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Person on Waiheke Island among 94 new infections reported today, MoH confirms

Newshub logo Newshub 19/10/2021 Ireland Hendry-Tennent, Lana Andelane, Rachel Sadler
Watch: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield provide an update on the COVID-19 Delta outbreak. © Image - Getty Images; Video - Newshub Watch: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield provide an update on the COVID-19 Delta outbreak.

Auckland is entering day 63 in lockdown after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended the current alert level 3 restrictions on Monday for at least another two weeks. 

Waikato is also facing an extended period under alert level 3, with Cabinet to review its settings on Friday. But it's good news for Northland, which will move to alert level 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday.

Auckland is currently in the first phase of the Government's three-step roadmap for the region, which allows up to 10 people from two households to meet outdoors with physical distancing and mask use.

The roadmap was introduced to provide some respite for Aucklanders, who have now been in some form of lockdown for two months. The roadmap is designed to ease restrictions gradually, with further freedoms introduced under steps two and three.

But persistently high case numbers has seen Auckland stuck in the first phase for two weeks now, with Tuesday marking New Zealand's highest daily case total since the beginning of the pandemic. Ninety-four new cases have been recorded, 87 in Auckland and seven in Waikato, with 53 yet to be linked to an existing case.

Live: Daily cases hit all time high with 94 reported today, immunocompromised set to get third vaccine dose
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What you need to know

  • 94 community cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday. Of those 87 are in Auckland and seven are in Waikato. 
  • Of Tuesday's cases 41 are linked, 26 of which are household contacts and 53 remain unlinked
  • Today's case numbers are the highest ever daily cases in New Zealand
  • A person on Waiheke Island is among today's cases, the Ministry of Health has confirmed
  • The number of vaccinations given out during Super Saturday event has ticked over the 130,000 mark.

  • Two models have been dropped from their agencies after a large party took place on Auckland's North Shore on Saturday night. 

  • Auckland and Waikato are staying in level 3, and Northland is moving to level 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday
  • Dr Ashley Bloomfield has called Auckland's vaccination milestones "brilliant news", hinting restrictions may soon be eased if the all-important 90 percent double-dose target is reached.
  • Click here for all the locations of interest.

These live updates have finished.

7:45pm - The union representing St John ambulance staff says the Government needs to clarify who qualifies as a "high-risk healthcare worker".

There are just 11 days to go until high-risk staff need to get their first COVID-19 vaccine or be stood down - but the Health Order still hasn't been released.

Some St John staff still don't know if they'll have a job at the end of the month.

"Obviously it's giving them a very small timeframe to be able to make some serious decisions about their career," First Union ambulance coordinator Faye McCann said.

First Union says the Government needs to release the Heath Order as soon as possible.

"It's about supporting the people that are affected that haven't yet got their vaccination to understand the reason why they haven't got their vaccination and how we can help them either get the vaccination or understand their issues and where they could possibly be re-deployed to," McCann said.

Read and watch the full story from Newshub's Giles Dexter here.

6:50pm - The Government has extended its COVID-19 vaccine mandate to cover all staff working in New Zealand's prisons. 

It will include all psychologists across the organisation and many contractors that service prisons. 

The requirement will not apply to people visiting prisoners, like family and friends. 

Staff who work in prisons have been given until October 30 to have their first dose and must have their second dose by December 1. 

Read and watch the full story from Newshub's investigations reporter Michael Morrah here.

6:30pm - There are several new locations of interest. They are:

  • Four Square Fair Price Henderson, October 12 from 5:20pm to 5:50pm
  • Countdown Grey Lynn, October 13 from 12pm to 1:30pm
  • Pak'nSave Lincoln Road Henderson, October 13 from 3pm to 3:20pm
  • Countdown Kelston, October 13 from 8:30pm to 9pm
  • Washington Apartments Eden Terrace, October 14 from 12:45pm to 1pm
  • Pak'nSave Albany, October 14 from 8:30pm to 9pm
  • Kawakawa Bay Store & Takeaways, October 15 from 1:15pm to 3:30pm
  • Shadbolt Park New Lynn, October 15 from 7:30pm to 8:30pm
  • Countdown Birkenhead, October 16 from 9:32am to 9:45am
  • Mobil Oteha Valley Fairview Heights, October 17 from 9:30pm to 9:45pm.

