A Covid expert is warning the Northland outbreak has New Zealand at a pivot point in this pandemic and getting our vaccinations rates up is crucial.
Earlier tonight, Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins announced Northland would shift to alert level 3 at midnight after it was revealed a confirmed case moved extensively around the area across four days.
University of Otago Senior Lecturer, Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, Lesley Gray said it wasn't surprising to see cases pop up in adjacent regions and she was concerned about the low vaccination numbers in some areas.
"Especially in populations likely to be most severely impacted by the Delta variant. While we can argue 'why' that is, we are at a pivot point in this pandemic for Aotearoa New Zealand," she said.
Gray said she was surprised the Government moved to relax restrictions in Auckland with the number of not yet linked cases and the levels of vaccinations.
"I would like to see the vaccination rates in North Island at higher levels before any further significant relaxation of alert level restrictions," Gray said.
She urged people to behave as if they were still in alert level 4 to minimise the rapid escalation of the virus.
"While the government may have shifted their approach, the population of NZ can still make a difference by the decisions and actions we take."
She said now was not the time for the Auckland region to be relaxing alert levels.
The Covid case is a woman who used false information to obtain travel documents and spend several days in the region.
Hipkins said she travelled from Auckland to Northland and has been to several places. It's understood she was with another woman who authorities are yet to locate.
Restrictions in Northland would remain in place until 11.59pm on Tuesday and would be reviewed at the Cabinet meeting on Monday.
It would be the same level 3 that applies in the Waikato. The easing steps announced for Auckland earlier this week would not apply to Northland.