dialogue. Cops should have been in there ages ago. If there's some sort of review coming up where the police review their actions, forget about it. It'll be a whitewash. Let's just get on and get these guys out of there."

Read the full story here.

1:50pm - Police say there is significant traffic congestion near COVID-19 testing sites across Auckland. Congestion is particularly bad at:

Takanini Community Testing Centre at 8 Great South Road, Takanini

The Whanau Ora Community Clinic, 25 Druces Rd, Wiri

Northcote Community Testing Centre, 16-18 College Rd, Northcote.

"Motorists are advised to try and avoid these areas as large queues of vehicles at these testing sites are causing significant traffic disruption," police say.

"As a result Police are working with the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) and traffic management plans are being put into place to ease this disruption.

"Police also ask people to consider visiting an alternate testing centre."

1:35pm - The Jewish Council of New Zealand says it condemns the antisemitic language that it has witnessed at the protests at Parliament.

"It is important to remember that while not all protestors agree with the sentiment, standing by and staying silent alongside such abhorrent sentiment gives it legitimacy and oxygen," they say.

"Conspiratorial politics is a fertile breeding ground for antisemitism, history has taught us this. We ask the public to stand with the New Zealand Jewish community and reject antisemitism, misinformation and conspiracy theories."

1:09pm - Here is the latest data from the Ministry of Health on the outbreak and vaccination campaign:

COVID-19 vaccine update 

Vaccinations administered in New Zealand  

  • Vaccines administered to date: 4,016,886 first doses (for those 12+) ; 3,953,287 second doses (for those 12+); 32,553 third primary doses; 2,197,887 booster doses: 229,583 paediatric first doses and 1,962 paediatric second doses*. 
  • Vaccines administered yesterday: 471 first doses; 981 second doses; 66 third primary doses; 27,770 booster doses; 1,273 paediatric first doses and 125 paediatric second doses. 

People vaccinated  (including those vaccinated overseas)

  • All Ethnicities (percentage of eligible people aged 12+): 4,059,178 Partially vaccinated (96.4%); 3,994,253 second doses (94.9%), 2,199,518 boosted (67.1% of those eligible)**. 
  • Māori (percentage of eligible people aged 12+): 517,930 Partially vaccinated (90.7%); 496,135 second doses (86.9%), 182,986 boosted (56.5% of those eligible). 
  • Pacific Peoples (percentage of eligible people aged 12+): 280,045 first doses (97.7%); 273,635 second doses (95.4%), 109,954 boosted (54% of those eligible). 
  • 5 to 11-year-olds all ethnicities: 229,487 first doses (48.2%). 
  • 5 to 11-year-olds - Māori: 33,000 first doses (28.6%). 
  • 5 to 11-year-olds - Pacific Peoples: 19,688 first doses (39.9%). 

* In recent days, the total number of vaccines administered to date for first and second doses has included paediatric doses, which explains why today’s figures appear lower. Reporting going forward for total vaccines administered to date will not include paediatric doses.

**Note, that the number for “People vaccinated” differs slightly from “Vaccines administered” as it includes those that have been vaccinated overseas.

Vaccination rates for all DHBs (percentage of eligible people aged 12 +)

  • Northland DHB: partially vaccinated (90.2%); fully vaccinated (87.6%); boosted (66.5%). 
  • Auckland Metro DHB: partially vaccinated (97.3%); fully vaccinated (96%); boosted (64%). 
  • Waikato DHB: partially vaccinated (95.2%); fully vaccinated (93.3%); boosted (63.7%). 
  • Bay of Plenty DHB: partially vaccinated (95.2%); fully vaccinated (93.1%); boosted (64.9%). 
  • Lakes DHB: partially vaccinated (93.5%); fully vaccinated (91.2%); boosted (65.7%). 
  • MidCentral DHB: partially vaccinated (96.7%); fully vaccinated (95%); boosted (69.7%). 
  • Tairāwhiti DHB: partially vaccinated (93.2%); fully vaccinated (90.4%); boosted (66.1%). 
  • Whanganui DHB: partially vaccinated (92.3%); fully vaccinated (90.3%); boosted (70.9%). 
  • Hawke’s Bay DHB: partially vaccinated (97.1%); fully vaccinated (94.9%); boosted (68.6%). 
  • Taranaki DHB: partially vaccinated (94.8%); fully vaccinated (92.9%); boosted (64.5%). 
  • Wairarapa DHB: partially vaccinated (96.7%); fully vaccinated (94.9%); boosted (72.4%). 
  • Capital and Coast DHB: partially vaccinated (98.7%); fully vaccinated (97.7%); boosted (74%). 
  • Hutt Valley DHB: partially vaccinated (96.9%); fully vaccinated (95.5%); boosted (71.5%). 
  • Nelson Marlborough DHB: partially vaccinated (96.8%); fully vaccinated (95.2%); boosted (74.3%). 
  • West Coast DHB: partially vaccinated (93%); fully vaccinated (91%); boosted (70.5%). 
  • Canterbury DHB: partially vaccinated (99.7%); fully vaccinated (98.4%); boosted (68.2%). 
  • South Canterbury DHB: partially vaccinated (95.4%); fully vaccinated (94%); boosted (71.9%). 
  • Southern DHB: partially vaccinated (97.8%); fully vaccinated (96.4%); boosted (72%).

