COVID-19: Live updates - Wednesday 19 August 2020

live 20/08/2020

Live updates from New Zealand's seventh day of lockdown (Level 3 for Auckland, Level 2 for the rest of the country) courtesy of Newshub.

Tuesday marks a week since Kiwis learnt of new cases of community transmission in Auckland.

Since Wednesday, the Super City has been under alert level 3 restrictions, while the rest of the country sits at alert level 2. Those restrictions are likely to remain in place until midnight on August 26.

Sixty-nine active cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the community.

What you need to know

  • Six new cases were announced on Wednesday - five in the community and one in managed isolation.
  • The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 96
  • There are 125 people from the community who have been moved to quarantine facilities
  • Five people are receiving hospital-level care
  • The total number of confirmed cases in New Zealand is now 1299
  • A maintenance worker at the Rydges in Auckland is among those who has tested positive. He is not linked to the main cluster.
  • Two Auckland Countdown supermarkets have closed after two different people visited the stores. The CBD Quay St store and the St Lukes store in the Westfield St Lukes mall are shut.
  • Auckland is under alert level 3, while the rest of the country is at alert level 2.

Refresh the page for the latest updates.

4:15pm - The High Court has ruled the first nine days of New Zealand's alert level 4 lockdown in March were technically unlawful.

Wellington lawyer Andrew Borrowdale challenged the Government last month over three separate orders in regards to the legality of plunging the country into lockdown.

Borrowdale claimed New Zealand was put into lockdown unlawfully and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield went past his powers.

The High Court upheld one of Borrowdale's challenges - saying between March 26 and April 3, the Government's demand for Kiwis to stay home was justified and necessary but unlawful.

"While there is no question that the requirement was a necessary, reasonable and proportionate response to the COVID-19 crisis at that time, the requirement was not prescribed by law and was therefore contrary to s5 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act," a High Court decision released on Wednesday says.

Read the full story here.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield
Dr Ashley Bloomfield - Credit Getty Images

4pm - The Hawke's Bay DHB lab says it is coping well with processing the region's COVID-19 swabs.

Head of microbiology Neil Campbell says the hospital lab has processed nearly 3000 tests over the past week that were sent in from community testing centres. No one yet has returned a positive result.

He says the lab's ability to process swabs in the region is a "game changer", since previously they had to be sent to Christchurch. Its new machine can process 24 different patients at a time for different diseases, including COVID-19, and has the capability to run 24 hours a day.

"We processed 600 swabs from the community yesterday, which was a great effort by the team. We were able to get results returned to patients within 24-48 hours. This machine is operating about 12 hours a day processing tests currently, but we can ramp that up if it's needed," Campbell says.

3:40pm - The Auckland border restrictions are stopping some farmers from accessing stock or purchasing essential supplies.

Federated Farmers Auckland president Alan Cole says it is frustrating for farmers with properties in both Auckland and Waikato.

"You need to be able to get to your stock basically every day or every second day to feed out, check them. Some of the guys are calving at the moment and they've got properties on either side of the boundary," he told RNZ.

Some Federated Farmers members have applied for travel exemptions to cross the border, but they're still waiting on the outcomes, Cole says.

Read the full story here.

3:25pm - Union E tū says it welcomes the Prime Minister's decision for the Government to employ security guards at managed isolation and quarantine facilities and that these workers will be paid at least the living wage.

Jacinda Ardern announced about 500 extra NZDF personnel will be deployed to isolation facilities, taking the total to 1200. She says this will help reduce reliance on private security guards, particularly at high-risk areas. MBIE will directly employ and train private guards.

Ardern says strengthened security is an important step.

E tū assistant national secretary Annie Newman says the announcement shows the Government is "finally honouring" its living wage promise it campaigned on in 2017.

"Throughout the crisis, we've been constantly reminded just how important and often difficult these jobs are. Higher wages lead to healthier and more vibrant communities. It makes perfect sense for the living wage to be an important factor in the COVID-19 response and rebuild," Newman says.

2:55pm - National's health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti is calling for Parliament's Health Select Committee to return to allow for a "principled and constructive assessment" of New Zealand's response to the second wave of the virus.

Parliament has reconvened after its dissolution was postponed following Auckland's community outbreak of the virus.

