Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and director general of health Ashley Bloomfield will set out the number of new cases today, and whether the 12 unlinked cases from yesterday have been linked.
There were 45 new cases yesterday, ending a string of days of lower numbers – a result epidemiologist Professor Rod Jackson described as a “wake up call”.
“Auckland is not getting out of level 3 until we don’t have mystery cases,” Jackson said.
Of those cases, 12 were yet to be linked to the existing outbreak, and Bloomfield is expected to provide an update on whether those cases have now been linked.
It was also revealed that a number of cases are now coming from emergency and transitional housing units in Auckland, as well as from gangs.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins this morning indicated today’s numbers were expected to be lower – but also pointed the finger at people breaking the level 3 rules for spreading the virus.
While Act leader David Seymour has called for an end to the strategy of aiming for zero cases at any cost, Hipkins told Newstalk ZB they still wanted to get “down to zero” cases and the Government wasn’t waving the white flag yet.
There are four days to go before Cabinet considers whether Auckland can move out of level 3 – a decision it will make next Monday. Hipkins said it was still too early to speculate on what that decision might be.
Ardern is also expected to try to boost the vaccination drive as the numbers lining up to book and get their first doses drop.
Ardern had issued a challenge to Auckland to get to 90 per cent by October – it was at 82 per cent yesterday.
Nationally, 77.5 per cent of those eligible have had at least one dose.
And after a long period of being at the top of Bloomberg’s table of Covid-resilient countries, New Zealand had dropped to 38th position this week.
Ardern is also expected to talk about the move on a residency path for those skilled migrants that had worked in New Zealand throughout the epidemic: a long awaited move.
The one-off resident visa would offer residency to about 165,000 migrant workers and their families, including more than 5000 health and aged-care workers, about 9000 primary industry workers, and more than 800 teachers.
There are also around 15,000 construction and 12,000 manufacturing workers on relevant visa types, some of whom will be eligible for the one-off pathway.
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