Covid 19 coronavirus: Wellington now in alert level 2 – Hipkins deems public health risk ‘low’

* The events affected by Wellington’s Covid-19 scare
* Te Papa unsure if it will have enough staff to reopen after Sydney Covid case
* Watch: ‘Damn noise’ – Covid alert interrupts MPs in the House
* Wellington locations of interest released
* More than 30 transtasman flights cancelled
* Kiwis in Sydney face uncertainty over when they can come home
* Sydney records 16 new community infections, tightens restrictions
* Three reasons the Delta variant is a bigger threat
* Full list of locations of interest at bottom of article

Wellington is now in alert level 2 after a Covid-19 positive man from Sydney visited a spate of locations in the capital.

The restrictions for the region, including Wairarapa and Kāpiti Coast, will stay in place until 11.59pm on Sunday.

Under alert level 2, gatherings are limited to 100 people, and face masks would be compulsory on public transport while people were encouraged to wear them while waiting for transport.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan that the public health risk was low – but that didn’t mean there was “no risk”.

“We know that we’ve got a couple of exposure events where we had someone with Covid-19 in an environment where Covid-19 could potentially spread reasonably quickly. That increases the risk. But it still is, overall, low risk at this point.”

Hipkins also urged people to wear masks where social distancing isn’t possible.

The man may have the more infectious Delta variant – and if so, it would mark the first time the variant had been circulating in New Zealand as part of a community outbreak.

Hipkins told du Plessis-Allan the results for the man’s partner hadn’t been returned yet.

The Ministry of Health confirmed all four close contacts of the Sydney tourist have returned initial negative tests.

Two of the people are in Palmerston North and the other two are in Tauranga.

A new pop-up Covid testing centre opened at Hataitai Park this afternoon.

Other dedicated testing stations in Wellington and their opening hours are as follows:

• Wellington central, 196-200 Taranaki Street. Will remain open until 9pm tonight, subject to demand and will reopen tomorrow at 10am.
• Porirua, 178 Bedford Street. Will be until 6pm tonight and reopen at 9am tomorrow.
• Johnsonville Medical Centre, 24 Moorefield Road. Will be open tomorrow 9.30am-4pm.
• Lower Hutt, 729 High St. Open 9am to 4pm.
• Upper Hutt, Heretaunga Christian Centre, 51 Lane Street. Open 9am to 4.30pm.

Yesterday the New Zealand and New South Wales travel bubble was paused for 72 hours after 10 new local cases were reported in Sydney.

Today the state recorded 16 new locally acquired Covid cases, with the total number linked to the Bondi Cluster sitting at 37.

Hipkins said the transtasman bubble had caused him a few “sleepless nights” but on balance he thought it had been working well.

Level 2 in Wellington

Schools and early childhood centre can stay open under alert level 2.

Hospitality outlets could open but needed to apply the three S’s – seated, separate, and having a single server.

The move to alert level 2 would prohibit crowds at tonight’s Wellington Sports Awards, the Māori All Blacks v Samoa rugby match at Sky Stadium on Saturday, as well as home matches for the Saints basketballers and Pulse netballers on Sunday, Newstalk ZB reports.

Face masks are now compulsory on public transport and people were encouraged to wear them while waiting for transport.

A spate

have been released by health authorities.

The list includes Te Papa, where up to 2500 people were estimated to have been at the time the Covid-19 case visited.

The traveller attended Te Papa’s Surrealist Art exhibition between 4pm and 5.45pm on Saturday, June 19.

Anyone who visited the exhibition at the same time has been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

A warning has been issued for everyone who was at Wellington Airport when a Covid-infected traveller arrived in the country and departed.

All people who were at the airport onJune 21 between 8.30am and 10.30am have been asked to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days and get tested if they develop.

The locations of interest list include the Wellington Airport Customs area, from 11.35pm on June 18 until 12.48am on June 19.

This is the time the tourist disembarked from a flight from Sydney which had 58 passengers on board.

People at the airport on both days at these times are asked to self-monitor for Covid symptoms for 14 days.

A Wellington school has been closed until Monday after holding their ball at Te Papa on Saturday night.

Whitby Collegiate closed today as a precaution. Eight staff had been at the museum setting up the senior school ball at the time when the Covid-infected tourist visited.

The school plans to reopen on Monday.

“Due to the fact that eight staff were at Te Papa prior to 5.45pm these staff are considered to be casual plus contacts and have gone home to be tested and self isolate until there is a negative result,” the school said.

“Staff will be tested tomorrow (day 5) and we will be carefully monitoring the situation.”

While the Ministry of Education said the school did not need to close it was “appropriate” to do so “due to the reduced staffing numbers”.

* This graphic will update as new information becomes available.

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