"I have sent a letter to Chair of the Committee Louisa Wall, asking for the committee to re-convene and review the COVID-19 response, and requesting that Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield appears before the committee for questioning," Dr Reti says.

"Parliament has not been dissolved so select committees are still able to be carried out. Members who cannot return physically would be able to join via Zoom."

He adds it's "vitally important" Parliament's capabilities are used to make the response "stronger".

2:40pm - Air New Zealand has provided clarity on its safety measures for its air crew that help curb the spread of the virus.

CEO Greg Foran says it has worked with the Ministry of Health to put these measures in place. It says the Ministry has deemed different international locations as "low", "medium" or "high" risk, and these categories dictate the level of precaution that must be taken by Air New Zealand air staff.

Foran says some of the guidelines are as follows.

On all flights:

  • Crew wear masks and gloves when interacting with passengers
  • Crew wear full PPE when dealing with unwell passengers.

For medium-risk layovers, including Narita, Hong Kong, Shanghai:

  • Air crew wear masks and gloves when moving through the terminal
  • Air crew use private crew transport to hotels, not mixing with other passengers
  • Air crew isolate in hotels, limiting trips outside to one hour per 24-hour period
  • Air crew are not allowed to use the hotel gym or pool while on layover
  • Air crew are not allowed to meet with other crew while on layover.

For high-risk layovers - San Francisco and Los Angeles:

  • Air crew wear masks and gloves when moving through the terminal
  • Air crew use private crew transport to hotels, not mixing with other passengers
  • Air crew isolate in hotels for duration of layover
  • Air crew are not allowed to use the hotel gym or pool while on layover
  • Air crew are not allowed to meet with other crew while on layover
  • All food must be delivered to rooms
  • On return home, air crew must isolate for 48 hours, complete a COVID-19 test, then isolate until test results are known.

Foran adds this risk matrix is regularly reviewed by the Ministry of Health, and he is "completely supportive" of any improvements the Government makes to testing regimes.

2:15pm - Two Auckland Countdowns have closed after people who tested positive for the virus visited the stores.

Countdown health and safety general manager Kiri Hannifin says it was contacted by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service about visits made by two separate people to the Quay St Store and the St Lukes store in the Westfield St Lukes mall who later tested positive.

"We are now going through our own processes, including closing both stores immediately to deep clean them. We have not been asked to close or clean the stores. This is something we do as an extra precaution," Hannifin says.

"We continue to have rigorous cleaning and hygiene practices in place in all of our stores."

2:10pm - National leader Judith Collins has responded to Jacinda Ardern appointing a small team to support the testing strategy at the border.

Heather Simpson will co-chair this team along with Sir Brian Roche. The rest of the team will be announced on Friday. 

Collins says Ardern "might as well just make" Simpson and Roche Cabinet ministers because the Government "seems to have lost all control".

"I think it's pretty obvious that the Government has not set the right parameters for health around the COVID-19 resurgence. It's also really clear that when the Government put a Cabinet minute out on the 22nd of July requiring mandatory testing of frontline border staff, that should have been done months before," Collins says.

"They took 104 days to do that and there was only nine days from that date to the testing that showed the new cases in New Zealand, so it was clear that the Cabinet dropped the ball. There's not point just blaming health. The fact is the wrong people were put in charge of this."

Ardern says the group's strategy will cut across multiple Government agencies, the Prime Minister says.

1:55pm Watch live here as Opposition leader Judith Collins grills Jacinda Ardern in Parliament over the Government's outbreak response.

1:35pm - Regarding the Rydges worker, Dr Bloomfield says the variance of the COVID-19 strain shows he caught the illness from the USA returnee. It could have been direct infection or via an intermediary. 

On the NZDF personnel, Ardern says that decision was made a while ago. There were issues with the practices of some guards, she says. The MBIE-employed guards may not all be the same people.

Ardern says all publishers and platforms have a role to playing in fighting rumours and misinformation. She says the Government is trying to be transparent and consistent to counter speculation.

1:30pm - The new health team will help make sure the testing strategy is being implemented as expected, Ardern says. It will help co-ordinate across agencies.

"It's a confirmation that this is a very logistically complex operation."