**First and second dose percentages are for those 12+. Booster dose percentages are for 18+ who have become eligible three months after having their second dose.


  • Cases in hospital: total number 143: North Shore: 27; Middlemore: 51; Auckland: 50; Tauranga: 5; Lakes: 1; Waikato: 7; Tairāwhiti: 1; Canterbury: 1
  • Average age of current hospitalisations: 56
  • Cases in ICU or HDU: 1
  • Vaccination status of current hospitalisations (Northern Region only, excluding Emergency Departments): Unvaccinated or not eligible (19 cases / 18%); partially immunised <7 days from second dose or have only received one dose (4 cases / 4%); fully vaccinated at least 7 days before being reported as a case (80 cases / 75%); unknown (4 cases / 4%).


  • Seven day rolling average of community cases: 1,966
  • Seven day rolling average of border cases: 11
  • Number of new community cases: 2,846
  • Location of new community cases*: Northland (36), Auckland (1,802), Waikato (285), Bay of Plenty (86), Lakes (19), Hawke’s Bay (25), MidCentral (25), Whanganui (19), Taranaki (26), Tairāwhiti (17), Wairarapa (2), Capital and Coast (84), Hutt Valley (25), Nelson Marlborough (77), Canterbury (105), South Canterbury (4), Southern (206).
  • Number of new cases identified at the border: 15
  • Location of origin of border cases: Full travel history not obtained (14); United Arab Emirates (1)
  • Number of active community cases (total): 18,628 (cases identified in the past 21 days and not yet classified as recovered) 
  • Confirmed cases (total): 35,771

* Please note, the Ministry of Health’s daily reported cases may differ slightly from those reported at a DHB or local public health unit level. This is because of different reporting cut off times and the assignment of cases between regions, for example when a case is tested outside their usual region of residence. Total numbers will always be the formal daily case tally as reported to the WHO.


  • Number of tests total (last 24 hours): 24,351
  • Tests rolling average (last 7 days): 29,036
  • Number of Rapid Antigen Tests stock available in New Zealand: 7.3 million

1:07pm - The ministry has provided an update on the booster rollout:

The booster rollout continues with more than 27,770 booster doses administered across the motu yesterday.

With Omicron spreading rapidly in New Zealand, it is important everyone who is eligible gets a booster dose, which greatly reduces your chances of getting severely ill and requiring hospital care if you test positive for COVID-19.

This will reduce COVID-19 hospitalisations and ensure there is capacity in our health system for anyone who needs care.

If it has been three months since your last dose, please book your booster today.

Testing reminder

The Ministry of Health continues to stress the importance of the right people being tested for the right reasons.

Over the last week, a significant number of concerned people who don’t need a test are going to get a test – those are people who don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms and are not a contact of a case.

People should only get tested if they have cold or flu symptoms, have been identified as a close contact of a case, or have been asked to get tested by a health official.

As demand for testing has grown, some COVID-19 test results for Auckland and Waikato are currently taking longer to process at laboratories. The use of rapid antigen testing, alongside PCR testing, will improve this process at a time of exceptional demand in Phase 2, provided the Community Testing Centre queues are freely available for those who really need a test.

We are anticipating continued high demand at our COVID-19 testing sites, so our request is to, please, be patient. Staff across the testing network are working tirelessly, to process tests and return results in a timely way. We would like to thank them for their recent mahi.

