New Zealanders will learn their lockdown fate at 5.30pm Friday when the Prime Minister addresses the nation after meeting with Cabinet.

Auckland is in level 3 lockdown and the rest of the country is in level 2. The levels were set to lift at midnight tomorrow.

Jacinda Ardern's office has confirmed a decision on whether lockdown continues will be made at 5.30pm tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says it still not known how a family of four contracted Covid-19.


There are 13 new Covid cases in the South Auckland cluster, all linked to the original four confirmed cases from the new outbreak first confirmed on Tuesday.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Health Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The new cases include children. One is a girl aged 1-4 while the other is a boy aged 5-9. Another girl who tested positive is aged 10-14, while a teenage male (aged 15-19) is among the new cases.

Hipkins told Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan the goal was to still identify how the family contracted the virus.

"That's the goal - how the family got it in the first place. It is a cluster; we haven't seen any cases outside the cluster.

"They are either in quarantine or on the way to quarantine. I can tell you they have been required to go to quarantine."

He revealed the cases announced today would be in the Jet Park facility by the end of the day.

The original four family members are all in quarantine.

Details about the rest-home in Morrinsville would be released shortly after a positive Covid person visited over the weekend, he said.


"There are a lot of rumours flying around at the moment. Everyone (at the rest home) who needed to have been tested have been tested."

He refused to say if any were showing signs of symptoms, saying this would be released tomorrow.

He said pop-up testing stations had been launched, with staff from hospitals, to try to cope with the workload.

"That's pretty rapid ... in less than 48 hours now."

He acknowledged officials would have liked to have set up roadblocks earlier than they were.

"It is not feasible to build a wall at either end of Auckland."


Officials were looking to trial a Covid card, but it was not considered a silver bullet.

"The Covid card would not stop the need for a lockdown necessarily."

Manukau Ward councillor Efeso Collins told du Plessis-Allan the family at the centre of the recent Covid-19 outbreak are feeling a bit "embarrassed" at the moment.

He said there had been some negative comments on social media and a group in South Auckland had called for greater sensitivity towards the family.

Collins said he had been speaking to the family by social media messages.

"They're feeling a little bit embarrassed at the moment. There is a sense on their part, that maybe they are responsible for this outbreak."


"There have been some comments on Facebook that have been denigrating towards the family. That's why we've come in and said, 'man, we can do better than this, we've got to show a lot more sensitivity towards this family."

Collins said the comments were not called for or needed.

He had advised the family not to look at social media.

When asked if the family were aware of comments being made about them online, Collins said they were.

"We've been encouraging them to come offline and not go to Facebook, but it is hard when they are trying to stay in touch with family ... and they get all sorts of these comments pop up from their feed."

Collins said the comments were not called for or needed.


He called for Aucklanders to band together, saying the city's residents knew how to get through it based on the last lockdown.

"And this is an outbreak we are really nervous about, especially out here where a lot of our people present with ... complex health cases, and so now again we've got to take care of each other."

He said he was worried about vulnerable members of the South Auckland community.

There was concern in the community and that could be seen in the long queues of cars that turned out to the Otara Shopping Mall testing centre.

"I'm getting calls all the time, I'm out there visiting ... (and there is) a level of anxiety at the moment."

"We want to look out for everyone but I think this could be pretty ominous for our community so we've got to be supportive of each other."


Family members of confirmed cases might also be required to go into quarantine, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield says.

Bloomfield said "a lot of thought" had gone into moving confirmed cases into quarantine facilities. It would help prevent spread between family members and limit the spread in the community from people coming to visit.

It would "really strengthen our response", he said.

Bloomfield said they were confident there was the capacity for those people and the Ministry of Health was working with MBIE to ensure that.

There is also a new case in a managed isolation facility, a woman in her 30s who arrived from the Philippines on August 8, who tested positive around her third day at the facility.

There are now 17 active cases in the community. Nineteen other active cases are in managed isolation and are directly linked to the border.


Given all the new cases are linked, they're being treated as clusters and Bloomfield said they "fully expected" more cases.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there wasn't any evidence at this stage there was a "super spreader" event.

Bloomfield said he didn't agree with modelling that showed there could be between 25 and 100 cases and they were working backwards to find the source.

The earliest time the confirmed case had symptoms was on July 31, which meant the first case could have been in the community "several weeks ago", Bloomfield said.

Positive case visited aged-care centre

One of the people who has tested positive visited an aged-care facility in the Waikato, which Bloomfield said he wouldn't name yet as family members were still being notified.

The visit was when the person wasn't displaying symptoms but they developed symptoms the next day.


All staff and residents in the unit will be tested.

Bloomfield said he didn't think Waikato needed to move into a higher alert level because it was clear the locus was in Auckland.

He said they had learnt from the last outbreak, 95 per cent of cases happened in workplaces or households - not casual contacts.

Bloomfield said any pertinent information, such as travel updates, would be shared as and when needed, not just at the 1pm press conferences.

One new case in managed isolation

In managed isolation there is one new case - a woman in her 30s who arrived from the Philippines

That brings the total number of active cases to 36.


The new Covid cases in Auckland community

One of the cases is the Mt Albert Grammar School student who is a relative of one of the already confirmed cases.

The student wasn't symptomatic at school so the chance of exposure by anyone in the school community is low, Bloomfield said.

But they should monitor their health and contact Healthline if needed.

Three of the cases are Americold employees and another seven are family members of those employees.

There are four cases at Americold in Mt Wellington in Auckland. Photo / Dean Purcell
There are four cases at Americold in Mt Wellington in Auckland. Photo / Dean Purcell

All staff across all sites are being tested.

The Americold surface swabs were done this morning and results would "hopefully" available later today, Bloomfield said.


