A new case of Covid has been detected in Palmerston North, according to the Manawatū Cricket Association (MCA).
The player attended United Club practice at the MCA Indoor Centre on Tuesday night, according to a post on the association's Facebook page.
He was at the centre between 5.30pm and 7.10pm.
The club has advised that anyone at the centre around those times should seek advice from the Ministry of Health about the process to follow.
The Park Rd centre is closed today for a deep clean and is expected to reopen by 3pm.
MCA is taking a cautious approach and has postponed all visits to schools for the rest of the week to reassure schools that the safety of their students is the number one priority.
All MCA staff are fully vaccinated and, at this stage, none of the staff were exposed to the Covid positive case on Tuesday, the post said.
Some players at United's practice on Tuesday were also at the Senior Men's rep practice on Wednesday and the association was working through the implications of this with the team.
A Mid-Central DHB spokesperson said the Ministry of Health would be making an announcement this afternoon.
Two additional testing sites have been set-up in Palmerston North since Wednesday. There are now three sites - 575 Main St, City Doctors on Victoria Ave and The Palms Medical on Ferguson St.
Palmerston North hasn't had any Covid cases since an Auckland-based truck driver travelled to Palmerston North for work purposes at the beginning of October.
A raft of new locations of interests that were linked to the case were released at the time.
Two people tested positive for Covid in Woodville, 25km east of Palmerston North, at the weekend, sparking a rush for testing.
The two Woodville cases were linked and are isolating at home.
A location of interest linked to these cases has been released and is Caltex Woodville on Vogel St. It was visited by a Covid-positive case on November 13 between 9am and 9.30am.
The Palmerston North case is the latest case to emerge as Delta continues to spread across central and lower North Island.
Of yesterday's 194 cases, there were 180 cases in Auckland, four in Northland, five in Waikato, seven in Lakes district/Taupō and one in Canterbury.
Six of the seven Lakes DHB cases are in Taupō.
The person infected with Covid in Canterbury flew back to Christchurch on flight NZ 1295 last Saturday, November 13 after travelling to Auckland for an event.
In response to a question about the Palmerston North case, an MoH spokesperson said it confirmed case numbers (and their respective locations) each day at 1pm or as soon as practicable.
Today's Covid-19 update will be provided in a written statement.
Any locations of interest are added to the Ministry of Health's webpage if, and when, they are identified.
Freedom for Auckland or 'summer of chaos'?
Auckland is heading for more freedom in four weeks - as debate rages over whether the plan to open up is too slow, too fast or just too complicated.
After months in lockdown, Auckland's borders will open in mid-December to the fully vaccinated and those who test negative for Covid-19.
It's expected the whole country will swap the old alert level system for a new traffic light model in about two weeks' time.
But although the new pandemic strategy could lift the economy, and people's spirits, some people worry about when the traffic light system will be activated.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said businesses in Auckland needed to know when and how the traffic light system would start.
December 1 has been touted as the most likely start for the new system. Auckland will begin at the most restrictive red light level, regardless of when the new system begins.
"Confirmation of the date remains a very important thing for us," Beck said. "There is a lot for people to take in over the next few weeks."
Beck told the Herald revenue for some CBD businesses in the current level three lockdown was down 95 per cent from the days before the Delta pandemic.
And Beck wondered why Auckland would most likely start off at the most restrictive light setting, when it had some of New Zealand's highest vaccination rates.
Regions with very low vaccination rates are also likely to enter the system at red.
Beck said some firms were already struggling to stay afloat, let alone get organised or hire staff for summer events.
One date is certain - the Auckland boundary will lift at 11.59pm on Tuesday, December 14.
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker says Aucklanders planning to travel over the Christmas period should make sure they are not taking Covid with them - by getting vaccinated and getting tested.
"This is the ultimate act of kindness, is to look after the health of the people you're visiting," he told TVNZ's Breakfast show.
People should remember that children under 12 are not vaccinated, so people in Auckland planning to travel into other regions with children should also get at least one of them tested before leaving - so as not to infect their cousins in other regions, for example, he said.
The best thing right now is for Aucklanders to take responsibility.
That included going as far as to visit only family and friends who are fully vaccinated and not visiting elderly relatives.
"That will be lifesaving ... for those friends and family," he said.
"It means planning, it means considering ... and don't go and visit people who are vulnerable."
Baker also encouraged families to have Christmas celebrations outside over the holidays - under a marquee, for example, instead of indoors. And wear masks.
"We definitely should not be complacent at all," he said.
"Even if you can't see the virus, some of us - unfortunately - will be taking it with us even if we don't have any symptoms. So just don't do that," he said.
Workplace Safety Minister Michael Wood says officials are doing everything possible to get vaccination rates up in regions and rural communities where vaccination levels remain low.
He acknowledged that was why rules had been put in place for Aucklanders who planned to travel outside of the city from December 15, when that will be allowed again.
"This goes hand-in-hand with the traffic light system," he told TVNZ's Breakfast show.
Wood said the way New Zealand has navigated the Covid situation and the difficult decisions that had come with that over the last two years since the pandemic struck the world was to take careful public health advice and take careful judgements.
Put to him that there was a real worry that Aucklanders travelling to some places would take Covid to vulnerable communities - particularly Māori - Wood acknowledged that it was on everyone then to make moves to protect themselves.
The public health advice he and other Government officials had heard was that despite those low vaccination rates in some areas, it was safe for Aucklanders to move.
The way for communities to protect themselves was to get vaccinated and to get those vaccination rates - including the second dose coverage - up.
Wood thought most of the operators would want to operate without any restrictions so would support the Covid certificates when they moved to the new framework shortly after November 29.
"I actually think there's a high level of commitment to making this work from business owners, from workers and just from Aucklanders more generally."