For a full list of testing sites nationwide, visit the Healthpoint website.

1:06pm - The Ministry of Health has announced another record day of cases with 2846 new infections and 143 people in hospital on Tuesday.

Of the new community infections, 1802 are in Auckland, 285 in Waikato, 206 in Southern, 105 in Canterbury, 86 in Bay of Plenty, 84 in Capital and Coast, 77 in Nelson Marlborough, 36 in Northland, 26 in Taranaki, 25 in Hawke's Bay, 25 in MidCentral, 25 in Hutt Valley, 19 in Lakes, 19 in Whanganui, 17 in Tairāwhiti, four in South Canterbury and two in  Wairarapa.

The ministry announced another record day of hospitalisations with 143 people in hospital with one in ICU or HDU.

Of the 143 people in hospital:51 are in Middlemore, 50 in Auckland, 27 in North Shore, seven in Waikato, five in Tauranga, one in Lakes, one in Canterbury and one in  Tairāwhiti.

There are 15 new COVID cases recorded at the border in Managed Isolation and Quarantine.

12:40pm - As usual, the Ministry of Health will release its daily statement with the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak at around 1pm.

Stay tuned, as we will publish the newest developments live as soon as the statement is available.

12:32pm - Here is an update from the police on the protest activity that occurred on Tuesday morning outside Parliament that left three officers in hospital and three protesters arrested. 

Here is the full statement:

Police continue to be extremely appalled by the behaviour exhibited by protesters at Parliament.

Three officers were taken to hospital for a medical assessment this morning after being sprayed with a stinging substance that is still to be determined.

All three are reported to be doing well.

Other officers were fortunate to escape injury after a person deliberately drove the wrong way down Molesworth Street and stopped just short of colliding with them. 

Two people have been arrested for obstructing police and one person has been arrested for driving in a dangerous manner.

The work undertaken by officers this morning was to further reduce the perimeters around the protest at Parliament.

This work is part of our ongoing efforts to reduce the impact of the protest on Wellingtonians, particularly those who live, work and study in the area around Parliament. 

About 250 staff were involved in the operation early this morning to shift the existing concrete bollards to further reduce the area of protest activity. 

Staff secured locations at Aitken, Molesworth and Hill streets to allow forklift vehicles to move the concrete blocks.  The bollard line on Aitken Street and Hill Street was moved in about 50 metres, and about 100 metres on Molesworth Street.

Following yesterday’s traffic management operation to install the barriers, Police were made aware of protesters' plans to again throw human waste at officers.  Shields were only deployed this morning after protesters had thrown objects at staff.

Officers will continue to be highly visible in and around the protest area today.

As we stated yesterday, it has become increasingly clear that genuine protesters are no longer in control of the behaviour in and around Parliament.   

Police do not wish to interfere with lawful protest, but the behaviours we are seeing are unlawful and will result in enforcement action.

12:25pm - National says some hospitals around New Zealand were are at 100 percent occupancy before the spike in Omicron cases. 

National's Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says the Delta outbreak has exposed Andrew Little's failure to resource ICUs.

Here is the full statement:

The Delta outbreak exposed Andrew Little's failure to resource ICUs, and now Omicron is exposing his failure to resource general hospital beds, Reti says.

"Newly released data shows that on 9 February 2022, general hospital ward beds across all hospitals in New Zealand were already at an average of 82 per cent occupancy. This was at a time when there was only 204 community cases and 16 in hospital.

"Whangarei Hospital had 100 per cent occupancy and hospitals in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, Wairau, Waikato and Whanganui, were all at more than 90 per cent occupancy.

"We don't have enough beds and we also don't have enough nurses. The same data shows more than 2,000 nursing vacancies across the sector, including 400 vacancies at Auckland hospital alone.

"The combination of full hospitals, not enough nurses, Omicron starting to surge and winter fast approaching is a deadly mix.

"People with Omicron will be pushed out into an unprepared community and people waiting for surgery and cancer treatment will have their procedures cancelled.

"Andrew Little has not prepared the health system. What he has done is spend large on consultants and a health restructure instead of ICU beds and nurses.

"How many lives are going to be affected by Andrew Little's constant poor decisions?"

