University of Auckland epidemiologist Rod Jackson says there is "no chance" of Auckland loosening restrictions today.
"I'm freaking out in a major way," Jackson said of the possible spread of Covid-19 into Northland.
"I'm freaking out because I think we're going to have major problems there. Auckland we've got to suppress it until we are all vaccinated because we are well and truly in the poo if we don't keep it down and keep it suppressed before we get high vaccination rates."
Jackson was speaking to Tim Roxborogh and Tim Beveridge on Newstalk ZB after Sunday's Covid case numbers - 60 in the community - were announced.
Jackson said numbers were going to go up, but New Zealand really had to get its vaccination rates higher to avoid the hospital system from being overrun.
Asked about why he was "freaking out" about Northland, Jackson said the people who were hardest to reach by the vaccine were going to be the ones the virus found.
"Those people hardest to reach by the vaccine are going to be easiest for the virus to reach. These are people who are living in crowded situations, often in poor health, often Covid-deniers, they are suspicious of authority so they don't believe people like me even though I don't work for the Government."
"I probably would have gone to level 4 in Northland," said Jackson.
He believed the Government didn't move to level 4 in Northland because "people would rebel".
"If you follow the rules, it works ... the reason we didn't stamp this outbreak out was people didn't follow the rules," he said.
"None of us follow the rules perfectly, some of us follow the rules worse than others."
Jackson said parts of New Zealand could chase elimination while Auckland focused on suppression.
But 95 per cent of Kiwis needed to be vaccinated, Jackson said. Ninety per cent just wasn't enough, he believed.
Jackson wanted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to reveal a series of vaccine mandates on Monday, he said. Health care workers should be front of the queue for that.
On vaccine mandates, Jackson said Ardern should tell New Zealand today that "you cannot work in a hospital unless you're fully vaccinated, you cannot work in any healthcare, you cannot work in any education setting unless you're vaccinated, you cannot work in the police until you're fully vaccinated, you cannot work in a supermarket unless you're fully vaccinated".
This was being done overseas and was "nothing new".
Businesses should be able to tell customers they can't come in if they don't have the jab and Ardern needs to make sure business owners are immune from prosecution.
"Vaccinate mandates and 'no jab, no job' is going to make the difference".
Covid-19 didn't follow a timetable and needed to be flexible with restrictions depending on the spread of the virus.
"If everyone in New Zealand was vaccinated by next Saturday, we'd open up more quickly," he said.
National's Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop agreed vaccination was key.
He believed the Government would announce today health workers needed to get the jab. He also thought the same would be announced for teachers.
He said there would be quite a good case for teachers to need to be vaccinated.
He was critical of no Government minister fronting for a Covid press conference at the weekend.
Bishop wanted as many Kiwis as possible to be vaccinated and once 85 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated, double-vaxxed Kiwis should be able to return home to New Zealand.
One idea National had was to pay GPs to go through their patient roll and contact them about the jab, which he believed had now "quietly" started to happen.
Asked if National would support vaccination to be mandatory for teachers, Bishop said the party would.
Asked about gangs, Bishop said officials needed to provide resources to allow gangs to be vaccinated.
While he wasn't happy for gang leaders to get border exemptions, he was happy for frontline groups to work with gangs to get gang members vaccinated.
He was okay with Willie Jackson "meeting with the gang guys".
"The Government doesn't really know what they're doing," he said of the Covid roadmap.
He wanted timelines and targets announced by the Government.
He wanted the Government to announce that if "Auckland got to a certain number of vaccinations, then certain restrictions would lift".
He wouldn't specify what target he had in mind for Auckland's borders to drop.
Sunday case numbers
There were 60 new community Covid cases announced on Sunday - 56 in Auckland, three in Waikato and one in the Bay of Plenty.
And officials have contacted a second woman who was with a Covid-positive case on a trip from Auckland to Northland - but are yet to locate her.
The three new Waikato cases are linked to the initial Hamilton East case while the Bay of Plenty case was announced by the Ministry of Health on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a person receiving treatment at North Shore hospital's dialysis unit yesterday tested positive for Covid, officials said.
Waitematā DHB says the person using dialysis was appropriately screened before going to the unit and again on arrival at the unit. The person became unwell during treatment and was swabbed and subsequently tested positive.
The unit was temporarily closed on Saturday afternoon so a deep clean could be completed and Auckland Regional Public Health staff and the DHB were following up with other people who were in there at the same time.