1:20pm - The Prime Minister is now speaking. She says New Zealand's resurgence plan is working as intended and Wednesday's results are encouraging. There are no new cases outside of Auckland. We also aren't seeing doubling of cases each day.

However, she says there are things to improve on. She says the testing strategy has not been executed with the scale and speed desired.

Ardern is appointing a small team to support Health stand up the testing strategy at the border. Heather Simpson will co-chair this team along with Sir Brian Roche. The rest of the team will be announced on Friday. 

This strategy will cut across multiple Government agencies, the Prime Minister says. Sir Brian is currently working in Auckland.

Ardern says about 500 extra NZDF personnel will be deployed to isolation facilities, taking the total to 1200. They will be rolled out over the next six weeks.

The boost will see the number at each facility increase to 19 per facility. It will see 80 extra stationed at the maritime border. This will help reduce reliance on private security guards, particularly at high-risk areas. MBIE will directly employ and train private guards, to raise accountability. Strengthened security is an important step, Ardern says.

The Auckland cluster demonstrates how tricky COVID-19 is, she says. While the events of the last week are a set-back to some, changes help improve the system. But she says no system is foolproof.

"The extraordinary agility that is the core of our response has kept us at the leading edge of global responses to this global pandemic," she says.

But we must do all we can to limit risk, which is why these new actions are needed, Ardern says.

1:10pm - The Prime Minister and Director-General of Health have arrived.

Dr Bloomfied is giving the case update. He says there are six new cases, five of which are in the community and are linked to the outbreak. The other case is an imported case. This woman has been staying in a managed isolation facility in Rotorua.

There are now 125 people from the community who have been moved to quarantine facilities. Five people are receiving hospital-level care. 

The six new cases bring our total to 1299.

On Tuesday, labs processed 23,038 tests. That takes the total to 639,415. Dr Bloomfield reminds Kiwis to only present for testing if you are symptomatic or may have come into contact with a positive case.

Since August 11, 1983 close contacts have been identified and 1861 have been traced. They will be isolating and have been tested or are awaiting testing.

The COVID Tracer app has been downloaded 1,556,138 times. 

1pm - The Prime Minister is expected to be late. 

12:55pm - The Prime Minister and Director-General of Health will speak soon. You can watch that above or on Three. We will also jot the main points down here as they come.

12:45pm - As Kiwis are encouraged to wear face masks or coverings, there has been increased interest in sewing machines, according to PriceSpy.

New data shows "clicks for sewing machines skyrocketing", up 68 percent between July 7 and August 15 this year compared to the same period in 2019. There was a large spike last Wednesday.

"Whilst breadmaking was a big hit in lockdown 1.0, our latest insights suggest sewing may be the latest craze this time around, with popularity for sewing machines clearly on the rise," says Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, the New Zealand manager for PriceSpy.

"Even though it’s not compulsory, a big factor that may be influencing consumers to take up sewing is the new guideline issued by The Ministry of Health, whereby it recommends the use of facemasks and encourages Kiwis to either buy or make-their-own."

12:35pm - Health Minister Chris Hipkins has opened up about the "frustration" of trying to get to the bottom of the latest COVID-19 outbreak, likening it to a crime scene investigation (CSI). 

Hipkins, who holds three big ministerial portfolios - Health, Education and State Services - was asked on More FM Wairarapa on Wednesday morning how he is coping with being "so ridiculously busy" at the moment. 

"We're trying to solve a bit of a puzzle here and this latest COVID-19 outbreak is hugely puzzling, so it's quite frustrating because every time you feel like you might've nailed it you get something new, and that means that you're almost back to square one again," Hipkins said. 

Read more on that here.

12:20pm - Stuff reports a person who visited Hobbiton in Waikato and took part in a tour at noon on August 7 has tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to their home country.

Staff have been informed to watch for symptoms, but the risk is very low.

12:15pm - NZPost is warning Aucklanders of a delay to deliveries. It comes after a worker at their Auckland facility tested positive for COVID-19.

Please expect delivery delays of up to one day for items delivered in Auckland due to increased safety measures in our Auckland Operations Centre. 

12:10pm - Question Time is back at 2pm. Tuesday saw a range of questions asked about COVID-19 - particularly regarding border worker testing - and Wednesday looks to be no different.