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

5:30pm - Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick is urging people on Waiheke Island not to "churn the rumour mill" following the new case.

"[I] have spoken to local board chair, Cath Handley. While the Ministry of Health may provide detail, it's critical that folks don't churn the rumor mill and unnecessarily elevate anxieties. Keep calm, follow the rules and be kind," she tweeted.

4:50pm - The Ministry of Health has confirmed that one of today's new cases includes a case on Waiheke Island who is a close contact of an existing case in Auckland.

A spokesperson says public health officials are interviewing the case and initial case scoping suggests there are limited exposure events. As of Tuesday afternoon, no locations of interest have been identified.

As of today, a total 7188 people on Waiheke Island have had their first dose of the vaccine and 5829 are fully vaccinated. That represents 86 percent of the population (8375) who've had at least one dose, and 70 percent who are fully vaccinated.

4:40pm - There are several new locations of interest. They are:

  • Unichem Pharmacy Te Atatu, October 8 from 12pm to 12:15pm
  • Te Atatu Butcher, October 8 from 12pm to 12:15pm
  • Te Atatu Village Wine & Spirits, October 8 from 6pm to 6:15pm
  • Countdown Highland Park, October 12 6:30pm to 7:30pm
  • Pizza Hut Highland Park, October 12 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
  • Clarks Beach Store Clarks Beach, October 18 from 11:45am to 1pm.

4:10pm - Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare says the state of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in part is down to "a lack of strong leadership" in some district health boards and wider communities.

Henare has been travelling around New Zealand meeting with iwi health providers to discuss Māori vaccination rates - which are falling behind.

Less than 40 percent of eligible Māori are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the latest Ministry of Health data shows

Henare, who will make announcements later this week around further efforts to increase vaccine uptake, acknowledged the challenges Māori health providers were facing.

"Some of those challenges are around the funding distribution and the speed at which that's been put out into those community providers and those Māori health providers," he said.

"I've also noticed a lack of strong leadership amongst the community, including the DHBs, with respect to what's required for the vaccine rollout."

Read the full story here.

3:30pm - Waiheke Island local board chair Cath Handley says she has received advice that there is one positive case of COVID-19 on the island.

It is the first case on Waiheke since the pandemic began.

"For any community that gets its first case, I think it is significant and a shock, but probably, given our proximity to Auckland, not a surprise," she tells Newshub.

She says the level of risk the case poses depends on where the person caught the virus and the locations of interest that may arise. For example, if the person caught COVID-19 in Auckland City, then it's less of a risk than if they contracted it on Waiheke.

"Just as it is in any community, it really is a cause of anxiety when one doesn't know if there are locations of interest. We've only got one supermarket, for instance, so there are certain locations that probably all of us frequent at some stage."

Handley says she hasn't had the case confirmed by the Ministry of Health, and instead heard about it through health sources. 

While this case will be a shock to locals, she says they have all got used to the idea that their proximity to Auckland posed a particular risk to Waiheke.

Handley's message to the community is to get vaccinated if they aren't already, get tested for COVID-19 if they have symptoms, and to keep safe by wearing masks and following protocols.

3:20pm - Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu​, an immunologist, associate dean (Pacific) and an expert in pathology and molecular medicine at the University of Otago, Wellington, says the vaccination targets due to be announced later this week need to include a 90 to 95 percent vaccination target for Māori and Pacific people to help keep vulnerable communities safe from COVID-19.

"Māori and Pacific communities continue to be heavily impacted as a result of the current Delta outbreak. It was known from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic that Pacific peoples and Māori communities were vulnerable to being disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and would require prioritisation to avoid making pre-existing health disparities and inequities worse," she says.

"Māori and Pacific vaccination rates remain behind the overall rate as more time has been needed to catch up with other groups given the initial vaccination roll-out in Aotearoa New Zealand which prioritised other groups to get vaccinated first."

