Covid-19 updates for Wednesday 17 February

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Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says there are two new cases in the community – both are students at Papatoetoe High School.

The news comes as Cabinet are deciding whether to lift Auckland out of the level 3 lockdown and the rest of the country out of level 2.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to make the announcement at 4.30pm.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told the Health Select Committee this afternoon that one of the new Covid-19 cases was a classmate of the original case.

He said the case was being treated as a close contact and was isolating, as were their family members.

“Her brother, who also tested positive, is categorised as a casual-plus contact because he’s student at the school.

“But in this case it’s most likely that the chain of transmission is from our original case to her classmate, who’s then passed it on to her brother.”

Dr Bloomfield said they’ll be looking very carefully at whether there were any other positive tests coming out of the high school.

“So far two thirds of them, over a 1000, have been negative which is encouraging,” he said.

For the latest updates:

This is an official government Covid-19 announcement:

Auckland is now at alert level 3, the rest of the country is now at alert level 2. Cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the Auckland community. Restrictions will remain until Wednesday at midnight. A further announcement on next steps will be made at 4.30pm this afternoon. Travelling in or out of Auckland is restricted. Stay home, stop the spread. For more information on the alert levels go to covid19.govt.nz

RNZ is the statutory Lifeline Utility responsible for radio broadcasting under the Emergency Management Act 2002 and it has a memorandum of understanding with Government which has been activated to help deal with potential health issues related to the pandemic. RNZ’s Lifeline Utility obligations do not affect our editorial independence as a public media organisation or the rigour of our news gathering and reporting operations.

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