New Zealand is currently at alert level 4 nationwide, until at least 11:59pm Tuesday. Experts generally expect it to be lengthened – particularly in Auckland, where most of the cases are.

More cases were reported late on Friday – one each at the University of AucklandDe la Salle College and McAuley High School.

Earlier that day, 11 new community cases of COVID-19 were announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday, three of them in Wellington. The official total – not including the cases reported later on Friday – is 31, 19 confirmed as linked to the cluster. The rest are under investigation, but there are “plausible” links in most cases.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Newshub Nation we should expect more cases today and “things will get worse before they get better.”

Jacinda Ardern and Caroline McElnay will be updating the nation with more details at 1pm you can watch on Three or online.

You can recap yesterday’s events here.

What you need to know:

  • New Zealand’s nationwide alert level 4 lockdown has been extended until 11:59pm on Tuesday, August 24.
  • The Wellington cases had recently been at an Auckland location of interest
  • Two of the cases are hospitalised in a stable condition
  • Australia has placed New Zealand in its travel red zone, meaning Kiwis heading across the Tasman will now have to go into MIQ.
  • The cluster has been linked to a returnee from Sydney who arrived in Auckland on August 7. An investigation is underway to determine the missing link between the returnee and Case A
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is now also available to supermarket workers and 12 to 15-year-olds, who can now be booked in with their parents – or booked separately from September 1
  • Click here for all locations of interest.

12:10pm – There are four new locations of interest:

  • Lumino Glenfield Dental Care – Tuesday August 17 2:50pm – 6pm
  • Roscommon Superette Manurewa – Sunday August 15 1pm – 1:30pm
  • Bus 129 Don Buck Rd Massey to Auckland CBD – Friday August 13 7:50am – 8:30am
  • AUT City Campus – Wednesday August 11 9:30am – 8:30pm

NZHerald is reporting a second student at AUT has tested positive for COVID-19. It emerged earlier this week that a student there had received a positive test result.

It’s reported that an email sent to students says the case attended five classes last week on the City Campus during their infectious period.

12pm – Judith Collins is calling on the Government to let Kiwis know sooner, rather than later, whether the lockdown will extend beyond Tuesday.

But Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson says they’re waiting to see how case numbers go over the weekend before making a decision. 

11:30am – Police were called to a Countdown Store in Christchurch after a person spat on a security guard.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability said in a statement the customer, who had previously been barred from the store became abusive after he was refused entry. .

“We had a recent incident at our Church Corner store in Christchurch when a customer, who had previously been trespassed for abusive behaviour, was refused entry.

“This customer spat on the security guard and refused to leave the store. The police attended and apprehended the customer. The security guard is being tested for COVID-19 and being supported during this process.

“It is always incredibly disappointing when our team are subject to abusive behaviour, but it is particularly distressing when this involves spitting at a time when the country is experiencing a community outbreak of COVID-19.

“Generally New Zealanders are doing a great job at following the rules, which is fantastic. We have definitely seen some customers refusing masks and being difficult and sometimes abusive to our team in the last few days, and we’d continue to ask people to respect our team, treat them with kindness, and wear a mask or face covering.”

Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Saturday, August 21
Photo credit: Church Corner Countdown in Christchurch

10:52am – Collins told Newshub Nation the Government should set vaccination targets and be held accountable to them.

“We believe that the Government should be setting a target because they have just about every epidemiologist in the country… we’re not the ones in Government.

“Those are the questions you could ask the Government. What is their target? All they’ve said so far is a “big amount”, whatever that means. Give people something to work to.

“By the way, Kiwis love getting behind something like a target. We love trying to get to be there. So give us a target and we’ll work to it.”

10:40am – National Party leader Judith Collins said putting the country into lockdown was the right move by the Government but called for more certainty over how long we will be at level 4.

“It’s obviously a border failure and with such low vaccination rates I don’t think there’s any alternative – at least for the next few days.”

“Certainty is really helpful for people – not only people in business and small businesses, but also for people just trying to go about their lives. A lack of certainty, waiting for a one o’clock announcement every day, this actually adds to the anxiety – it doesn’t actually help people that much.”

10:20am – Wellington Mayor Andy Foster says Sky Stadium Carpark is being used as a testing station to help with capacity.

Foster told Newshub if Wellingtonians need a test they can head along there.

Sky Stadium is one of a number of pop-up testing sites in the city, a full list is available here.

10:00am – The Finance Minister said there was enough money in the COVID relief fund to support business throughout this lockdown, despite it being used to for non-COVID related issues such as cameras on boats and school lunches.

“Obviously those decisions were made some time ago, but yes we do. We’ve allocated money for business support for example, not all of which has been spent, we can allocate and use that now.

