13 Aug 2020

Timeline of New Zealand's newest Covid-19 community transmission cluster

6:02 pm on 13 August 2020

There are now 17 cases of Covid-19 that are part of a new cluster in Auckland. At this stage, health authorities cannot work out the source of the infection, so it is being treated as community transmission.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern giving an update on the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand on 12 August, 2020.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern giving an update on the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand on 12 August, 2020. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

This timeline charts their movements, the actions of health authorities and the government, and further cases.

Saturday 8 August

Four members of the family travel to Rotorua. Two of those family members - a woman in her 20s and a pre-schooler - subsequently tested positive for Covid-19. The woman had symptoms when she travelled to Rotorua.

3.30pm: Family members check-in for their stay at the Wai Ora Lakeside Hotel

8pm-9pm: Family visits the Herbs & Spices Thai Restaurant

Sunday 9 August

1.30pm-2.30pm: Family visits Fat Dog Café in Rotorua

2.30pm-3pm: Family visits Pak'n'Save Rotorua

4pm-6pm: Family visits the Skyline Gondola

Monday 10 August

10.30am: Family visits Sail Barbary Eco Sailing in Taupō

3pm-4.30pm: Family members in Rotorua visit the Heritage Farm and 3D Art Gallery

7pm-7.30pm: Family visits Burger Fuel Redwoods

7pm-7.30pm: Family visits Don Kebab

A member of the same family, a person in their 50s, gets tested in Auckland after having Covid-19 symptoms for several days.

No caption

Photo: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod

Tuesday 11 August

9am: Family members who had been in Rotorua stop for fuel in Hamilton, on their way back to Auckland.

1pm: Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield gives a media briefing in Porirua where he is also swabbed.

2.30pm: The first positive result comes back. The family is contacted and goes into isolation at home. Other family members are given rapid tests.

2.40pm: The head of the Northern Region DHBs Margie Apa texts Dr Bloomfield about the positive result.

2.45pm: Dr Bloomfield calls Apa.

Just before 3pm: Health officials have a Zoom meeting to get an initial rundown of the situation.

3.15pm: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern goes to a public event in Whanganui.

4pm: Ardern leaves Whanganui event. Once in the privacy of her van, she is told about the positive case. She speaks to her chief of staff and Health Minister Chris Hipkins.

7pm: Ardern arrives at Parliament and meets with Hipkins.

7.30pm: Officials from the All-of-Government Response Group and Ministry of Health meet in the prime minister's office. After that, a group of government ministers is convened. They are briefed and decisions are made.

About 8.30pm: National Party leader Judith Collins is briefed, as is Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

9.15pm: Ardern and Bloomfield front a press conference in the Beehive Theatrette, announcing the four new cases of community transmission. Auckland will move into alert level 3 at midday on Wednesday and the rest of the country will move into alert level 2. These restrictions are set to last until midnight on Friday.

Covid coronavirus testing station at the Rotorua International Stadium in Rotorua.

Photo: RNZ/ Logan Church

Wednesday 12 August

10am: The family's trip to Rotorua is announced at a media briefing.

Midday: Level 3 comes into effect in Auckland, level 2 comes into effect across the rest of the country.

4pm: Four probable cases of Covid-19 are announced. Two are work colleagues and two are from another household, where one of the earlier cases had stayed the previous week.

Americold Mt Wellington facility.

Americold Mt Wellington facility. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

More details are revealed about the trip to Rotorua, including some of the places they visited.

Rotorua will stay in level 2, but people are told to be alert for symptoms.

Bloomfield makes an order to require the following people to stay home:

  • Employees, contractors and visitors in the last 14 days to Americold in Mount Wellington and Finance Now on Dominion Road
  • Anyone who ordinarily lives with those people

More than 200 close contacts of the positive cases have been identified. Bloomfield's order could cover up to 1000 people.

It is announced that all businesses will have to display a QR at their entrances. They have a week to comply.

Thursday 13 August

Thirteen new cases of Covid-19, linked to the family, are confirmed.

One is a student at Mount Albert Grammar School.

Three people are workers at Americold and seven are family members of those employees.

One is an employee of Finance Now and one is their family member.

Jacinda Ardern followed by Ashley Bloomfield

Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

There are now 17 cases linked to the Auckland outbreak and they are being treated as a cluster.

One of the positive cases visited a rest home in Waikato. The person was well when they visited, but developed symptoms the next day. All staff and residents are being tested.

Bloomfield announces that all positive cases will be taken to dedicated quarantine facilities.

Labs processed more than 6000 tests on Wednesday, and more than 10,000 swabs were taken.

Friday 14 August

Cabinet will meet to decide on the next steps.

Current restrictions are in place until midnight Friday.

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