Aucklanders devoured burgers and coffees while reaching a vaccination milestone on day one of alert level 3; case numbers spiked again and a couple who allegedly travelled to Wanaka during lockdown have been charged.
- 23 new community cases were announced today, 22 of them are linked epidemiologically
- 1 new case in MIQ
- Outbreak total is 1108, 835 recovered
- 13 people are in hospital, with two in intensive care
- 9780 swabs were taken in Auckland yesterday
- 53,000 people were vaccinated yesterday
Police charge couple who visited Wanaka
The Auckland couple who travelled to Wanaka while the supercity was at Covid-19 alert level 4 have been charged.
Police say William Willis, a 35-year-old equestrian from Karaka, and his partner Hannah Rawnsley, a 26-year-old barrister from Pukekohe, have been summonsed to appear on a charge of failing to comply with the Covid-19 health order.
The pair are alleged to have crossed the border from Auckland using essential worker exemptions, driven to Hamilton Airport before flying to Queenstown and then driving to Wanaka earlier this month.
They will appear in the Papakura District Court next month.
Concern among Pasifika health experts
Pasifika immunologist Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, of Otago University, is among experts concerned that Auckland's move to level 3 could affect the most vulnerable communities.
She said people would need to stay vigilant despite the lower alert level.
Dr Sika-Paotonu said a major shift in focus was needed in order to get young people immunised.
Samoa-born epidemiologist Dr Corina Grey from the University of Auckland is also concerned, and is also calling on Aucklanders to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Aucklanders lead way on vaccinations
Auckland has hit 80 percent of eligible residents receiving their first vaccine dose, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.
Fifty-three thousand doses were administered across the country yesterday - 21,000 were in Auckland. All up, 608,000 are now fully vaccinated in the city.
About 52 percent of Māori have had a first dose, along with 67 percent of Pacific people, 91 percent of over-65s, and 80 percent of 40-64 year olds.
Hipkins said the numbers are encouraging, but there are still inequities in the vaccine rollout and a lot more work needs to be done.
Dawn start for hospitality outlets
Business owners and staff were up early today to prepare food for those eager to sample takeaways, cafe food and professionally made coffee for the first time in five weeks.
Olaf's Artisan Bakery Cafe in Mt Eden re-opened with owner Oranna Blanke typical of many wanting to see customers again and finding that coffee was uppermost on many minds.
Crave Cafe co-owner Nigel Cottle was expecting to sell 200 cheese scones today and said it was great to be back in level 3.
Bacon butties help fuel Taranaki's vaccination rollout
An initiative to get people vaccinated against Covid-19 in New Plymouth this morning using the lure of a free bacon buttie is being hailed a success.
The city's vaccination centre threw out the appointment book and put on breakfast and an espresso for anyone getting a jab between 7am and 9am.
The free brekky proved especially popular with tradies and around 130 people all up enjoyed their butties after a dose of Pfizer.
Helping hand for students
Minister Hipkins said the government was aware that students in Tāmaki Makaurau have been spending increased time at higher alert levels, so he was increasing the entitlement for learning recognition credits for them.
They will now be able to get one such credit for every four other credits they get, up to a cap of 16 for NCEA level 1 and 12 for NCEA levels 2 and 3.
He is also adjusting the threshold for certificate endorsement to 44 credits at merit or excellence level, rather than the 46 credit threshold in the rest of the country.
The minister has thanked parents, teachers and whānau for the work they have done to help students this year.
Three-quarters of health workers fully vaccinated
District health boards say 75 percent of their staff have had two vaccine doses.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told media this afternoon he had asked health officials to consult on mandatory vaccination for the majority of healthcare workers.
At present only healthcare workers covered by the Public Health Response Order relating to MIQ facilities and the border had been mandated to be vaccinated.
DHBs were in the dark about the vaccination status of some staff.
But the best data they had, from early September, showed at least 75 percent of DHB workers were fully vaccinated.
The figures showed Canterbury DHB could only confirm 65 percent of staff were fully vaccinated, while West Coast DHB could only confirm 49 percent of staff had two doses.