“We have the resources to be able to do this. The New Zealand economy has performed significantly better than had been expected.

“Resources are available to us if we need them, but we have carefully managed this and we can and we do have the money that we need to support New Zealanders to get through this.”

Robertson was confident the New Zealand economy was resilient enough to weather this latest COVID storm.

“We can survive for a significant amount of time. As we’ve shown in the first round of COVID-19, the New Zealand economy is incredibly resilient. I’d put that as a worst-case scenario, the $1.5 billion – we’ll see where it actually ends up landing.

“But regardless, the New Zealand economy has shown its ability to come back from this. Obviously the reason we put in supports like the wage subsidy scheme and the resurgence support payment is to make sure we support businesses through this.

We’ve done it before and I’m very confident we can do it again.”

09:50am – Robertson told Newshub Nation as far as he knew the source of the latest outbreak didn’t leave their room while in isolation and when they tested positive they were transferred to the Jetpark facility.

He also defended having managed isolation places in Auckland.

“We’ve had over 160,000 people through MIQ and we have a very small number where things haven’t gone the way that we wanted them to. We are investigating this thoroughly and if changes need to be made, they will be made.

“We have now redone almost all of the ventilation systems inside our managed isolation facilities as a result of what we’ve learned.”

09:40am – Robertson defended the delay in releasing the locations of interest in Wellington saying it was important to give out accurate information.

“The media gets the luxury of just reporting what they hear and not needing to necessarily check or confirm that. We have a different job – our job is to make sure that we get accurate information out to the people of New Zealand.

“There is a process to go through here – the first thing that people need to know is that when someone does get a positive test result immediately, health officials are working with them and their family and close contacts to get them to isolate, so the people who need to know, do know.

“Then after that the process then is worked on to say, where have you been? What places have you been? It takes some time to confirm that, to get the timings right, the details right.

“Then there is a process to contact the owners of businesses. I’ve been interviewed before where we’ve been criticised for announcing locations of interest before the owner of that business knows.

“There’s a bit of a balance to be struck there – if it’s too difficult to find someone, then yes, those locations of interest might be published before that person knows.”

09:33am – Grant Robertson has told Newshub Nation there will be more cases today but wouldn’t say if he knew how many there are.

“Obviously as the Prime Minister said yesterday we’re in that part of an outbreak where the number of cases will keep growing.

“We will see more cases in part actually because we’ve had such an extraordinary  response on testing.

“One thing I do know is yesterday we saw more than 40,000 tests taken around the country, and that will give us a really good insight into where we are.

“We just have to accept that things get worse before they get better.”

The Finance Minister also refused to answer if the country would be in lockdown longer than Tuesday next week – despite calls from business leaders for more certainty.

09:27am – There are over 200 places of interest in New Zealand with the majority so far in Auckland. You can check the latest list here.

09:14 – Police in Northland stopped some surfers who had decided to make the most of the swell at Shipwreck Bay in Ahipara on Thursday.

In a statement on Facebook police said a handful of surfers were out.

“Our staff were supported by some members of local Iwi in educating the surfers around the current restrictions in place.

“Those surfers were reminded of the need to avoid water-based activities at this time and they were directed to return home.”

Police also stopped a number of drivers who were on non-essential travel.

“Yesterday in Te Hana, there were a handful of vehicles that were turned around after it was found the drivers were not undertaking essential travel,” said Superintendent Tony Hill, District Commander for Northland.

“This also happened overnight, where around a dozen vehicles were turned around for the same reason after being stopped across Te Tai Tokerau.”

09:00am – Residents in West Auckland didn’t waste much time stocking up on alcohol in the hours after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country would be going into another level 4 lockdown.

The thirsty locals bought up a weekend’s worth of booze in just a few short hours, with one person reportedly spending $700 on his favourite drinks.

“On Tuesday from about three o’clock until close, it was probably more like a Friday and Saturday night combined, in terms of sales,” West Auckland Trust Services chief executive Alan Pollard told Newshub.

You can read the full story here.

Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak - Saturday, August 21

– Wellington mayor Andy Foster told Newshub there was frustration at how long it was taking to get the locations of interest in the region out to the public.

“I think the key thing is getting those places of interest out now, there is a need to know basis and we need to know.

“This is one of those situations where people need to know if they were potentially exposed to the virus. This information is taking far too long to get out. Things like a flight shouldn’t be hard to get out.

“We are being encouraged to be tested which is right but you can only know if you need to be tested when you know the locations of interest.”

Three cases were confirmed in the capital on Friday, all of whom had visited locations of interest in Auckland.