People were on the vaccination train and knew how important it was, he told The AM Show.
"Businesses are gearing up to make this work."
The government would be making sure they would provide support, education and where necessary enforcement to make sure the rules were being followed.
In the areas where Covid vaccines are required such as hospitality, staff also needed to be vaccinated as it wouldn't make sense for customers to have to be vaccinated but for staff not to be, Wood said. There would be a process where employers could request that evidence and employees would have to provide it to remain in those roles.
He said it wouldn't impact that many people in Auckland because the vaccination rates were so high.
They had given WorkSafe additional resources to work with businesses to help give good advice and support, to answer questions and to support them to set up systems.
WorkSafe's approach wasn't to go in and shut businesses down, it was to work with people and make sure they understood the rules clearly and support them to follow them.
Hone Harawira, a spokesperson for Te Tai Tokerau Border Control told The AM Show a hard border needed to stay in place between Auckland and Northland so they could ensure everyone entering the region were fully vaccinated.
He said spot checks were useless and were a recipe for disaster.
"I've participated in spot checks. You can let 1000 people go past and then stop two or you could let 20 people go past and stop two and you could get those two wrong. Spot checks are pointless."
He knew it had been tough in Auckland, but the highest priority must be the most vulnerable in their community. He couldn't begin to imagine what the consequences would be if they couldn't raise the vaccination rate - it's scary.
At the moment Northland wouldn't reach the 90 per cent target until January 15.
He said some of the regions just needed a little bit more time to reach the targets and proposed moving Christmas until January 25.
"I can't get to see my mum, she's in Auckland. But my mum understands - leave it a little bit longer."
He said they needed the Ministry of Health to release the data so they could identify where the unvaccinated people were so they could target them rather than taking a scattergun approach.
Speaking of the vaccination mandate and health workers, Royal New Zealand College of GPs medical director Dr Brian Betty told the AM Show up to 4 per cent of really critical and essential workers had left the DHBs due to the mandate and there was a lot of work to be done to fill the gaps.
He said workers had got to the stage where they had decided to sacrifice their jobs because of their beliefs about the vaccine so it would be difficult to turn around. However, some might return if a different vaccine became available.
The health system was already under stress and was under-resourced.
"There's considerable stress both in nursing and in medical staff ranks - we know that both in general practice and in hospitals.
"It's going to be quite a juggling act to fill those gaps, to fill those rosters, to make sure the service is provided."
There was a good reason for the mandate because those who weren't were more likely to get and spread Covid and have the worst outcome from Covid.
"There are actually some serious health and safety issues here regarding those staff who choose out of their own will not to get vaccinated so I think this is a really complex issue, but we probably have done the right thing in terms of the mandate and patient safety and staff safety."
He said areas like Northland who had lost a high number - 4 per cent - were struggling to attract staff, had high areas of Maori and Pasifika, high deprivation and had pressure on the health and GP system so it was a real issue.
Covid had brought some of the problems in the health system and the underlying workforce shortages to the fore.
Opening recognises sacrifices: Goff
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the border opening would recognise sacrifices the city's people had made for the rest of New Zealand.
The border opening would allow people much greater freedom, he said.
"Tradies and business can go about their normal work," Goff told the Herald. "It's a reward for Aucklanders and the efforts they've made."
The mayor said central Government strongly indicated the traffic light system would be activated within a day or two of November 29, when Cabinet meets.
Asked if it would be December 1, Goff said: "I don't know for certain but I suspect it will be."
The mayor said nobody could rule out the chances of the pandemic intensifying before then.
He said the Government had to recognise Auckland could not be locked down much longer, but balance that with safely moving to a freer system.
Goff anticipated about 200-300 new Covid-19 cases daily for the next few weeks.
About 86 per cent of eligible adults across greater Auckland's three health districts are fully vaccinated, and 93 per cent have had their first dose.
Too soon: Green Party
But the Green Party said it was too soon to open up.
"Auckland is in a very different position to the rest of the country," Green Co-leader Marama Davidson said. "The outbreak is uncontrolled, and case numbers are rising."
National Party leader Judith Collins said the Government was moving too slowly.
She said Labour was conjuring a "summer of chaos" with the Auckland boundary and traffic light announcement.
"If Aucklanders can travel on December 15, they should be able to travel today. Why should we need border checks?"
Collins said logistical issues weren't adequately considered ahead of the border relaxation.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the new model balanced people's desire to travel with public health measures aimed at halting the pandemic.
"We are in a new phase in our fight against Covid-19," Ardern said at the Beehive 1pm press conference yesterday.
Economist Peter Wilson said more certainty would be great, but many businesses recognised the country was facing the worst public health crisis in a century.
"What we're dealing with is a very tricky virus, that if it gets out of control, will decimate the population."
Wilson told the Herald some companies were struggling, but many had acquired resilience over the past 18 months.
"The economy is holding up surprisingly well," said Wilson, NZ Institute of Economic Research principal economist.
He said inflationary pressures were building but the Reserve Bank would likely take measures to prevent inflation accelerating.
Wilson said people should expect Government subsidies for struggling businesses to be significantly reduced next year.
"The support is not going to go on forever, because it's not going to be needed forever."
Travel restrictions in place overseas meant many Kiwis would holiday domestically instead, Wilson said.
Increased domestic travel options this summer meant people who normally holidayed in Queensland or the Pacific islands would instead choose New Zealand destinations, he said.
"You'd expect there would be a fair bit of pent-up demand."
Wilson said the economy bounced back from previous lockdowns, and he expected it to do so again.
There were 194 new community cases yesterday in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Lakes/Taupo and Canterbury.
A man, in his 60s, died at North Shore Hospital. The Ministry said he was admitted to hospital on November 4 with Covid symptoms and subsequently tested positive. He died on Tuesday.