Dr Sika-Paotonu says the announcement today that a third dose of the vaccine for immunocompromised people is welcome news and is important in keeping vulnerable people safe.

"We're continuing to see unsettling growth in COVID-19 case numbers reflecting Delta transmission within the community and across the Auckland region with recent escalation in persistent unlinked mystery cases of unknown origin appearing under high alert level conditions at a time when vaccination levels are not high enough yet to keep everyone safe and protected from COVID-19," she says.

"Please get vaccinated, please get tested, follow the alert levels rules and importantly reach out to others around you and help them do the same."

2:58pm - The Government has had access to week-by-week breakdowns containing the number of vaccinations each District Health Board said it would deliver to Māori and Pasifika people, but has sat on the information for months, claims National's COVID Response spokesperson, Chris Bishop.

"Today, in the interests of transparency, I am releasing the 'Equity Production Plans' for COVID-19 vaccinations for each District Health Board (DHB) from July 11, 2021 to October 3, 2021," Bishop said on Tuesday.

"The existence of these plans has only come to light because of an answer to a Parliamentary written question to me and then an Official Information Act request of the Ministry of Health.

"The Government insists on publishing the 'rate Māori or Pacific People per population are being vaccinated compared with non-Māori non-Pacific', rather than the raw numbers each DHB said to the Ministry they would achieve each week.

"It is clear this is an attempt to mask the Government's incompetence at the vaccine rollout to Māori. The number of fully vaccinated eligible Māori is just 44.6 percent, compared to a national rate of 65.9 percent."

Bishop is calling on the Government to provide sufficient funding for Whānau Ora and Māori health providers and ensure they have access to data from DHBs and primary health organisations.

"Work with iwi and whānau. No more korero –  let's see some action."

2:50pm - Three new locations of interest and one new potential exposure event have been added, in addition to the four listed at around 2pm.

The new locations of interest are:

  • Countdown, Westfield Manukau

  • Westside Bakehouse, Te Atatu South
  • Dunkin' Donuts, Henderson.

There is one new potential exposure event for Countdown on Lincoln Rd, Henderson.

For full details and advice, click here.

2:15pm - There are four new locations of interest in Auckland as of 2pm.

They are Pizza Hut in Highland Park, Countdown in Mt Eden, BP in Birkenhead and Kowloon Takeways in Henderson.

Anyone who was at these locations at the relevant times is asked to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the date of exposure. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until a negative result is returned AND for 24 hours after symptoms resolve.

For full details and advice, click here.

2:05pm - Here is the full press release from the Ministry of Health:

94 community cases of COVID-19; 5 new border cases; 89 percent of Aucklanders receive one vaccine dose

There are 94 new community cases of COVID-19 to report today; 87 in Auckland and seven in Waikato. As of 10am, 41 of these cases are linked – 26 of which are household contacts – and 53 remain unlinked, with investigations continuing to help determine their connection to the outbreak.

             

Cases

Number of new community cases

94

Number of new cases identified at the border

Five

Location of new community cases

Auckland (87) Waikato (7)

Location of community cases (total)

Auckland 2030 (1,360 of whom have recovered); Waikato 52 (7 of whom have recovered); Wellington 17 (all of whom have recovered)

Number of community cases (total)

2099 (in current community outbreak)

Cases infectious in the community  

34 of yesterday's 60 cases have exposure events

Cases in isolation throughout the period they were infectious  

26 of yesterday's 60 cases

Cases epidemiologically linked

41 of today's 94 cases

Cases to be epidemiologically linked

53 of today's 94 cases

Cases epidemiologically linked (total)

1891 (in the current cluster) (183 unlinked from the past 14 days)

Cases in hospital

38 (total): North Shore (8); Middlemore (12); Auckland (18)

Cases in ICU or HDU

Five

Confirmed cases (total)*

4794 since pandemic began

Historical cases

171 out of 2979 since 1 Jan 2021

Contacts

Number of active contacts being managed (total):

2039

Percentage who have received an outbound call from contact tracers (to confirm testing and isolation requirements)

82 pct

Percentage with at least one test result

73 pct

Locations of interest

Locations of interest (total)

439 (as at 10am 19 October)

Tests

Number of tests (total)

3,789,996

Number of tests total (last 24 hours)

16,921

Tests processed in Auckland (last 24 hours)

12,688

Tests rolling average (last 7 days)

24,406

Testing centres in Auckland

19

Wastewater

Wastewater detections

Ongoing detections at most sites across Auckland, as well as new but expected detections in Hamilton and Te Awamutu.