12:11pm - Chambers said there has certainly been some commentary around breaching Parliament and they are well placed and well-positioned to deal with anything like that.

He said they are still receiving reports of members of the public being harassed.

The press conference has now ended.

12:08pm - Chambers said it was quite possible there were a number of people in the group who had come here with the intention from the outset of being disruptive.

12:06pm - Chambers said police will continue talking to protest leaders who they believe wanted things to be peaceful, but a group of people were determined to bring violence and aggression, and police could not tolerate that.

12:04pm - Chambers said police had been bringing in staff from around the country and would continue to do that for as long as necessary.

As of yesterday approxamently, 800-900 vehicles and that number have reduced but he did not have today's numbers. 

12:02pm - The reason officers wore shields today was for their safety and they had information protesters would through faeces at them today just like yesterday. No officers were armed, Chambers said.

12pm - "Absolutely no doubt" protesters who are choosing to leave is because of what they are seeing. He said that a steady flow of vehicles and people have been choosing to go home, Chambers said.

11:59am - Chambers said no one was injured when a protester drove a car towards police. The driver of the vehicle was also not hurt.

That person was facing charges, and police were looking at other charges that may relate to his behaviour this morning.

11:56am - We remain hopeful dialogue between police and protesters will de-escalate the situation, Chambers says.

He said he will not discuss the police future operations.

11:55am - Chambers says there have been suggestions there may be sexual assaults in the protest area.  Police are the only agency that can investigate those incidents, and he asked anyone with something to report to please come forward.

Chambers can't confirm the substance thrown at police. 

11:54am - Chambers calls the behaviour by a group of protesters "disgraceful and unacceptable" and police will continue to work with protest leaders. 

Three officers recovering well.

11:52am - We are working, very very hard to reduce the impact of that protest on the community and to be met by the resistance we saw this morning is very disappointing, Chambers says.

11:51amThe focus is on restoring roads to Wellingtonionians and restoring the protest to a peaceful protest, Chambers says. 

"The behaviour of a certain group within the protest group is absolutely disgraceful."

11:49am - Chambers said three officers in hospital for substances thrown at them. After the conflict this morning, three people have been arrested - two for obstruction and a third for driving in a dangerous manner.

11:48am - Chambers says the concrete barriers are to improve traffic flow and stop more vehicles coming in and allow Wellingtonians to get on with their life. 

He said the operation today was aimed at further opening up roads and reducing the impact of the protest, Chambers said.

11:46am - Richard Chambers is here and now providing an update on the protest.

He acknowledges the police staff and Wellingtonians over the last two weeks. He thanked protest leaders for their dialogue with officers.

11:41am - Just a reminder, police Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers will provide an update on the anti-mandate protest at 11:45am. 

We will be live streaming it and you can watch it here or at the top of the page.

11:20am - The Ministry of Health has announced three new 'high risk' locations of interest. 

The locations are: 

  • Central Worship Centre Avondale - Sunday, 13 February from 9am to 1:30pm 

  • Roxy Auckland CBD - Sunday, 20 February from 12:30am to 2am 

  • Jetstar Flight JQ285 Auckland to Dunedin - Wednesday, 16 February from 2:25pm to 4:10pm 

The ministry says if you were on the Jetstar flight, you're a close contact if you were seated in rows 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 

The ministry says if you were a close contact on the flight or at the other two locations then you "must self-isolate for 7 days, test on day 5 after you were exposed at this location of interest. Monitor symptoms for 10 days. Test again if you feel unwell". 

For the relevant dates, times and public health advice - and updates to existing locations of interest - click here.

11:15am - In Victoria, they have seen a rise in cases with 6786 new COVID infections on Tuesday. 

The rise in cases comes after Victoria recorded 5611 new infections on Monday.

Victoria Health said there had been a jump in coronavirus deaths with 14 on Tuesday, up from three recorded on Monday. 

Hospitalisations have slightly decreased with currently 345 people in hospital, up from 361 on Monday, with 48 in ICU and eight on a ventilator. 

There are currently 47,464 active cases in Victoria.

11:09am - Over in Australia, New South Wales has seen a big jump in COVID cases with 8752 new infections in the past 24 hours. 

The big jump in cases comes after NSW recorded 4916 infections on Monday, which was the fifth straight day cases had dropped. 