Ardern said the "most likely" scenario was a human-to-human spread but they wanted to rule other options out.

Another case is an employee of Finance Now - they were admitted to North Shore Hospital but have since been discharged. One of their family members is another confirmed case.

All confirmed cases are now to be managed in a quarantine facility.

Ardern said the latest numbers showed the "seriousness of the situation" but said it was being dealt with an urgent, calm and methodical way.

She said we know a cluster "grows before it slows" and New Zealanders should expect to see that happen again.

Officials were still tracking down the source of the cluster - known as the index case.


Aucklanders should work from home when they can and only go out for essential items, and should wear a face covering if they do go out for exercise, food or a test.

If you are well and in good health, Ardern asked people to "stay put" to not overwhelm testing sites.

Businesses which can't have people working from home and aren't customer-facing, should have appropriate measures in place, Ardern said.

All businesses across New Zealand should put a QR code at their entrances before August 19 to avoid penalties.

There are checkpoints across Auckland stopping traffic leaving the city. Photo / Khalia Strong
There are checkpoints across Auckland stopping traffic leaving the city. Photo / Khalia Strong

There are 10 checkpoints operating in Auckland. By 7am, about 17,000 cars had been stopped and 312 were turned back. Ardern said police were reporting attempts by people to travel to their baches.

Ardern acknowledged the anxiety felt by some New Zealanders at the pace of the response, but said the speed should act as some comfort that they were going "hard and early".


There will be another 1pm update tomorrow and another after Cabinet meets to decide whether to extend alert levels.

Ardern said "while we're in a heightened state of alert" she believed New Zealanders would understand why the restrictions were in place.

"I think they'll understand and see why that's necessary."

Whether some parts of the country could move back to level 1 was one of the things Cabinet would consider tomorrow, she said.

Ardern said which businesses could be open in Auckland was "exactly, exactly the same" as last time and more information was on the Covid-19 website.

Anyone with reports of shops price-gouging masks should report it to the Government's report line. Ardern said they were keeping a "very close eye" on it.


Ardern said about price-gouging: "We're asking people not to try and capitalise on the situation that New Zealand finds itself in."

She reminded New Zealanders they could fashion their own face covering, which was adequate.

Covid-positive family went to Taupō as well as Rotorua

Testing is available for anyone who was in these places at the same time the confirmed cases visited in Rotorua:

• 3.30pm - They checked into the Wai Ora Hotel.

• 8pm - They dined at the Herb and Spice restaurant.

• 2.30pm - visited Pak'nSave.


• 3.30pm - Heritage Farm.

• 4pm - Skyline Gondola and luge.

• 8am - Made a day trip to Taupō for a sailing trip. All other visitors and staff will be tested.

• 3pm - returned to Heritage Farm.

• Had dinner at Burger Fuel then headed home.

The movements of the Covid-positive family who visited Rotorua.
The movements of the Covid-positive family who visited Rotorua.

The Ministry of Health utilised the alert function on the Covid Tracer app for the first time to alert people who were recorded as being in the same location as the confirmed cases on their trip to Rotorua.


There have been about 986,000 downloads of the Covid Tracer app - which is up 338,000 in the Past 48 hours.

The testing of staff at the border was "an adjunct" to the strict protocols in place at the hotels and the testing was another layer.

There are also measures and protocols at the maritime border and port workers in Auckland are being tested.

Ardern said regarding the long queues for tests, it wasn't the actual test which took time but getting people's details. She urged people to have their NHI numbers ready and said if people didn't know their number, they could get tested at their GP which would have that information.

Te Whānau o Waipareira is operating a new Covid testing clinic at the Ports of Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Te Whānau o Waipareira is operating a new Covid testing clinic at the Ports of Auckland. Photo / Supplied

Officials are considering "pool testing" but it was most effective in batches of low positive results, but they were looking at it for some parts of New Zealand.

Ardern on Covid conspiracies

Ardern said conspiracy theories weren't new, particularly that Covid-19 wasn't real, but the global evidence was it was "very, very real".


She urged anyone who didn't trust politicians to listen to independent doctors and scientists for advice.

'No blame or shame'

Bloomfield said his priority was to make sure the virus didn't take hold in communities.

He said there was no blame on anyone who had caught Covid-19.

"There is no blame or shame in having Covid-19 - the virus is the problem ... people are the solution."

He thanked people for being tested.

It's important to note any positive case is isolated along with their families.


Today's test results reveal the first trends from the push for mass testing, following the re-emergence of community transmission on Tuesday.

It follows the Herald revealing three more cases at an Auckland coolstore linked to the outbreak.

Bloomfield confirmed this morning a Mt Albert Grammar student in Auckland had tested positive - a person who was a close contact of the family whose members have tested positive.

He did not know if the student was one of the four probable cases announced yesterday.

He said some of the original family who had tested positive were in a quarantine facility but not all of them.

Cabinet ministers will meet tomorrow to decide whether Auckland might be eased into alert level 2, stay at level 3, or moved to full lockdown.


Tomorrow's Cabinet decision on the future of the lockdown will depend on factors including the extent of the new Covid-19 outbreak, the containment of known chains of transmission, and whether the source of infection has been found.

Subscribe to Premium

Bloomfield would not say this morning how he thought the decision would go.

"We are getting all our information together so we can get the best possible advice. I feel confident we will have a lot more good information to inform a good decision," he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.

Meanwhile, the Lakes District Health Board has released further information about where two people who tested positive for Covid-19 visited while in Rotorua, including the Fat Dog cafe on Sunday, August 9 between 1.30pm and 2.30pm and Burger Fuel Redwoods on August 10 between 7pm and 8pm.