There are 17 Covid-19 cases linked to the South Auckland cluster, and the city of 1.4 million people is in Level 3 containment for three days, meaning people can only venture out for food or exercise.
Jacinda Ardern will meet with the cabinet on Friday at 3 p.m. local time to discuss the next step, and at 5:30 p.m. she will host a press conference to announce her decision on extending the Auckland lockdown past midnight.Epidemiology experts widely believe the city’s lockdown will be extended, as the source case of the outbreak has yet to be identified, although there is growing strong evidence that it could have come from ‘a quarantine or border facility.
Former New Zealand chief scientist Sir David Skegg said he was “shocked” that 60% of border staff did not get tested for the virus, calling it “extraordinary surveillance” Because these people were on the front line to manage new cases. of the virus introduced by arrivals abroad.
” In my opinion [a weekly test] should have been mandatory, ”Skegg said.
“I think it’s absolutely vital to our elimination status that we have the strictest protections at the border.”
The health minister said everyone working at the border will have been tested by the weekend, but the introduction of mandatory testing before the outbreak would have been “severe”.
The lockdown did not need to be extended nationwide if testing could prove the virus had not spread, Skegg said, although he considered the possibility highly unlikely.
“I would be very surprised if the current restrictions are not maintained if they are not increased,” said Skegg.
“I have to say that I think we will be extremely lucky if it has not spread to other parts of the country now, because it is clear that this epidemic has been going on for quite some time. We celebrated 100 days without community, but it was spreading all the time – so we didn’t spend 100 days.
In Auckland, many people seem resigned to an extension of the lockdown, although many companies say if it is extended they will not survive.