COVID-19 vaccine update

Vaccines administered to date (total)

6,387,870; 1st doses: 3,582,822 (85 pct); 2nd doses: 2,805,048 (67 pct)

Vaccines administered yesterday (total)

42,793; 1st doses: 10,025 2nd doses: 32,768

Māori

1st doses: 379,563 (66 pct); 2nd doses: 258,018 (45 pct)

Pacific Peoples

1st doses: 231,295 (81 pct); 2nd doses: 171,818 (60 pct)

Vaccines administered to Auckland residents to date (total)

2,308,268: 1st doses: 1,274,317 (89 pct); 2nd doses: 1,033,951 (72 pct)

Vaccines administered to Auckland residents yesterday (total)

14,026: 1st doses: 2960; 2nd doses: 11,066

NZ COVID Tracer

Registered users (total)

3,307,226

Poster scans (total)

440,181,234

Manual diary entries (total)

18,551,273

Poster scans in 24 hours to midday yesterday

1,993,155

New cases identified at the border

Arrival date

From

Via

Positive test day/reason

Managed isolation/quarantine location

14 October

United Kingdom

United Arab Emirates

Day 3/Routine

Auckland

14 October

United Kingdom

United Arab Emirates

Day 3/Routine

Auckland

14 October

United Arab Emirates

Direct flight

Day 3/Routine

Auckland

16 October

United Arab Emirates

Direct flight

Day 0/Routine

Auckland

16 October

United Arab Emirates

Direct flight

Day 0/Routine

Auckland

*One case reported yesterday has been reclassified as under investigation as a possible historical case and has been removed from the case total.

Auckland update

Public health staff are continuing to urge anyone in Auckland to get a test if they have symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of which suburb they live in.

There are increased cases across the region, so everyone needs to remain vigilant.

There are 19 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today. A list of sites, and their opening hours, can be found on the Healthpoint website.

Mobile surveillance testing of residential facilities is also continuing, including emergency housing, transitional housing, boarding houses, motels and community housing providers. So far, this testing has involved around 50 sites.

Waikato update

There are seven new cases to report today in the Waikato region – initial interviews show all are linked to known cases.

Investigations are continuing to determine the links of two cases reported last week and two cases reported on Sunday (17 October).

Waikato DHB is continuing to carry out regionwide testing, to rule out any undetected community spread of COVID-19, with around 3370 swabs taken across the region on Monday.

Testing locations in and around Waikato are available on the Healthpoint website and the Waikato DHB website. Pop up testing sites are also operating in Hamilton, Whatawhata (west of Hamilton) and Kihikihi (near Te Awamutu).

Meanwhile, vaccination rates in Waikato remained steady yesterday with 2939 people receiving a dose – of these, 891 were first doses, and a further 2048 were second doses.

A total of 529,803 vaccines have been administered across the region to date.

Northland update

We are continuing to encourage anyone in Northland who is symptomatic to get a test.

On Monday 953 tests were taken across the region. All tests processed to date have returned negative.

Today there are nine testing centres open across Northland, including the Three Furlongs Bar and Grill in Kaiwaka – on the boundary between Northland and Auckland.

Testing locations across the region are available on the Healthpoint website and the Northland DHB website.

Northland is at alert level 3. The region will move to alert level 2 at 11:59pm tonight (Tuesday 19 October).

1:48pm - The Prime Minister says to the best of her knowledge none of today's cases are connected to the infamous North Shore house party on the weekend. 

