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Ministers will meet today to decide the alert level fate of New Zealand, following two new cases of Covid-19 yesterday - including a quarantine worker at the Jet Park Hotel.

It comes as health officials also alerted the public to three new locations and dates that a Covid-positive person visited in Auckland before they knew they had the virus.

Health experts expect the country will remain at alert level 2 - and Auckland at alert level 2.5 - for some time yet.


"I think we are all feeling like there's a lot still happening," Otago University infectious diseases expert David Murdoch told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today.

"A decision will be made with great caution and I think it will be unlikely that we will move."

He said it was not just a matter of getting down to low community cases - the country was already seeing low numbers as a result of the level-2 rules - but the Government would want to have confidence there were no loose ends. "It's quite a complex process."

He agreed it was "a good question" as to why the rest of New Zealand was in level 2 when there had been no community cases (aside from Tokoroa cases linked to the Auckland cluster). Murdoch said the fact Aucklanders had been allowed to move around the country would be the concern. "That would be the counter-argument."

The Jet Park case is a healthcare worker and is the first positive test there in the five and a half months since the quarantine facility became operational. The other confirmed case is an overseas returnee in managed isolation.

Prevention controls, including the use of personal protective equipment, are now being reviewed at Jet Park.


Meanwhile, health officials revealed details yesterday of a Covid-positive person who visited the Les Mills gym in Takapuna and the Countdown supermarket and The Warehouse at Milford. They did not know they had Covid.

Auckland Regional Public Health is warning anyone who visited the gym in Takapuna on September 9 and 10 and attended certain Body Combat and Sprint classes is now being treated as a close contact. They should stay at home and contact Healthline (0800 358 5453) as soon as possible.


The classes included the Wednesday, September 9, 5.30pm RPM Sprint class and 6.15pm Body Combat class, and the Thursday, September 10, 9.15am Body Combat class.

Others at the gym at the same time but not in those classes are casual contacts and are being asked to get tested.

An ARPHS spokesperson said the person also visited The Warehouse and Countdown in Milford on Thursday, September 10. ARPHS said the risk to anyone who was at these other locations at the same time as the case is very low.

"The person was only in these stores for 15 minutes and did not have close contact with anyone else during the visits. While the person was infectious at the time, the risk to staff and other shoppers is considered low."

Currently Auckland, the centre of the current outbreak, is at alert level "2.5", with a stricter social gatherings limit of 10 people except for funerals and tangi, which allow 50 people.

The rest of the country is at alert level 2, where social gatherings up to 100 people are permitted.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce Cabinet's decision on alert level settings today at 1pm. Photo / Greg Bowker
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce Cabinet's decision on alert level settings today at 1pm. Photo / Greg Bowker

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce Cabinet's decision at 1pm from Dunedin, where the Labour leader is campaigning today. It will be broadcast live on and Newstalk ZB.

Any changes to the alert levels will not take effect until after 11.59pm on Wednesday.

"We've always been ready to move to level 1," Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today.

He reiterated a call for social distancing rules to be eased on aircraft - Air New Zealand planes are currently flying domestically with the middle seat empty.

Covid 19 coronavirus: Two new cases today - including a health worker at Jet Park quarantine facility
Covid-19 coronavirus: West Auckland school deemed safe to open after student tests positive
Covid 19 coronavirus: Two new cases in New Zealand linked to Mt Roskill cluster
Mt Roskill cluster: Two Waitematā DHB health workers test positive for Covid-19

Meanwhile, Marketview data released yesterday showed a 26 per cent drop in hospitality and accommodation spending since Auckland came out of level 3, but only a 3.5 per cent drop in retail spending compared to the previous year.


"There has no doubt been some pent-up demand for retail as many shops were closed for nearly three weeks," Takapuna Beach Business Association chief executive Terence Harpur said.

"However, level 2.5 remains particularly restrictive on restaurants, cafés and bars."

Public health experts have urged caution in easing restrictions, with Otago University epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker saying that silent transmission outside known clusters was a "real possibility".

Auckland University Professor Shaun Hendy, whose team has been modelling Covid-19 for the Government, said uncertainty remained around the group of cases linked to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship Church.

Yesterday was the first day in recent times without any new cases linked to the group.

The Ministry of Health said 98 per cent of the church congregation had now been re-tested, as had 98 per cent of the sub-cluster linked to a series of bereavement events.


Yesterday, there were 7211 tests processed.

There were three people in hospital, including two in ICU, and the number of active cases was 97.

Of those, 39 were imported cases in MIQ facilities, and 58 were community cases.

Someone who works at Jet Park Hotel in Mangere, which is being used to quarantine Covid-19 cases and their households, has tested positive. Photo / Dean Purcell
Someone who works at Jet Park Hotel in Mangere, which is being used to quarantine Covid-19 cases and their households, has tested positive. Photo / Dean Purcell

Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Air Commodore Darryn Webb said the Jet Park worker did not work at any other site.

The MIQ team is now reviewing staffing logs, swipe-card data and CCTV footage to map the person's movements in recent days.

Five household contacts connected to the health worker are in isolation at their home and are being tested.


Genome sequencing results are expected tomorrow.

"This case is still being investigated to determine if the infection came from the community or from within the quarantine facility, though at this stage no obvious links to other cases in the community have been established," the Health Ministry said.

"Staff at the facility regarded as close contacts have been stood down and a deep clean of staff areas at the facility has been completed."

All staff at the quarantine facility are being retested, which is expected to be completed by the end of today.

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Yesterday director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Ministry for Pacific Peoples chief executive Laulu Mac Leauanae addressed the issue of misinformation during a Facebook Live address.

Bloomfield said New Zealand would have seen 3500 deaths, 20 per cent of which would have been among healthcare workers, if New Zealand had followed the strategy that was used in the UK.


So far New Zealand has 24 deaths from Covid-19.