And there has been one person test positive for Covid in managed isolation in Wellington. The person arrived in New Zealand from the Philippines via Singapore on October 7.
The ministry has asked that the Tuvalu, Samoa and Tokelau communities, particularly in Auckland, use online virtual church services or to keep their church services within approved bubble sizes when celebrating White Sunday or Lotu Tamaiti.
Of the 56 Auckland cases, 37 have known links to existing cases - including 22 household contacts - and 19 remain under investigation.
Of the now total 1538 cases in Auckland, 1147 have recovered. There are now 31 active cases in Waikato and one in Bay of Plenty.
Twenty people, or 61 per cent, of Saturday's cases had exposure events. Forty-one of today's 60 cases are epidemiologically linked, while interviews remain ongoing to determine how the rest are linked.
There are 16 epidemiologically linked subclusters. Of those, six are active, zero are contained and 10 are dormant. There are 14 epidemiologically unlinked subclusters. Of these, five are active, none are contained and nine are dormant.
There are 29 people in hospitals around the North Island; four in North Shore, 12 in Middlemore, 11 in Auckland, one is in Waikato and one in Palmerston North.
Seven of those people are in the intensive care unit.
There were 2009 contacts currently being managed by the Ministry and 72 per cent of those have had one test result.
There are 338 locations of interest including several new spots in Katikati, Tauranga, Ngātea and Auckland.
There have been no unexpected wastewater results in the last 24 hours.
Across the country, there have been 5,789,774 vaccines administered to date. Of those, 3,438,289 were first doses and 2,351,485 second doses.
Bay of Plenty latest
The ministry said in a statement that the positive result for a person living near Katikati was reported on Saturday.
"The current public health assessment is that there is low risk of any further spread from this case," officials said in a statement.
"Test results indicate that infection is in the early stages. In addition, vaccination status of the individual, regular test history, good use of the Covid app and rapid public health follow up with family members reduce the risk of community spread.
"All family members have been tested and are currently isolating."
They said Katikati residents and visitors since October 6 "are asked to keep checking the locations of interest page on the Ministry of Health website and follow the advice given".
A local health official says the region won't know if it's dodged a bullet until 10 or 14 days from now.
Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Board Covid-19 incident controller Dr Phil Shoemack said until then, it was important to keep up to date with Ministry of Health guidance.
"If everyone follows the guidance that's been coming out from the Ministry of Health then it benefits them and everyone around them," he said.
"If everyone did that we'd get through this with less risk."
Shoemack said people who have been in Katikati in the last few days should keep an eye on the locations of interest and any updates from the Ministry.
For other Bay of Plenty residents, Shoemack said it was important to keep looking at the Ministry of Health website and to follow the advice provided.
"Get your vaccination organised as soon as you can, wear a mask and if you need to do get a swab and stay home until you get a negative result."
Western Bay of Plenty District Mayor Garry Webber said the "low risk" assessment did not change the situation moving forward.
"Regardless of the level of the result, we have a positive result and we just have to go with the flow.
"We're in the hands of the health authorities from here."
Webber said he was grateful that the person who tested positive was by all accounts a "model citizen."
"They're fully vaccinated and they have followed the government's guidelines to the minutest detail. If every citizen did as this person has done then we'd be in a better situation."
Webber said the most important message had not changed.
"Vaccination is the only solution."
Testing locations open in Katikati and Tauranga:
Katikati Medical Centre, 4 Clive Rd, Katikati, 8.30am-4.30pm.
Katikati Rugby and Sports Clubrooms, Fairview Rd, Katikati, 8.30am-4.30pm (hours will be extended if there is high demand).
Tauranga Accident and Healthcare, 19 Second Ave, Tauranga, 8am-6pm.
Information on testing sites in other areas of the Bay of Plenty and Lakes can be found on the HealthPoint website: www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/
Sunday's three new cases reported in Waikato are linked to existing cases, the ministry said.
"Interviews are continuing to determine any further contacts or locations of interest.
"There are pop-up testing sites operating today at Claudelands and Raglan. The existing testing centre at Founders Theatre is also open. The DHB reports 3646 swabs were taken yesterday.
"Further details on exact locations and hours of testing sites are available on the Healthpoint and Waikato DHB sites."
The ministry urged anyone in the Waikato with Covid-19 symptoms to get a test.
