Another tranche of Wage Subsidy, Cashflow Loan coming
Auckland, August 14, 2020
Auckland will remain on Alert Level 3 with existing restrictions in place as public health officials continue to trace the origin of the identified cluster and ensure that there are no new cases.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the decision of the State Cabinet to extend the lockdown by another 12 days at a media conference a short while ago.
Community transmission back
“Auckland will be at Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 2 until 1159 pm on August 26, 2020. We will review the settings on August 21, 2020 based on the advise we receive from the Minister of Health and Director General of Health,” she said.
The government is attempting to get things back on track after the 102 days without community transmission came to an abrupt end on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. In less than 24 hours, Auckland was in Lockdown Level 3 and the rest of the country moved to Level 2.
Ms Ardern said that there are 29 cases connected to one cluster in Auckland, although there is likely to be another. The number of tests conducted over the past 48 hours was 30,000, she said and added that 38 people are currently in government-managed quarantine.
Impact on the economy
Ms Ardern said that she was mindful of the huge impact that the lockdown will have on Auckland’s economy but was of the view that about 80% of activities will be allowed to be conducted, as against 60% under Alert Level 4.
“Auckland Transport will continue its construction work involving more than 1200 workers and other building activities including housing will carry on as per Level 3 protocols. Takeaway food can also be undertaken as click and collect service,” Ms Ardern said.
She said that to soften the impact of the lockdown, the government will announce a new wage subsidy and relief to businesses.
Incentives to businesses
Finance Minister Grant Robertson later said that he would announce details of the scheme on Monday, August 17, 2020.
“I expect that about 300,000 jobs will be covered by the wage subsidy. I would also like to remind businesses that the extension to the second tranche of wage subsidy has been extended up to September 1, 2020. The government will support anyone who is tested,” he said.
“Together we have got rid of Covid before. We have been world leading in our Covid response. We can do all of that again. 1.4 million New Zealanders (Aucklanders) are carrying a heavy load for our team of five million right now. Here is what I ask today. If you are in Auckland, stay at home in your bubble. Wear a face covering if you can,” she said.
Ms Ardern said that the government will use the tools it has to protect jobs, businesses, incomes as well as the health of the people.
She said that there were signs that the latest cluster was found ‘early in its life.’
The earliest case to date is a worker at Americold who first become sick on July 31, 2020.
Decision on Election 2020
“It is the earliest sign of the re-emergence of Covid. The source is still not clear, but genome sequencing suggests that it is not a case of the virus being dormant or of a burning ember in our community. It appears to be new to New Zealand,” she said.
Ms Ardern said that she would decide whether the general election will go ahead as scheduled on September 19, 2020 or at a later date.
“I have 48 hours to reflect on this issue. I will do so taking into account the advise of the Minister of Health and Director General of Health. I will also consider other factors,” she said.