NSW Health said there had been 14 coronavirus deaths, which is up from seven recorded on Monday. 

Hospitalisations have slightly increased with 1293 people in hospital, up from 1288 on Monday with 71 people in ICU.

10:55am - US comedian John Oliver has jokingly mocked New Zealand for their handling of the anti-mandate protest that has stretched into a 15th day. 

In his latest episode of Last Week Tonight, Oliver starts off by updating the situation of the Canada Convoy protest which was finally concluded a couple of days ago after lasting three weeks in Ottawa.

Oliver then turns his attention to New Zealand and describes the "novel way" the Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard tried to remove protesters.

Oliver shows a CNN clip describing New Zealand's "softer tactics" by playing music and turning on the sprinklers to try to disperse the crowds. 

"Oh come on, New Zealand!" Oliver jokingly said. 

"Playing James Blunt or Barry Manilow clearly is not going to cut it here. You're not going to move on people this angry with the actions of a bad wedding DJ.

"Besides as we all now know, if you want a crowd to dispute, you don't go with Disney or James Blunt.

"Take it from me, you go with the only song to clear the room and it's this [showing a clip of the Blind Monday band], 100 percent successful."   

10:37am - Police Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers will hold a media stand up at 11:45am today to provide an update on the latest developments of the protest. We will live stream the stand up and you can watch it here.

10:20am - Overwhelmed laboratories are struggling to keep up with the demand of processing COVID tests and have called for Prime Minister to see the reality firsthand.

Jacinda Ardern insists the system can keep up but experts on the ground say it is crumbling.

"This is one heck of a challenge - this is, we all know, probably one battle that we're not going to win, Terry Taylor, New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science (NZIMLS) president, told Newshub. 

About 28,000 Kiwis are currently getting a PCR test every day and Taylor says staff in laboratories around the country are working in overdrive to process them.

"They are actually really chasing their tail at the moment. There's a lot of stress and strain on those laboratory staff," Taylor says.

Newshub put the concern to the Prime Minister at Monday's press conference. She disputed it and insisted the system is keeping up with the demand. 

"I wouldn't agree with that. We have the capacity to process 35,000 or more PCR tests on any given day," Ardern said. 

Read the full story here.

9:53am - In world COVID news, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has scrapped all COVID restrictions in England on Tuesday (NZ time) saying it's time to "let us learn to live with this virus and continue protecting ourselves and others without restricting our freedoms". 

Johnson's "living with COVID" plan has sparked alarm that it is premature and will leave the country vulnerable to new viral variants, but the government says it has provided more testing than most other countries, and must now curb the cost.

"Restrictions pose a heavy toll on our economy, our society, our mental well being and on the life chances of our children, and we do not need to pay that cost any longer," Johnson told parliament.

Read the full story here.

9:38am - Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has condemned the 'distressing' scenes outside Parliament after a man drove a car into police officers.

Robertson says the scene outside Parliament on Tuesday reinforces why the anti-mandate protests need to end.

In an interview with AM, Robertson says he's grateful to the frontline police officers who on Tuesday morning were sprayed by protesters with an "unknown substance" - just a day after demonstrators threw human waste at cops

"I've seen those images and some of them are pretty distressing, too. I've seen that someone appears to have driven a car into the police as well," he said.

9:16am - BusinessNZ says the protest around Parliament is having a "detrimental impact" on businesses and efforts should be made end the protest disruption in Wellington and around the country.

"The protests are having a detrimental impact on already hard-hit businesses across the country, and particularly in Wellington," BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope says.

"Survey results shared with us by our regional partners at the Wellington Chamber of Commerce show that on top of an already tough trading environment under traffic light settings, the protest has caused an additional downturn in business to nearly half of the enterprises that responded."

Hope says protesters have made their views known regarding the mandate and a collection of other matters, and should now disperse in the interests of safety and law and order in the Capital and around New Zealand.

"Ongoing disruption is impacting jobs, livelihoods and access to education."

8:59am Newshub Political Editor Jenna Lynch has told AM five officers have been injured on Tuesday morning after a clash between protesters and police.  

"It has calmed down a bit but the protesters behind me [on Parliament's lawn] are very, very angry," she said. 

"Basically what happened this morning was police tried to bring forward some of those barricades - those big concrete blockades - around Parliament to try to shrink the size of the area that the protesters have occupied. 