Alert levels for the Waikato will be reviewed again today, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Distinction Hamilton, one of three MIQ managed isolation facilities in the Waikato, will transition to become a quarantine facility for local community cases from today.
"We are making this change in partnership with the people of Tainui waka and other partner agencies who are supportive of local people being cared for locally. Everyone is helping us to put this change into operation for the benefit of the community," says joint head of managed Isolation and Quarantine, Brigadier Rose King.
"This change will mean the region has 110 quarantine rooms available for community cases, dedicated to the local community," she said.
"The case reported on October 7, who recently travelled to Northland, remains in an Auckland quarantine facility," Sunday's statement said.
"A second person who is thought to have travelled with this case has been contacted but not yet located.
"The case was under investigation after returning a weak positive result from a test in Whangārei earlier this week and Friday returned a positive test result in Auckland.
"Public health staff continue to work closely with the person to determine any locations of interest or exposure events associated with the case. Public health staff are also working closely with police to identify possible locations or areas of interest.
"As these become available they will be added to the ministry's website as quickly as possible. We ask people to check these regularly, especially if you have visited, or live in Auckland, Waikato or Northland.
"Anyone in Northland should remain vigilant for symptoms, particularly anyone who has visited a location of interest or been in an area of interest at the times specified should get tested and isolate until they receive the result."
Northland testing and vaccination centres are at:
Whangārei – Rock and Roll carpark, Pohe Island (9am–4pm), Kamo, 20 Winger Cres (9am –4pm).
Kaikohe - Lindvart Park Pavilion, Penne Cres (10am–2pm).
Kerikeri – 1 Sammaree Place (9am-4pm).
Kaitaia – Kaitaia Hospital, 29 Redan Rd (9am-4pm)
In terms of vaccinations, four clinics are open in Northland today: at Kaitaia, Whangārei, Dargaville and Kerikeri.
"As at 6am this morning, [there were] 187,357 doses administered across Northland, comprising 110,083 first doses and 77,274 second doses.
"Yesterday, 1101 first doses and 1990 second doses were administered, totalling 3091 doses across Northland."
Thirty-four new cases were announced on Saturday; 31 are in Auckland and three are in Waikato - all cases in Waikato are linked while 11 cases in Auckland are yet to be linked.
The Government moved Northland from alert level 2 to alert level 3 in a sudden announcement on Friday night, after an Auckland woman who had visited Northland tested positive for the coronavirus.
A person, believed to be a truck driver, is also in hospital in Palmerston North with Covid-19.
Katikati has also been put into the spotlight overnight after a Pukekohe person - who was fully vaccinated - who was in the middle of shifting to a rural area north of Katikati also tested positive.
Several testing stations have since been set up and are operating this morning as well as a vaccination centre.
Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber said the health board called him about half an hour before the news broke and his first reaction was "oh s***".
On Saturday, Tauranga MP Simon Bridges also tweeted his concerns about the case, wondering how somebody was able to move towns during Auckland's level 3 alert level when grieving families are still not allowed to see each other.
Just under half of Katikati residents are fully vaccinated, according to Ministry of Health suburb data: 49.5 per cent have two doses and 77.5 per cent have one.
The person's test result had a high CT value usually seen in the early or late stage of infection and was under further investigation, including a repeat test, the ministry said.
The infected person has been granted an exemption to cross the boundary in and out of Auckland as they were in the process of shifting house.
As part of that process, the person had been having regular surveillance testing – at least five tests have been taken since the beginning of September, with the most recent prior test on October 5. All five of those tests were negative.
The individual who returned the positive result is fully vaccinated and has reported no symptoms, aside from seasonal hayfever.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had also had to speak out about concerns and controversy around the Northland case, trying to dampen down allegations made by NZ First leader Winston Peters.
Speaking to multiple media outlets, the former deputy prime minister claimed the woman had gang connections and travelled through Auckland's border to the Bay of Islands and back.
Where to get a vaccination in Auckland - without a booking
He said there are more details that officials know and should have been made public.
But Ardern said there was "no evidence" to back up some of the claims that have been circulating online and the Government was not withholding any vital information.
"As we've had information about their movements, we've released them. But this is a case where the individual, despite the involvement of the police, has not been forthcoming and that is why we took a very precautionary approach, and that was the right one.
"What we do know from video and CCTV footage is that the individual in question was travelling with a woman."
"My understanding is that police have identified that individual and is working hard to locate them."