Yesterday, we announced the next steps in our COVID response as together, we continue our efforts to stamp out Delta. If you missed the update, Auckland will remain at Alert Level 4, and the rest of New Zealand will stay at Alert Level 2, until Tuesday 21 September.
Cabinet also made an in-principle decision to then move Auckland to Alert Level 3. You can watch the whole announcement here. Today, I want to ask everyone in New Zealand to do three key things to help with our response, but before I do, I want to take a moment to say thank you. I know this isn’t easy, especially for those of you in Auckland facing extra time at Alert Level 4.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard from employers who are concerned about the impact on their businesses, from people missing their loved ones, from parents worried about their child’s wellbeing, and from health workers doing the hard yards on our front line – and I want you to know that we understand just how tough this is. But I also want you to know that we wouldn’t be taking these steps unless it was necessary to stop the virus and ultimately, to save lives. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to: saving lives.
By continuing to follow the alert level rules and by keeping up those key behaviours like wearing a face covering, we’re all helping to protect the people we care about. So, whether you’re in Auckland, in Northland, on Stewart Island or somewhere in between, thank you so much for doing your bit.
Remember, if you are finding things challenging, support is available, no matter what alert level you’re at. Dealing with COVID can be hard, so make sure to check in with your friends and family, and if you’re having a tough time, please do reach out. You can find more information, including how to access free mental health support, here.
I know today’s news is tough, but it’s really important we keep these precautions in place for a bit longer so we can beat COVID once more. We can’t risk the sacrifices everyone has made, and all the hard work that’s been put in, by moving down alert levels too quickly.
Staying at these higher alert levels remains our best option to stamp out Delta and keep everyone safe. With this in mind, there are three things I’d like to ask everyone to do so together, we can ensure we stay on top of the virus.
Number one: If you have symptoms, get a test. No matter where you are in the country, if you have a stuffy nose, a headache or a sore throat, don’t wait around to see if it gets better – get tested. The earlier we find cases, the easier it is to stop the virus spreading. COVID tests are free so even if you think your symptoms are mild, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to arrange a test.
The second thing I’m asking everyone to do is to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones. It’s free, and we have more than enough for everyone. We’ve also stood up new vaccination sites, so more appointments are available earlier. If you’ve already booked in but your appointment isn’t until October, jump online and check if an earlier spot is available. This is particularly important for Aucklanders, as every extra person who gets vaccinated this week will make a difference. If you haven’t done so already, you can book online now.
And finally, number three: keep following the rules. I know this can be difficult, especially at Alert Level 4, but it’s our best chance of beating this virus. Keep scanning in wherever you go, wear a face covering whenever you leave home, and for those of you in Auckland, please treat every day of lockdown as seriously as you treated day one. It’s just as important now to get us over the line.
Cabinet will meet again next Monday to review the alert level settings, and I’ll be back in touch with another update soon. Until then, thanks again for everything you’ve done to help us get this far. It’s incredibly tough, but together we are stronger than the virus. Look after one another,
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