1:44pm - Ardern says 39.4 percent of today's cases are Māori, 36.2 percent are European/other, 4.3 percent are Asian and 14.9 percent are Pacific. 

1:29pm - Today's case numbers are the highest ever daily cases in New Zealand. The previous highest was 86 in the first outbreak in April 2020.

1:23pm - When asked how many of the cases were from non-compliance, Ardern said she didn't have an exact breakdown but 39 are household contacts and some are from social gatherings. 

She said the R value remains between 1.2 and 1.3 and cases are expected to continue rising. 

1:18pm - Minister Peeni Henare is urging Māori to get vaccinated. Henare said vaccination is key for all Māori people.

"COVID-19 is on the doorstep of our houses so I need to continue to drive up vaccination rates." 

Henare said 45.7 percent of total cases in the last two weeks are Māori. 

 Ardern clarified vaccination rates for older Māori are "high" but younger Māori need to get vaccinated.

1:13pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says 12 of the people in hospital are under 39. She is urging Kiwis who are under 39, and eligible, to get vaccinated.

1:12pm - Of yesterday's cases, the Ministry of Health says 34 have exposure events.

1:11pm - There are 38 people in hospital with eight in North Shore Hospital, 12 in Middlemore and 18 in Auckland Hospital. Five people are in the ICU.

1:10pm - A third COVID-19 vaccine is being recommended by the COVD-19 Technical Advisory Group for immunocompromised people in New Zealand, Ashley Bloomfield says. 

1:02pm - There are 94 community cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand today and 5 new border cases. 

Of those 87 are in Auckland and seven are in Waikato. As of 10am, 41 of these cases are linked – 26 of which are household contacts – and 53 remain unlinked, with investigations continuing to help determine their connection to the outbreak.

The new cases bring the total number of cases in the current outbreak to 2099. 

12:30pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield will be providing a COVID-19 update at 1pm. You can watch the livestream above. 

12:18pm -  SuperValue Palomino in Henderson has been added to the locations of interest list. Visitors on Wednesday October 13 between 6:00 pm - 6:15 pm must monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until you get a negative test result AND until 24 hours after symptoms resolve. 

12:08pm - Auckland mayor Phil Goff says there needs to be consequences for people who won't get vaccinated. 

"We need to maximise the number of people being vaccinated, but we can't wait for the last reluctant person to be vaccinated before we decide that it's safe to relax the restriction," Goff said. 

Read the full story here.

11:42am - Meanwhile across the ditch NSW has recorded 273 locally acquired COVID-19 cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.

There are 589 people in hospital and 18 in the ICU. Sixty nine patients require ventilation.

NSW Health says 92.1 percent of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 80.8 percent have had two doses.

11:22am - The Government has been consulting with various industries, including the stricken hospitality sector, about how the new COVID-19 framework will work when alert level 3 restrictions are eventually lifted in Auckland, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday.

An announcement is set to be made this Friday regarding the next steps for the Auckland region.

Read the full details here.

11:03am - An Auckland real estate agent has apologised for an "unacceptable" post where he offered unvaccinated Kiwis discounted rates.

Tim Webb, who markets himself as an Agent of Change, posted to his Facebook page on Thursday that as a "formal protest" he was going to increase his usual 2 percent fee to 4 percent for clients who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

However, unvaccinated clients would receive a discounted fee of 1.8 percent.

Read the full story here.

10:48am - Several other supermarkets have also been added to the list. 

Visitors to PaknSave in Mangere on Thursday October 14 between 5:00 pm and 5:30 pm must self-monitor.

SuperValue in Flatbush on Friday October 15 between 4:00 pm to 4:15 pm and Countdown Lynnmall on Sunday October 10 between 5:35 pm and 6:15 pm are also locations of interest. 

West Auckland also got a new location with Pak'nSave Lincoln Road in Henderson on Wednesday October 13 between 5:15 pm - 6:00pm being added to the list. 

