Ardern announces move in alert levels for Auckland and rest of New Zealand

By Ashley Wallace

Ardern announces move in alert levels for Auckland and rest of New Zealand
Jacinda Ardern has announced moves in alert levels for Auckland and the rest of New Zealand.

The prime minister announced that Auckland will move from alert level 2.5 to level 2 from 11.59pm on Wednesday 23 September, which means that gatherings of 100 people will be permitted after that time.

Ardern said alert level 2 will be in place in Auckland for one transmission cycle of 14 days, with cabinet to meet again on 5 October to consider a move in alert levels for 7 October.

“If we remain on track it would then be our intention to consider moving alert levels from 7 October – again this is all conditional on us continuing as we are now,” Ardern said.

She confirmed that from 11.59pm tonight, the rest of New Zealand will return to alert level 1.

The prime minister said her government was taking a cautious approach because it saves lives and allows the economy to be more open.

She said the outbreak had been contained in Auckland, but the city “needs more time” before it can move to level 1.

“There is still a need in Auckland for that cautious approach,” she said.

She noted that looking at the status of the rest of the world, it is clear there is “no costless response” to COVID-19. Ardern said recent GDP figures painted a “more positive picture” than had been anticipated, despite the sharpest quarterly GDP contraction on record.

Ardern urged New Zealanders to stay home if they are sick and to get tested, and to continue to scan into places with the COVID Tracer app. Face coverings are still compulsory on public transport in Auckland, and on flights that are travelling to, from or through Auckland.

Face coverings are still encouraged in areas where it’s hard to maintain physical distancing.

The prime minister also said the government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility.

The agreement will ensure that New Zealand receives enough vaccines to cover up to 50 per cent of the population of New Zealand and the Realm, which includes Tokelau, Cook Islands and Niue.


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