"It got really, really ugly out there. The cops had riot gear on and speaking to a police officer before, it sounded like five officers have been injured in these altercations. The police even had a car driven at them by the protesters.         

"Yesterday there were seven police officers injured as well. That police officer told me five more were injured today. One of the worrying things he told me were some of them had something sprayed at their faces and they aren't too sure what it is. They think it might be acid but police don't know that so we can't verify it, but that is very, very concerning to what at the least."

Lynch told AM even though the tensions on the surrounding streets seem to be calming down, protesters on the grounds of Parliament are "pretty rucked up" and yelling at police and media.  

"People on the ground here, actually inside the Parliament grounds, there is still that kind of small but vocal group that always stay here overnight,' she said.

"They are pretty rucked up this morning. Usually, they normally yell at the cops a little bit but we are hearing a lot more, even targeted at us [media] this morning as well. 

"In the surrounding streets, it did kind of seem everything was getting kind of mellow, protesters security guys were kind of clearing guys out of the way for teachers to make their way to work at the surrounding schools. That heavy clash that we saw this morning appears to have died down."

8:41am - Videos show frontline police have been subjected to verbal abuse, threats as the protest turned violent.

In the video, you can hear protesters saying "step back and leave" as police stood in a line on Molesworth Street. 

One protester called police a "criminal like the mafia" just moments before the white car drove into police and braked just inches short of hitting them.

Please be aware the following video has language that may disturb.

8:30am - Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has called some of the scenes in Wellington on Tuesday morning by protesters "distressing" and has thanked police for their work. 

"No I didn't have any trouble getting in [into Parliament] today, obviously I have seen those images and some of them are pretty distressing," Robertson told AM.

"I see someone has appeared to drive a car into police as well, so police are out there doing their job but I do want to say as the local Wellington MP here how grateful I am for the work they have been doing. 

"I know on behalf of Wellingtonians they want this protest to end, it's disrupting their lives, businesses, people going to school getting harassed and abused, excrement being poured down the drains here. 

"This is an illegal protest and whatever point the protester were trying to make, Wellingtonians want to see the protest end."      

8:23am -  A father has detailed what kids in Wellington are going through as a result of the protest outside Parliament that has stretched into a 15th day.

A Wellington man posted on Twitter saying his 9-year-old daughter couldn't sleep because she was so worried about him going to work the next day. 

The support for the protest is slowly reducing with endtheprotest currently trending on Twitter, showing Kiwis are starting to get fed up with it. 

An online petition telling the anti-mandate protesters in Wellington to go home has surpassed 126,000 signatures.

8:17am - Wellington mayor Andy Foster has told AM that police are trying to reduce the scale of the sit protesters occupy with their operation on Tuesday morning. 

"What I was aware of was the moving of the concrete bollards - which obviously surround the site - to move them in to reduce the scale of the site, particularly on Molesworth Street area but obviously that has got very volatile but I understand in the last couple of minute that sort of volatility has sort of backed off a little bit which is obviously good," he said.

Foster said the reason he met with some protesters in the last few days was to engage in dialogue to help deescalate the protest. 

"I was given the opportunity to meet with some that are called influences and I think to solve this, police are in dialogue with them, politicians haven't, but if we are going to get this resolved some dialogue is going to be valuable," he told AM.

"I ran it past the police and they said 'yup we think there is a value in doing that' so it was an opportunity to try to just say anything we can do to try to deescalate this and there were some opportunities to achieve that then let's take that.

"I think this is a very dynamic situation and we have to work out day by day what is the best way to respond it. 

"Obviously, I'm in regular dialogue with police right up to the highest level and we take guidance from them on how we can best help. 

"As a council, we support them in any way they request. Police are engaging with them and I think a lot of that engagement is very productive and that is why they are doing it.

"If we can get ourselves through this without people getting seriously hurt but also without pushing people who already feel alienated into a place to where they feel more alienated and angry it's probably a good thing for New Zealand."   

7:52am - Speaking to AM, reporter Ashleigh McCaul has provided an update on the situation outside Parliament on Tuesday morning.  

"I could hear a whole lot of yelling, which sounded like it was coming from Aitken Street," she said. 

"A lot of these protesters that were still on Parliament grounds were actually going from tent to tent, waking each other up and whole bunch of them were just running out of the grounds of Parliament. 