Among the questions are: 

  • David Seymour to the Prime Minister: Was her statement yesterday that “I have had reported reluctance amongst staff around asymptomatic testing” based on a weekly report to Cabinet from the Minister of Health; if not, what did she base that statement on?
  • Judith Collins to the Prime Minister: Is she confident her Government moved at an appropriate pace to put in appropriate measures to manage the risk of COVID-19 re-emerging in the community?
  • Greg O'Connor to the Minister of Finance: What recent reports has he seen on the New Zealand economy in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Dr Shane Reti to the Minister of Health: Did he receive reports on coronavirus testing of staff at Jet Park Hotel, Auckland; if so, from what date?

The full list can be found here.

12pm - The new alert level 3 lockdown is having a significant impact on businesses throughout Auckland, as well as those outside the city's boundaries. 

The hospitality industry, in particular, has been hit hard, with many restaurants fearing they might have to close in the next month.

Read more on that here.

11:40am - Shocked apartment-dwelling Aucklanders have learnt they are sharing a building with international flight crews.

One resident of the Ramada Manukau filmed a confrontation with an air host on Monday as Singapore airlines crew checked in to the hotel.

"This is a mixed apartment, it's not just a hotel - you're putting everyone at risk in here," the man filming can be heard saying. 

More on that here.

11:25am - We are expecting to hear from the Prime Minister and Dr Ashley Bloomfield at 1pm. That will be streamed on Newshub.co.nz and on Three.

11:15am - Cabinet set an "expectation" on July 22 that all managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) staff be tested for COVID-19, but it was not compulsory until after the latest outbreak, a timeline given by the Prime Minister shows.

The Government has come under fire since Newshub revealed last week that one week before the outbreak in Auckland, more than 60 percent of all border and hotel isolation workers in the city had never been tested. 

That was despite the Government announcing a new testing strategy on June 23 which outlined the prioritisation of testing of border workers and airline staff - those most likely to have been exposed to the coronavirus. 

Find a timeline of the testing policy here.

11am - A recently-returned New Zealander has hit back at minister Megan Woods for taking a crack at his credibility after he claimed different groups had been mixing in managed isolation. 

Returnee Michael Lunjevich alleges that on his first day at an unnamed managed isolation facility, he came into contact with guests nearing the end of their 14-day stay.

He claims that groups at different stages of their mandatory isolation period were not separated in the facility, meaning new arrivals - who may not be COVID-free - were able to come into the vicinity of those about to be released into the community. 

On The AM Show on Wednesday, Woods dismissed allegations of poor management, implying that if any "mixing and mingling" of returnees had occurred, it was because Lunjevich had breached the rules.

"He shouldn't be mixing with anybody. That's the clear expectation of anyone in isolation," she said. "If someone is choosing to break the rules and mix and mingle with anyone outside of their bubble, they're letting all of us down.

Now Lunjevich has responded.

Read more on that here.

10:50am - There are 12 days to go until nominations close for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year awards. With COVID-19 dominating 2020, the likes of Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and microbiologist Siouxsie Wilies have received a number of nominations.

Among the 1330 Kiwis nominated across several categories is Newshub journalist Patrick Gower, mental health advocate Bryce Casey and Mittens the Wellington celebrity cat.

Politicians are among those nominated, but they can only be considered for awards for work outside of their role or duties as a public servant. Nominated politicians include Ardern, David Seymour and Chloe Swarbrick.

10:35am - Master Electricians has called off this year's Electrical Apprentice of the Year challenge due to the COVID-19 situation and "uncertainty about how long the necessary public health restrictions may last".

It was to start in Dunedin on September 29 - the first of 12 regional rounds - before the finals in Wellington on November 18-20. 

"Already 170 apprentices had signed on for the Challenge, and more were expected to join them. It’s the first time the Challenge has been cancelled since its launch in 2001," a statement said.

"The Challenge is a significant event for many in the electricity sector. As well as a great opportunity for apprentices to demonstrate their technical skills, it is a valuable showcase of the best up-and-coming talent, and a potential source of inspiration for young people investigating careers they might embark on."

10:20am - Hipkins has ruled out moving Auckland to alert level 4, the strictest of the Government's alert levels.

He told RNZ that's because there's no known spread at the Rydges Hotel and, while there was spread from the south Auckland cluster, the Government was trying to get ahead of it.

