There are 12 new Covid cases today - five of which are in the community, public health director Caroline McElnay says.

Four of the new community cases are linked to the "mini cluster" - at the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship in Auckland. There are now 12 positive cases linked to the cluster.

The other seven new cases are in managed isolation. All the seven imported cases arrived on the same day - they are heading to the Jet Park quarantine facility in Auckland.

McElnay said the seven border cases came from a part of the world where there is a lot of Covid-19.


Finance Minister Grant Robertson wouldn't say which country the people came from, but he said it was an Air India flight.

"They are all people entitled to be in New Zealand."

But that does not mean they were all living in India, Robertson said.

So far, there are 2475 contacts related to Auckland cluster that sparked the latest lockdown - 2433 of these have been contacted.

There 11 people in hospital, McElnay said. Three of them are in ICU.

The total number of active cases is 130, she said.

On testing, there were 11,010 tests yesterday. That brings the total testing number to 730,330.

McElnay said the Government is aiming for 10,000 tests a day.


If testing keeps going at this rate, she is confident that they can reach the 70,000 number.

But the challenge lies ahead this weekend - often, testing is down on weekends.

Robertson said there are many pop-up stations in Auckland so he, too, is confident that the target will be reached

Warning over weekend - level 3 rules still apply in Auckland

Robertson said there were two and a half days until Auckland moves to level 2.

He thanked Auckland - now home to the biggest Covid-19 cluster in New Zealand so far.

"We are nearly there, but the job is not quite done."


He called on Aucklanders to get a test if they have symptoms.

"We need you to get tested today, or this weekend."

He said there are a number of pop-up testing stations available this weekend.

He reminded Aucklanders that the level 3 restrictions remain in place until midnight on Sunday.

Although the Auckland cluster is growing, Auckland can still go into level 2, Robertson said.

But he warned there will continue to be some cases "for some time".


That's why gathering sizes have been limited for the time being.

This includes churches.

He called on people to be careful, after Sunday, if they are leaving Auckland.

"The last thing we want from re-opening Auckland, is to spread [Covid] around the country."

He said it was "safe to send your children to school" as of Monday.

He said level 2 will see a lot more economic activity.


Wage subsidy

On the wage subsidy, he said he was aware of the "trying circumstances" that some businesses are facing.

He said the Government is committed to supporting jobs through there "trying times".

He said there are "positive signs" regarding how the scheme is working.

He said job seeker applications have only risen by 3000 or so in recent weeks.

He said every dollar of support given out, is a dollar of borrowing from the Government.

It's important to keep debt under control, he said.


If money from the $14b fund is not needed, he said it will not be borrowed.

Isolation runaways

Robertson was reluctant to comment on recent court judgments about people who have left illegally managed isolation.

That is because, he said, it was not appropriate for Ministers to comment on matters before the court.

GCSB helping NZX after cyber attack

On NZX, he said it was important that the Government works with them during this cyber attack.

He said the Government is aware of the impact this is having on the stock market.

He confirmed the GCSB is helping.


But he said he was not able to go into more details, as NZX is a private company.

But he has directed the GCSB to help NZX with "this situation".

On the NZX attack, Robertson said the Government support was, in part, because of how significant the stock exchange was to the NZ economy.

He said the Government is "critically aware" of cybersecurity.

He said NZX would "reflect on that".

Robertson could not say if ransom demands on the NZX have been made.
He said that was a question for Andrew Little.


He said comments by Jami-Lee Ross that the Government are looking to force people to take Covid-19 vaccines, when they are available, were not true.

Asked about US Ambassador Scott Brown, Robertson said he was happy about the process involved.

He said with diplomats, there are "conventions" in place.

That means some of the rules are different, Robertson said.

In the Greens school funding, Robertson outlined how extensive the systems behind funding was.

He said there were infrastructure funding projects, and it needed to be looked at from that lens.


He said the project was assessed as such.

"These are two very parts of Government," he said, referring to the difference between infrastructure and school funding.

He said he can understand some of the frustration - but talked about how proud he was of the Government record on school funding.

He said the Government has to "act in good faith" on this issue - saying it's unlikely the funding would be reversed.

"This is part of a different process," he said, when pressed about whether or not this project should have been a priority.

He repeatedly brought up the Government's record in infrastructure spending as well as spending on schools.


Asked if the funding would be pulled, Robertson again said it was his understanding that there was a good faith offer that was made and that cannot be reversed.

Officials say there are 600 people linked to the Mt Roskill "mini cluster". A link between the Mt Roskill 'Mini cluster' and the wider Auckland cluster has not yet been found, but McElnay confirmed that it was epidemiologically linked.

But the "mini cluster" is genomically linked to the B111 Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland – meaning it's from the same Covid-19 family.

Officials are calling for anyone who was at services at the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship Church on August 8, 9 and 11, as well as anyone who was at an August 7 wedding, to get tested "as soon as possible".

There were seven new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, all but one were in the community.
There are 10 people in hospital with Covid-19.

Two people were in Auckland City Hospital, four people in Middlemore, three in North Shore Hospital and one in Waikato Hospital.


Eight of those people were on a ward, and one person was in Middlemore is in ICU, as was one person in North Shore.