Coronavirus cases in the community now total 72 as the country stays at home on day five of lockdown. To improve contact tracing, record-keeping is now mandatory in most places where there are large gatherings.
An additional 21 cases of Covid-19 have been found in the community – 20 in Auckland and 1 in Wellington.
The Wellington case was first reported yesterday but is officially part of Sunday’s total.
Of the 72 total cases in the community, 61 of them have been linked to the original Auckland cluster and 11 are unconfirmed but are likely to have a link.
Several of the new cases are connected to the Samoan Assembly of God in Māngere.
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People who were there from 9am to 3pm on Sunday August 15 are asked to isolate for 14 days and be tested immediately.
Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Sunday that record-keeping, such as scanning with the contact tracer app or manually signing in, will become mandatory for most businesses and events.
“It will become mandatory to make note of where you have been in places where there are large gatherings,’’ he said.
Those venues where signing-in is already done by the business, like gyms and workplaces, won’t be mandatory as the record-keeping is already being done.
Hipkins has warned of the fast spread of the new variant and why new measures are needed, saying, “Delta is here and is trying to move fast’’.
He commended frontline workers for another record – this time a weekend vaccination record, which comes after Friday’s record 56,000 vaccinations.
Hipkins also reminded people who are a contact of a positive case and are home isolating not to go to vaccination appointments.
Delaying a vaccination or changing it to another time can be done online or by phone.
Earlier on Sunday Hipkins, who is also Education Minister, announced free childcare would be available this week for essential workers who have nobody else in their bubble to undertake childcare for those aged up to 13-years-old.
It’s the same policy that was implemented during nationwide lockdown last year.
“We still don’t know for how long we’ll be in Level 4. We’ll know more tomorrow, but essential workers need to be able to plan and putting this service in place from tomorrow will give them some valuable peace of mind,’’ Hipkins said.
The scheme is for the workers in Alert Level 4 businesses and services, and other exempted services such as fire and emergency and border workers.
It is also only for those Level 4 workers who do not have childcare in place – parents are expected to use their own private arrangements where possible, Hipkins said.
A list of 32 providers, with national coverage are now available for parents to contact.
Ahead of today’s press conference Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Wellington.
At Sunday’s 1pm press conference he said there were 15 community testing centres open in Auckland, with an additional one now open at the Pukekohe showgrounds.
Wastewater testing again showed Wellington and Auckland having positive cases and further tests from Warkworth and the Coromandel were due in coming days.
Cabinet is set to meet on Monday afternoon to decide whether to keep the country at the highest level.
On Friday, Ministers decided to extend New Zealand’s latest Covid-19 lockdown nationwide until the end of Tuesday at least, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying caution is warranted given the remaining unknowns about the Delta cluster.
Ardern and Hipkins have indicated Auckland and the Coromandel region will spend longer in lockdown than the rest of the country.