Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Level 2 for all but Auckland, focus on stamping out last cases

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that all of New Zealand except Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 at 11:59pm on Tuesday. Video / Michael Craig / Mark Mitchell / Dean Purcell

COVID LATEST:* NZ outside Auckland moves to ‘Delta level 2’ settings from midnight tonight* Face masks must be worn inside most public venues, including shops, malls, and public spaces* Masks ‘highly recommended’ in schools* Waitakere Hospital patient placed in same room as Covid positive case* Long wait for some business owners to get wage subsidy* ‘It’s a disaster’: Hospitality NZ says industry in dire situation* Delta Diary: Kim Knight on the difficult third week

It is level 2 for the country, aside from Auckland, come midnight – with the focus now firmly on stamping out Delta in our biggest city.

It comes after another day of low case numbers.

But testing rates dropped to the lowest point of the outbreak, and authorities say those numbers need to pick up dramatically to allow a drop in alert levels next week.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday what she called “Delta level 2” for the country outside Auckland’s borders, to keep up with the more-infectious variant that had “changed the game”.

This means masks in many indoor venues and smaller limits on gatherings, along with other measures to reduce the risk of any community transmission.

Mask use in schools will be “highly recommended” but not compulsory.

The alert level move came off the back of three days of cases hovering around 20 daily – well down on the peak of 84 just over a week ago.

There are now 821 cases in the outbreak, including 804 in Auckland and 17 in Wellington.

Epidemiologist Michael Baker said today that it should be mandatory for high school students should wear masks when school resumes on Thursday.