"I have seen pictures of police with giant riot shields and a lot of these protesters I could hear them yelling out "shame on you". 

"A lot of these protesters that were still on Parliament grounds were still being very vocal to police and continuing to yell at them."

7:39am - Police have released a statement updating the situation occurring outside Parliament on Tuesday morning. 

Here is the full statement:

Police this morning have been working to further reduce the perimeter around Parliament, by moving concrete barriers further into areas currently occupied by protesters.

Some officers are equipped with shields, in order to protect themselves from objects thrown by protesters, such as human waste.

A large number of protesters have attempted to obstruct police from moving the concrete barriers.

At least three officers require medical attention after being sprayed with an unknown substance by protesters.

One person has been arrested after attempting to drive a car into a group of police officers. 

Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

7:38am - The Police Association president Chris Cahill said the reason officers were in riot gear on Tuesday morning was because of protesters behaviour on Monday. 

Cahill told AM that police were just giving themselves another resource to protect them. 

He said the aim for police is just to tighten the ring around the protest and reduce the disruption to nearby streets. He doesn't believe it's an attempt to shut the protest down. 

"The reaction by a limited number of protesters yesterday would have caused that, we had some that resisted quite violently, eight or nine arrests, some throwing faeces at police so that sort of thing, so they would have added a little bit more of a resource which makes sense," Cahill told AM.

Cahill believes the car driving into police was a reaction to police putting concrete barricades in place on Monday. 

"I think this will be a reaction to police putting those blockades in place so they are basically drawing a line saying you're now inside the protest you'll stay there but we aren't allowing additions to it. 

"That kind of action will require immediate action and immediate arrest. It's the sort of limited but serious level of violence we don't want to see and in fairness, it's not what most protesters are talking about."

He said police have to get the balance right between aggression and negation, so tension don't boil over. 

"It's a bit of a fine balancing act, yesterday things calmed down pretty quickly. I went down there yesterday afternoon and things were pretty calm," he told AM.  

"But the 120 arrests police made a couple of weeks ago actually had the opposite result that led to a big swell of protesters and much more agitation, so it's important police get that balance and get that right. We know if police choose to remove those protesters those numbers will double overnight.

 "It's [concrete barries] to limit the growth, it's to try to contain it in set quarters and then slowly negotiate. 

"I spoke to dozen of officers yesterday and did not find one that fought police using force was a viable option, while it's incredibly frustrating to residents and businesses in that immediate vicinity, it's the nature of the beast we are dealing with at the moment, so just moving those barricades in to restrict is the priority at the moment."      

7:16am - Here is footage showing the moment the white car drove directly at police.

7:05amProtesters have formed a human chain on Hill Street and can be heard shouting "shame on you" at police while people have also started singing.

6:55am - The situation on Molesworth Street is starting to escalate as police and protesters clash. 

6:53am - Police can be seen on Bowen Street outside Parliament surrounding a car parked illegally.

A tow truck has been brought and they are currently lifting it onto the truck to remove it off the road.

6:47am - Video footage has shown a car driving directly at police on Molesworth Street before breaking just before hitting them. 

Police can be seen swarming in on the vehicle, smashing a window,  pulling the driver out and arresting him.

6:45am - Speaking to AM, reporter Ashleigh McCaul said things appear calm on Tuesday morning at this stage but has seen a few officers rooming inside Parliament.

"There are reports that there are hundreds of officers are stationed around the protest and these officers have been seen with riot shields," she said.

"Earlier we did hear a bit of yelling going on and we did see a few protesters leave their tent but at this stage, we haven't seen much more compared to what happened yesterday.

"These reports do show that officers have blocked off the intersection of Molesworth Street and Hill Street. They have also brought back those forklifts to move those concrete blocks closer down Aitken Street."

6:37am - Police on Molesworth Street next to parliament are slowly making their way forward. 

They have gained about 70 metres from where their Molesworth St checkpoint was.

6:29am -Hundreds of armed police carrying riot shields have stationed themselves around Parliament on Tuesday morning. 

Forklifts can be seen moving concrete bollards on Aitken St.

Reports suggest that police told protesters about this operation on Monday evening. Police plan to move concrete blocks closer to Parliament.

6:26am - Kia ora, good morning, and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak and the Parliament protest for Tuesday, February 22.