Of New Zealand's 90 active cases, 69 relate to the cluster, while a single case is a worker at Rydges Hotel, a managed isolation facility. The remaining 20 are all in isolation facilities.

10:10am - Health Minister Chris Hipkins told MoreFM Wairarapa on Wednesday morning "this latest COVID-19 outbreak is hugely puzzling".

"It's quite frustrating because every time you feel like you might have nailed it, you get something new, and that means you are sort of almost back to square one again."

He said it's still not known how the latest outbreak occured.

"It's the thing that you keeps you lying awake in bed at night. We have all become like CSI, where we are trying to solve a problem."

9:55am - The NZTA has released another warning for motorists to be aware of police checkpoints north and south of Auckland.

9:50am - Auckland-based players planning to take part in the North-South rugby match in Wellington might not be able to get to the capital.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins says: "It’s unlikely I would grant exemptions for the players to leave Auckland. We are being very limited in the exemptions we are giving, for example, MPs from Auckland are not travelling to Wellington for parliament sitting. We are saying to people, please do your bit and stay in Auckland."

Read more here.

9:35am - A test would not have prevented a Rydges Hotel maintenance worker from contracting COVID-19 - a fact New Zealanders need to "reflect on", according to Megan Woods.

It was revealed on Tuesday that a staff member at the Auckland managed isolation facility had tested positive for the virus, yet was not linked to the city's existing cluster.

Genome sequencing discovered the strain contracted by the worker was most closely linked to samples collected from a US traveller, who had stayed at the Rydges after arriving in July.

However, it has yet to be established how the maintenance worker was exposed to the virus, as initial investigations show he had no face-to-face contact with the infected traveller.

Read more here.

9:15am - Judith Collins has come out swinging against the Government blaming a "systemic failure" for the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Auckland. 

In an interview with The AM Show the National leader said it was "pretty obvious" COVID had "come in from somewhere".

"We had all been told all the workers facing the border were being tested - turns out that wasn't true and now eight weeks later they're scrambling to get everyone tested," she said.

Read more on that here.

9am - The North Shore, Rodney, and West Auckland police are thanking the local community for their patience while checkpoints are operating at the city's borders.

"Police has noticed an increased effort from members of the public to have documentation ready to show Police at the checkpoints. Both North and South checkpoints have been flowing well with minimal wait times."

8:45am - Health Minister Chris Hipkins has concerns about protocols for airline crews arriving into New Zealand.

He told NZME that he is meeting with Air New Zealand on Wednesday to "make sure that that's as tight as a drum".

"I'm not 100 per cent convinced that it is at the moment. I'm going to be absolutely boring into that. There's no time for rest here. I've been doing this job for seven weeks. Every single day I've woken up thinking about COVID-19."

According to the Ministry of Health, "air crew living in New Zealand and returning from high-risk layovers should self-isolate, have a COVID-19 test on day two after their arrival in New Zealand and continue to self-isolate until the results of that test have been returned".

That self-isolation "means staying home and taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like you would with the seasonal flu virus".

Crew must also complete a COVID-19 crew health card after arriving into the country.

Full information about the expectations on airline crew can be found here.

8:35am - Circling back to an earlier update about an Auckland Pakn'Save visited by an individual who later tested positive.

At the 1pm briefing on Tuesday, the Director-General of Health said it was visited multiple times between July 31 and August 8. However, the Glen Innes supermarket said the person only visited once on August 12.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) - which has been working with the supermarket and keeping it updated - has just sent through a statement.

It says it felt it was "important to let customers know that [the Tuesday 1pm] information has since been confirmed as incorrect".

ARPHS has confirmed that the individual shopped at the Pakn'Save on August 12 "for approximately half an hour - the customer had no symptoms at the time, so the risk to staff and other customers is considered low".

"Updated advice from ARPHS to customers is that if you were in the store at any time on Wednesday 12th August, please be vigilant for COVID-19 symptoms, and get tested if you develop any of the following symptoms; sore throat, new or worsening cough, fever, temporary loss of smell, difficulty breathing.

"Anyone with concerns should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 – this is a 24/7, free service with interpreters available if required.

