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Five things to know About Northland COVID-19 Case who sparked level 3 Lockdown

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Check Top Five things to know about Northland COVID-19 case who sparked level 3 Lockdown.

Five things to know about Northland COVID-19 case who sparked level 3 lockdown: Northland is being thrown back into lockdown after a COVID-positive woman travelled from Auckland with forged documents and is refusing to cooperate with authorities, according to Chris Hipkins.

Five things to know about Northland COVID-19 case who sparked level 3 lockdown

The COVID-19 Response Minister held an impromptu press conference at the Beehive in Wellington on Friday evening to announce the alert level change, a move he described as a precautionary measure. 

“We know many people in Northland live rurally, but the advice is the same for everyone – get vaccinated, get tested, and follow the alert level 3 requirements,” Hipkins said of the measures taking effect after midnight. 

“Every Northlander needs to stay home, get tested as soon as possible if they have symptoms, and continue to check the Ministry of Health website for updated locations of interest. And of course, vaccination centres continue to be open in alert level 3.

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“As we have seen in Waikato the virus is finding its way into rural areas and finding unvaccinated people. Distance is no barrier. It’s never been more urgent to get vaccinated and we urge everyone to act now.”

Five things to know about Northland COVID-19 case who Sparked level 3 Lockdown

1. Who is the COVID case?

An Auckland essential worker returned a weak-positive test in Whangarei on Monday during surveillance testing. It was hoped to be a false negative. But on Thursday the Ministry of Health confirmed the person had returned a positive result. 

It turns out the COVID case is a woman who appears to have travelled extensively across Northland, and according to Hipkins, she has not been cooperating with authorities. 

Hipkins couldn’t provide details about the woman, only that she was travelling with another female companion, and that authorities have been struggling to track them down since they returned to Auckland on October 6. 

“The information we have at this stage is that the person was in Northland from the afternoon of 2 October until the evening of 6 October. They are believed to have travelled around the region, including in Whangarei, Kamo, Paihia and Kawakawa, before returning to Auckland.”

All of the information the Government has about the woman and her whereabouts is from the police, not her, Hipkins said. 

He’s not ruling out releasing the woman’s identity to the public so that anyone who did come into contact with her can self-isolate and contact the police. 

Hipkins didn’t know if the woman had been vaccinated. 

2. Why was she in Northland?

Hipkins said the woman used false information in her application for a travel exemption to cross the Auckland border into Northland. 

The woman was already in Northland by the time her travel exemption document was flagged as fraudulent, Hipkins said. It was revoked on October 5 during a routine check. The exemption was under the ‘social services’ category.

Hipkins said it was “incredibly disappointing” the woman wasn’t cooperating with authorities.

The locations of interest include: BP Connect Wylies petrol station at 49 Maunu R, in Woodhill, Whangarei, from 11.20pm on October 2 to 12.20am October 3; and the Z Kensington service station, corner of Kamo Rd and Nixon St in Whangarei from 3.45pm to 4.45pm on October 4.

Testing centres operating in the Northland region are at Kaitaia Hospital; 1 Sammaree Place in Kerikeri, Dargaville Hospital; 20 Winger Crescent in Kamo; and Pohe Island in Whangarei.

3. How long will Northland be locked down?

Restrictions will remain in place for four days, until 11.59pm on Tuesday. They will be reviewed at Cabinet on Monday. Northland joins Auckland and parts of Waikato already under alert level 3. 

Hipkins said the Government felt it was necessary to lock down Northland because vaccination rates aren’t high enough there to protect the population from an outbreak. 

Of the 164,526 eligible people aged 12 years and older in Northland, there were still 60,000 people to be vaccinated, Northland District Health Board (DHB) said in an update on Wednesday, meaning only about 36 percent had got the jab. 

The DHB said 66,639 people had two doses and 37,780 had one dose.

4. Why didn’t the lockdown come sooner?

Hipkins said the Government didn’t think it was necessary to move sooner. 

“The first result was relatively indeterminate… It was quite possible that it was either a false positive or it was an historic infection,” Hipkins told reporters. 

“We do see those get thrown up from time to time, and the answer there is to find the person and to retest them, which is exactly what the team were focussed on doing. 

“But moving up alert levels every time there’s a potential false positive would create a huge amount of uncertainty because they do spring up on a relatively regular basis.”

5. What does it mean for the border?

Hipkins confirmed Northland will go into a “strict” level 3, and that the changes announced for Auckland earlier this week, such as outdoor meet-ups with other bubbles, will not be allowed. 

“This is a strict level 3 and as with Waikato, the easing steps announced for Auckland earlier this week will not apply to Northland,” Hipkins said. 

“The Auckland boundary will stay in place. A public health investigation continues to identify close contacts and any potential locations of interest.”

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