* More locations of interest revealed – KFC restaurants, supermarkets
*Countdown staff bear brunt of customer annoyance at meat shortages
* Derek Cheng: Ongoing lockdown for Auckland, but for how long? And what’s the Plan B?
* Jamie Morton: How did Delta get into NZ?
* Sydney man tells of terrifying Delta symptoms from hospital bed
The Government is warning the current Covid-19 Delta outbreak is expected to worsen over the next five days.
The news came as the Ministry of Health’s locations of interest page topped 300 individual events of possible exposure.
Six new Auckland locations of interest have been added to the Ministry of Health’s website, at 10.15am.
Auckland CBD fast-food restaurants McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Starbucks are among the new locations of interest.
The McDonald’s CBD – at 268 Queen St, in downtown Auckland – is a location of interest. People there between 1pm and 2pm on Tuesday, August 10, are deemed close contacts.
Taco Bell on Shortland St, Auckland central, is now on the list. Anyone who was there between 12.30pm to 1pm on Tuesday, August 10, is to isolate for a fortnight immediately.
Starbucks in the Auckland CBD, at 220 Queen St, was also added to the latest update. If you were there between 12.45pm and 1.30pm on Tuesday, August 10, isolate at home and get a Covid test.
Another McDonald’s restaurant is also now on the list – McDonald’s New Lynn on Memorial Drive. A positive case visited there between 3pm and 3.30pm on Tuesday, August 10.
A person or persons who tested positive for the virus spent three hours at the LynnMall Shopping centre, in New Lynn, on Tuesday, August 10. People there between 3pm and 6pm are advised to isolate at home for 14 days.
People who were in an elevator at the SkyCity Theatre on Friday, August 13, are also being alerted. Those affected were in an elevator ride from the level 6 carpark to level 1 SkyCity Theatre between 7.59pm to 8.59pm.
A positive case was at Kumon New Lynn Education Centre, on Great North Road in New Lynn, which offers after-school programmes for children between 7.30pm and 7.45pm on Tuesday, August 17 – hours before the country went into an alert level 4 lockdown.
Anyone who was at Kumon New Lynn Education centre is told: “Self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until you get a negative test result and until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.”
Earlier this morning eight locations of interest were added.
They are Jett’s Gym, Otahuhu, KFC Mangere and Glenfield, Westside Fitness, Henderson, Pak N Save Clendon Park, Countdowns in Takanini and Manurewa and Food Village in Manurewa.
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The dates were visited by cases at various times and dates between August 11 and 17.
Other sites of interest inside the Glenfield Mall include The Warehouse, Countdown, Pascoes and Katsubi Japanese.
Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall told Newstalk ZB said it could be a “wee, wee, wee away” – or another “five days” – before we could start seeing the number of Covid cases going down.
She wouldn’t comment when asked if Auckland could be in for another four weeks of lockdown, stating she “didn’t have a view” however there was concern with “ongoing risk around the country, including Auckland”.
She told the AM Show it was possible there could be a higher number of Covid cases today, compared to previous days.
She added that five of the current covid cases were in hospital – but none in ICU.
She told TVNZ’s Breakfast today that contact tracers had managed to find 10,000 close contacts connected to locations of interest.
She acknowledged that “tens of thousands” of people had left Auckland before lockdown started.
“That’s the level of risk we’re dealing with there.”
Verrall also said that 5 per cent of Auckland’s population have been tested for Covid-19.
She said that was a higher percentage than what they had hoped for – of at least 1 per cent.
Asked about essential workers and whether their families should be prioritised for vaccinations, Verrall said yes, indeed, but the point she wanted to make was that health officials were now close to being able to offer vaccinations to all age groups.
“[So] that’s a pretty moot point to be honest.”
Testing turnout slows
The demand for testing in Auckland is clearly moving south with queues at testing centres on the North Shore at record lows.
The Albany centre at North Harbour stadium – where a woman last week waited 11 hours only to be turned away – is very quiet with waits expected to be under two hours.
The same goes for the Wairau Valley centre, which has contained the queue for testing inside the Eventfinda Stadium car park.
Queues at the traditionally busy Northcote testing centre have dropped dramatically this morning.
Fewer than 80 cars are in line on College Rd. Last week, queues of more than 250 cars stretching two kilometres caused waits of more than 10 hours.
Lockdown decision looms
Covid-19 Modeller Michael Plank told RNZ he expected to see 20 new cases per day. But there may be more given the large events that took place.
He said it would not be until the second half of this week before we started to see any sign that lockdown was having an impact on the spread.
It was “definitely good news” that there seemed to be one cluster only.
“We’re not completely out of the woods yet in terms of another cluster being out there, people could still be in the incubation period,” he said.
Delta had a “wide ranging” incubation period.
He said it was possible that people were not yet sick but were still infectious.
He predicted that the L4 lockdown would be at least another week.
An adviser to the Government on Covid-19 is warning Kiwis to prepare for a “messy and frustrated” exit from lockdown to a life that may not be as free as the last 18 months.
Wigram Capital Advisors’ Rodney Jones, who has been advising the Government on Covid-19 throughout the pandemic, warned that the highly transmissible Delta variant would make for a difficult exit from lockdown.
He said New Zealanders may need to prepare for life not going back to the way it was before the latest outbreak.
“We’re not going back to what we had for the last 18 months,” Jones said. “At what point do you say, ‘You had a fantastic 18 months, but in some ways the future we face is not going to be as good as that’.”
Supermarkets respond to empty shelves
Meanwhile, despite images of empty shelves continuing to be shared on social media,
Countdown spokeswoman Kiri Hannafin told RNZ their stocks were “holding up pretty well”.
There were limits on items that “sell very well at times like this” but there was lots of stock.
“The stores are looking good,” she said.
Seven stores in Auckland remain closed due to staff shortages after people were identified as close contacts and had to self isolate.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told RNZ charges were “very likely” for a group caught jetboating near Wanaka over the weekend.
He said it was “incredibly disappointing” to see men from multiple bubbles breaching the rules of lockdown.
He expected an update later today with news of charges against the group.
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