"ARPHS have confirmed that risk to employees and customers of Pakn'Save Glen Innes is considered low – but anyone experiencing symptoms should call Healthline for further advice.

"The health and safety of our team and customers is our top priority, and the team at PAK’nSAVE Glen Innes have been in contact with ARPHS to ensure all best practice protocols are being followed.

"Heightened health and safety, and cleaning measures are in place at the store and include; physical distancing measures, Perspex screens, increased sanitisation and cleaning protocols, managing customer numbers in store, and displaying the NZ COVID Tracer QR Code for customers to scan in the event contract tracing is necessary."

8:20am - The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) earlier warned motorists of delays near the Bombay Hills due to the police checkpoints. 

8:10am - The Ministry of Pacific Peoples is encouraging people to follow the recommended health guidelines - like to wear a face covering and perform physical distancing.

7:55am - On Tuesday evening, the Cook Islands' Cabinet extended the nation's temporary air border closure. It will now last until at least 11:59pm on August 25.

"Until this time two essential workers will be allowed to travel on the flight arriving Friday 21 August flight (CKT). These are two health workers who escorted patients to Auckland last Friday and have been under managed isolation since arrival," a statement said.

"Additionally, the Secretary of Te Marae Ora will consider giving approval to any inbound passengers who will complete 14 days of New Zealand managed isolation on Saturday 22 August (NZT).

"All other persons will be denied entry into the Cook Islands."

The closure came into effect after New Zealand reported new cases of COVID-19 in the community last week.

7:35am - PPTA president Jack Boyle says schools must exercise caution when deciding whether to allow senior students back to school ahead of assessments.

If Auckland schools can prove to the Ministry of Education that they can implement strict health and safety protocols, they may be granted an exemption to have Year 12 and 13 students back to prepare for assessments.

But Boyle says principals were "blindsided" by this announcement on Monday and would have liked more consultation.

Asked if he personally would allow students back, Boyle says if he could make the school safe, had enough staffing, and if the children had genuine need, he would might consider it. But he would need time to implement measures.

7:25am - Infectious diseases expert David Murdoch tells The AM Show the investigation into how the Rydges Hotel worker contracted the virus will look at every avenue - including human-to-human transmission and environmental transmission.

Murdoch says the virus can be contracted from a surface. How much of a risk that avenue of transmission may be is still unclear, he says.

"It is actually quite hard to know. We think it is potentially an issue and, obviously, that is part of our public health measures, but being able to quantify it and say 'this is the exact risk', that's quite hard to do. But we are certainly working on the assumption that it is a potential risk."

How long the virus may remain on surfaces and if it can infect multiple people "will depend on the amount that is in the droplets or on your hands, how much virus is there". The virus does like colder temperatures, lower humidity and smooth surfaces, Murdoch says.

The virus then still needs to get into a person's eyes or mouth. That shows how important hand-washing is, he says.

7:15am - The minister in charge of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Megan Woods, is now speaking to The AM Show about the new Rydges Hotel worker case.

Woods says it's still unclear how the worker got infected. Officials are retesting other Rydges Hotel staff and looking at genomic sequencing. This case isn't linked to the south Auckland cluster, but the genomic sequencing closely resembles a July returnee from the USA. The worker didn't have physical contact with this person, however.

The case doesn't have a large number of contacts. All work and family close contacts have been tested and have come back negative.

She has yet to be briefed on any new cases that will be revealed on Wednesday. There wasn't anything significant in her Tuesday night briefing.

In regard to the lack of asymptomatic border worker testing, Woods says testing wasn't previously mandatory. She says she had been having weekly meetings with health about the testing scheme.

"There was testing happening. It wasn't like there was zero tests carried out."

But she says people taking up testing wasn't at the rate Cabinet wanted.

Some workers may have been tested at community testing centres or at their GPs.

Woods says the first line of defence is PPE and physical distancing to ensure people don't contract COVID-19. 

A test wouldn't have stopped the Rydges managed isolation worker contracting the virus, Woods says.

She says New Zealand has a "world-class system". It's her expectation that people from different bubbles don't mingle together in facilities.

7am - The leaders of Labour and National - Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins - both did a Facebook Live on Tuesday night. Watch them below.

6:50am - While New Zealand has seen 70 new community cases over the last week, that still pales in comparison to what other countries are facing. 