There were also several locations in Raglan including Raglan SuperValue on Wednesday October 13 between 7:42 am - 8:00 am, Four Square Raglan on the same day between 5:59 pm - 6:24 pm and The Herbal Dispensary on Thursday October 14 between 4:03 pm - 4:23 pm. 

Raglan Pharmacy is a location of interest for both Thursday October 14 between 3:59 pm - 4:35 pm and Friday 15 between 2:04 pm - 12:21 pm.

Raglan Bakery and Cafe and Raglan Fish were both visited on Friday between 12:06 pm - 12:26 pm and 3:04pm - 3:23pm respectively.

And Hamilton has a new location of interest. Anyone who visited Countdown Dinsdale on Friday October 15 between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm must self-monitor. 

Click here for all the locations of interest.

10:27am - A new location of interest has been added to the list. Anyone who visited New World Southmall in Manurewa on Monday October 11 between 9:30am and 12:30pm is asked to self monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until you get a negative test result AND until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.

10:17am - National leader Judith Collins has hit out at the Government over the COVID-19 relief effort. 

"The Prime Minister at her press conference yesterday saw fit to duck all accountability, when people wanted answers, they got nothing," Collins told Stuff

"She treated all New Zealanders like children. The Prime Minister and the Government have no plan and have never had one."

10:07am - New research has found some people could potentially be resistant to SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

The report, which was published in the journal Nature Immunology on Tuesday, said understanding the genes involved could help us to better understand COVID-19 infections and could help researchers develop drugs to prevent infection in others.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that infections are unique among diseases in their potential to rapidly cause massive morbidity and mortality worldwide," the paper said. 

"Throughout history, infectious diseases have imposed strong selection pressures on humans. In particular, viral pandemics, including ones caused by coronaviruses, have occurred repeatedly over the last century, and probably throughout human history."

Read more about the study here

9:47am - Jacinda Ardern is warning unvaccinated people they will likely miss out on things as restrictions ease. 

"It will become very clear to people that if you are not vaccinated there will be things that you miss out on, everyday things that you will miss out on," she told RNZ's Morning Report.

"It's about both rewarding people who have gone out and done the right thing but also keeping away people who are less safe."

9:29am - Watch Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's full interview on The AM Show here.

9:23am - Several attendees of Saturday night's now-infamous Auckland lockdown party have issued apologies online after facing the court of public opinion in Aotearoa. 

Footage of the party circulated on social media over the weekend showing what appears to be over 50 unmasked peopl

Now two notable partygoers have released apologies.

Read the apologies here

9:10am - For the first time in its 117-year history Addington Cup Week will not be open to the public.

The organiser said they hoped the South Island would drop to an alert level without restrictions in time but unfortunately that hasn't happened. 

"Addington Cup Week organisers were hopeful that the South Island would have dropped to an alert level without restrictions, with enough time to create and deliver the Addington Cup Week experience that Canterbury knows and loves. However time has now run out.   

Addington Raceway CEO, Brian Thompson, says the races will still go ahead but without public access. 

"Addington Cup Week for many is all about the race day experience, getting dressed up and sharing good times with great friends, hosting clients and mingling with other people all in a party-like atmosphere. It’s just not an event where anyone wants to social distance from others”

"Due to the large amount of temporary infrastructure required to host the regular crowd of 20,000+ people during Cup Week, it was necessary to make a decision three weeks prior to the event as this is when the event build would normally commence. 

"We are very disappointed not to be able to share this year's Cup Week with Canterbury but we have no other option than to turn Cup Week into a smaller racing industry day for members, owners, trainers and business partners given there is no indication when we will come out of level 2."

Addington will now plan for an alert level 2 event, where it can safely host and showcase a great day of racing with racing industry participants in small pods throughout the facilities.  

"Our wish is to showcase a great industry event that is compliant with all government mandated guidelines. For the safety of our patrons, staff and all industry participants, our expectation is that guests attending will be compliant with all restrictions, so that all can have a good and safe Cup Week," Thompson says. 