08:18am – Kiwis are turning to online mental health services to cope with the latest lockdown. Just a Thought, which offers free online courses to help people with depression and anxiety, says registrations have doubled since Wednesday.

“That would indicate there’s potentially a greater surge that’s happening out there,” clinical lead Anna Elders told Newshub. “We can definitely see some of that worry starting to take effect.”

People in their 30s and 40s appear to be particularly affected this time around, she said, based on the demographics of those signing up.

“It’s really normal that there’s going to be a range of different emotions. That’s absolutely understandable… I think having that bit of compassionate space for us to have a distress response and being okay with that, the next thing is just accepting it is a little bit tricky at the moment.”

08:09am –  A thousand people who attended a Bayleys Real Estate conference at Spark Arena last Friday are having to isolate after one of the staff at the event tested positive for COVID-19.

The attendees came from Bayley’s offices across the country.

The Project’s Jeremy Corbett was one of the speakers and he had to rush home before he was due to go on air as host of the popular show.

Sir John Key also spoke at the conference but not at the same time the infected person was there. Sir John told Newshub he was there for “all work and no play” and wasn’t affected.

The news came after attendees – including Hilary Barry – of a Mitre 10 function at Spark Arena the previous night were all told to self-isolate.

08:04am – Kiwi shoppers are being urged to do as much of their online shopping with homegrown businesses, and not to forget those who can’t open during level 4.

“Businesses across the country are now facing a perfect storm of a skills shortage, a significant increase to shipping costs… and now they’ve got COVID in the community,” Dane Ambler, executive director of Buy NZ Made, told Newshub. “Once again we’re stressing the importance of shopping local, just like we did last year.”

While businesses have been happy with the wage subsidy and other assistance from the Government, Ambler says nothing beats cashflow.

“There’s no doubt a few businesses are going to fail. They’ve had a bit of time to prepare for this, but some are just teetering on the edge of being essential services. Those are the ones that are going to be in trouble… They probably thought this time around they might be classified as an essential service and haven’t been. They’re probably struggling a wee bit to come to terms with that.”

He said just because we’re in lockdown, that doesn’t mean we can’t still support local non-essential businesses.

“You can perhaps buy a voucher online or place an order to be shipped when we do move down alert levels.”

Buy NZ Made has also set up a page on its site on where you can buy high-quality New Zealand-made facemasks.

07:55am – Another two Auckland schools have been affected by the new outbreak with pupils  at McAuley High School in Otahuhu, and De La Salle College in Mangere East confirmed as new cases.

Auckland Regional Public Health has confirmed to Newshub that the whole school is considered close contacts. Parents at the school have been informed.

07:42am – Newshub reporter Lloyd Burr has spent his time in isolation putting his rubbish to good news. The former European correspondent, who is back in NZ used his waste to construct a model of the Sky Tower.

Burr said he used “HEAPS of cardboard, one coffee cup, three toilet rolls, four plastic bottles, six coke bottle lids, seven paper pottles, eight paper bags, 21 plastic knives, 22 forks and 23 meal lids.

“There’s also some paper, tissue paper, ribbon, and yoghurt containers. All held together using three bottles of PVA glue, four rolls of double-sided tape, one roll of sellotape, one glue stick, and gravity,” he said.

07:15am – Redoubt School in Auckland has sent out a note saying year 7 students attended a ballet on Friday August 13 that has now been marked as a location of interest.

Pupils and parents are being advised to follow Ministry of Health guidelines to isolate at home and get tested.

07:00am – It is quiet in Auckland this morning as the country wakes up to its first weekend in the latest level 4 lockdown.

6:45am – Australia has reclassified New Zealand as a ‘red zone’ destination, definitively popping the short-lived trans-Tasman travel bubble.

New Zealand had already cut off Australia thanks to the spiralling NSW outbreak.

“Following the announcement of further locally acquired cases in the community and an extension of the Alert Level 4 to all of New Zealand until 11:59pm (NZST) on 24 August 2021, the Australian Government has extended the pause of green zone flights from New Zealand until 11:59pm (AEST) on 24 August 2021,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, said late on Friday.

“Until this time, all flights originating in New Zealand will be classified as Red Zone flights.”

A review will be undertaken on Monday, but until then, any passengers on flgihts from New Zealand into Australia will have to go into MIQ for 14 days.

6:10am – Two new cases at large Auckland schools were reported late last night by the NZ Herald – one each at De la Salle College and McAuley High School. Both cases were reportedly in class on August 17, during their infectious period.

And Stuff reports a man who was a close contact with Case A, the North Shore man whose positive test triggered the lockdown, claims the initial phone call he received from contact tracers was so unprofessional, he questioned whether they were genuine.