In total, there have been 22.1 million cases of COVID-19 recorded globally, while nearly 780,000 people have died from the illness.

Find the latest on the global situation here.

6:30am - Judith Collins tells The AM Show says she will "of course" accept the election result on October 17.

The National leader is critical of the fact Kiwis were told all frontline border workers were being tested when only some were, as has been revealed over the last week. The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that not all asymptomatic workers were being tested, which Cabinet believed was happening.

She says if agencies were doing what they said they were doing, she wouldn't be so worried.

"We actually would test... if we say we are going to do it, we will do it."

New Zealand can't yo-yo in and out of lockdowns, Collins says. That would be "incredibly harmful" to everyone.

"What you do is you actually have your systems in place so that it doesn't come in pass the border, and where it does come in some way because of any human failure - which, of course, this is isn't, what we have at the moment is systemic failure - that it can be found very quickly."

But the leader says there may still be lockdowns under National.

"We are not going to do this yo-yoing in and out. If it was needed, of course, but it shouldn't be needed if it is managed properly". 

She promises a border policy will be announced later this week.

6:20am - QR codes must be prominently shown at businesses from midday on Wednesday. Hospitality NZ's Julie White says members are ready to go.

She says customers should be patient when at businesses and use the COVID Tracer app. It will be vital in contacting people if another outbreak occurs.

"We need the doors open. That's why we need everyone to use it," she says.

6:10am - Confidence is brimming in one genome sequencing expert about New Zealand's ongoing response to COVID-19.

Dr Jemma Geoghegan from the University of Otago says although one of New Zealand's COVID-19 cases is not linked to the Auckland cluster, there's no need to panic.

"We have signs that the genome matches one from a hotel worker. So there is a link there that's linked to a returning traveller," she told Newshub. 

Read more here.

6am - It's time for The AM Show, streaming on Newshub.co.nz and on Three. Wednesday's guests include National's Judith Collins, Minister Megan Woods and infectious disease expert David Murdoch.

5:50am - If you missed it late on Tuesdsay, a second worker at the NZ Post Auckland Operations Centre has tested positive for COVID-19.

"Our team member was last at work on Friday, and wasn't suffering from any symptoms at the time. We are immediately contacting those who are considered close contacts at work," says NZ Post chief operating officer Mark Stewart.

"We are working with the Ministry of Health on the control measures we have in place as a precaution to protect our people's safety and wellbeing on site."

Read more here.

5:40am - Chinese state-run media on Tuesday reported on New Zealand's election delay. That postponement came in light of the new COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland.

"The postponement sparked ridicule in China. A week ago, New Zealand, together with other members of the Five Eyes alliance, criticised the HKSAR government's decision for the one-year delay in the Legislative Council election, which was made for fear of COVID-19, as 'delaying elections to undermine the democratic process'," the Global Times said.

The foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom as well as the United States Secretary of State last week released a joint statement on the "erosion of rights in Hong Kong".

The five figures said they were "gravely concerned by the Hong Kong government’s unjust disqualification of candidates and disproportionate postponement of Legislative Council elections".

It also came after the imposition of a new security law on Hong Kong which has been widely condemned.

However, China said the delay to Hong Kong's local election was due to COVID-19 and pointed to examples of countries delaying elections for that reason.

Unlike in Hong Kong, New Zealand's Opposition parties support the delay. 

Campaigners in Hong Kong had been hoping to secure a majority in the Legislative Council in the wake of widespread protests and anger towards Beijing.  After their disqualification, the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was "clear they have been disqualified because of their political views".

5:30am - A Glen Innes, Auckland Pak'nSave says information provided at Tuesday's 1pm briefing by the Director-General of Health was incorrect. 

It was said that a person who later tested positive visited the store several times between July 31 and August 8, sometimes for up to an hour.

However, the supermarket, on its Facebook page, says this "was not correct". It said updated information from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) says the "customer visited the store for approx. half an hour on Wednesday 12th August - the customer was asymptomatic at the time, so risk to customers and staff is considered low".

"Advice to customers is that if you were in store at any time on Wednesday 12th August, please be vigilant for COVID-19 symptoms."

The Ministry of Health's media release on its website has been updated to reflect the new information.