"Although we won’t be hosting our regular numbers on site at our raceway, we do hope that all New Zealand gets out during Cup Week and supports the hospitality industry.  We are working with ChristchurchNZ, media partners and hospitality outlets to bring New Zealanders other options to celebrate ‘Cup from your place’ and still experience and be a part of our two iconic race days. Keep an eye on our social media channels to stay connected. #celebrateNZcup."

All hospitality packages had been sold out months ago and these tickets will now be refunded.

The Crossing Fashion Starts Here competition has been reinvented for 2021. The iconic competition will run online with new categories and can be entered nationwide. Entries opened on Friday October 15.

8:54am - Read the latest on COVID-19 around the world here

8:21am - Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling for extra support for beneficiaries after the city's alert level 3 lockdown was extended for two weeks. 

"This lockdown has been exponentially harder on those receiving benefits, as the same support systems weren't enacted. We know that food banks are at capacity, and people and families are doing the best they can with what little is available to them. They always have," says coordinator Brooke Pao Stanley. 

"Carmel Sepuloni indicated early on that this Government would continue to 'watch this space' but it's been over two months now with no extra support announced for people on benefits. It was only a matter of time before Delta found its way into the communities we love and support which have long been neglected by successive governments, and the reason we've had to stay in lock down longer. Successive governments have ignored these communities for so long, and now COVID-19 is showing us how extreme that neglect has been."

7:40am - Ardern said the Government is hoping to reach a 90 percent double vaccination rate in Auckland by December. 

"Certainly that would be our hope based on those current trends… we know roughly 5 percent of people who have had their first dose haven't been getting their second… so just that encouragement to everyone: the first one is not enough, you've got to go and get the second to get the full protection.

She said high rates of vaccination will help keep the outbreak under control and case numbers low, making it "safer and easier for us to ease". 

7:14am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Government is working towards lowering border restrictions for Christmas, although she wouldn't confirm a date. 

"Current list of travel exemption reasons, there is some movement - What we want to recognise is there's a whole bunch of other reasons that are totally valid, particularly as we come up to Christmas - families wanting to be reunited. So it's how do we balance that need, with the desire of the rest of the country to be safe from COVID during an outbreak. 

"We're doing some work on that at the moment to see if we can balance those two really important needs… it's too soon for me to say at this point."

Ardern wouldn't clarify whether Aucklanders would see more freedoms once they reach 90 percent double vaccination rates, instead pointing to her announcement on Friday.

But she hinted double vaccinated Aucklanders may be able to leave the city over the Christmas period.

"It is possible to be vaccinated and have COVID-19, so that alone wouldn't be sufficient."

6:57am - Aucklanders are disappointed after alert level 3 restrictions were extended for two more weeks. 

"She's sort of between a rock and a hard place," cafe owner Fraser said. "Me personally, I'd have gone two weeks of level 4 to try get [case numbers] down."

"They're doing all of this from their ivory towers in Wellington. I don't think they have any idea what it's like to be locked up like this," Jo said.

"Kids need to be in school... It's no good," Awan said.

"I think it's the right decision. We've come so far. It's a bit disappointing - I'm quite bored and my business is suffering," said Anna.

Read more here

6:35am - Northland's iwi border control is encouraging all Māori to get vaccinated before COVID inevitably reaches the region.

The iwi border controls sprung back into action two weeks ago when Northland was plunged into alert level 3 after two women, later found to have COVID-19, visited the area.

They used fake documents and were uncooperative with health authorities.

While Northland appears to have dodged Delta this time, iwi border control believe it's only a matter of weeks before COVID-19 reaches every part of Te Tai Tokerau.

"It won't take long for it to blow out of control and once it's out of control it will be impossible to pull it back. We will have to let it run its course and that would be devastating to our communities," Te Tai Tokerau spokesperson Rueben Taipari tells The Hui.

Read more here

6:25am - There's disappointment from Māori health providers that Auckland is not being plunged into an alert level 4 circuit breaker lockdown.

National Hauora Coalition clinical director Dr Rawiri Jansen says New Zealand is now at a tipping point.

"We're at a critical moment in terms of COVID-19 in Aotearoa. I'm deeply concerned we may have a catastrophe coming soon," he tells The Hui.

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