Thu. May 19th, 2022

On October 8, 2021, Northland moves to level 3 from 11:59 p.m. tonight after an Aucklander with Covid collected travel documents and spent several days in the region.

Northland mayors have expressed anger and frustration that two people have potentially brought the virus to the region.

Covid-19 defense minister Chris Hipkins revealed at a news conference that it confirmed the virus case, a woman, traveled from Auckland to Northland and had visited several areas.

The woman used fake information to obtain travel documents and spent several days in the region, Hipkins said. It is believed she traveled with another woman whom authorities have not yet found.

Uncertainties surrounding the case prompted the government to move Northland to level 3 from 11.59pm tonight.

Restrictions remain in place until at least 23.59 on Tuesday and will be reviewed by the Cabinet on Monday.

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai said another change in the alarm level was “unacceptable” and that it would hurt businesses and holidaymakers who have flown from other parts of New Zealand during school holidays.

Far North Mayor John Carter said Northland’s return to level 3 was “unfortunate and frustrating” and urged everyone to be vaccinated if lockdowns were to be minimized or prevented.

NorthChamber CEO Stephen Smith said a change in Northland’s alarm level was disappointing, but not a surprise.

He said hopefully the region would return to level 2 after four days.

News breaks on ‘date night’

Anamika Bosman, 35, and her husband Coert Bosman, 33, were on their way out on a date night in the Town Basin in Whangārei when news of the lockdown came.

Anamika Bosman, 35, and husband Coert Bosman, 33, were on their way out on a date night.  Photo / Karina Cooper
Anamika Bosman, 35, and husband Coert Bosman, 33, were on their way out on a date night. Photo / Karina Cooper

They had heard rumors circulating on social media that Northland could enter alarm level 3.

Covid

Anamika said they had just finished getting their entire household fully vaccinated.

“It feels good and good to be vaccinated, but it doesn’t matter much unless enough people do.”

The couple were concerned that the circumstances of the latest case would be exacerbated by Northland’s poor vaccination rates.

Whangārei residents, who enjoyed a drink at the LoCo bar in the Town Basin, perceived the actions of the two women involved as “selfish”.

One man said it was difficult enough to cope with an alarm level shift when everyone was doing the right things. “Let go of the circumstances surrounding this,” he said.

Their selfish actions endanger the vulnerable people in their lives, he said.

He also expressed concern about Northland’s low vaccination rate and how vulnerable it made the region’s communities.

Another couple who did not want to be named were frustrated that Northland was locked up again.

The woman said her daughter in Auckland had told her about Northland moving to alarm level 3.

“It’s all pretty ridiculous,” she said. “Frustrating. Covid is not disappearing, we can not beat it, so let’s just keep going.”

Interesting places, extensive tests in place

The case was in Northland from the afternoon of Friday, October 2 to the evening of October 6.

The woman is believed to have traveled around the region, including in Whangārei, Kamo, Paihia and Kawakawa, before returning to Auckland.

The first sites of interest to Northland have been added to the Department of Health website.

They are the BP Connect Wylies gas station at 49 Maunu Rd, Woodhill, Whangārei, from 23.20 on 2 October until 12.20 3 October, and Z Kensington Gas Station, corner of Kamo Rd and Nixon St, Whangārei, from 15.45- 16.45 on 4 October.

Test centers operating in the Northland region are at Kaitāia Hospital; 1 Sammaree Place in Kerikeri, Dargaville Hospital; 20 Winger Cres and Kamo; and Pohe Island in Whangārei.

“Widespread testing and wastewater testing will take place over the weekend,” Hipkins said.

“Every northerner needs to stay home, be tested as soon as possible if they have symptoms, and continue to check the Ministry of Health’s website for updated sites of interest. And of course, vaccination centers remain open at alert level 3.

“We know many people in Nordlandet who live in the countryside, but the advice is the same for everyone – get vaccinated, get tested, and follow the alarm level 3 requirements.

“As we have seen in Waikato, the virus is finding its way to rural areas and finding unvaccinated people. Distance is no barrier. It has never been more urgent to be vaccinated and we encourage everyone to act now.”

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