Waikato stays in level 3: ‘Everybody is struggling to make a living’

A quiet Hamilton street on Monday as part of the Waikato region starts five days of alert level 3 following two community cases of Covid-19.

2021-10-13 11:00:17

People in parts of Waikato and King Country, along with Northland are reluctantly accepting the news alert level 3 will stay in place for another five days.

A quiet Hamilton street on Monday as part of the Waikato region starts five days of alert level 3 following two community cases of Covid-19.

Hamilton at alert level 3
Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd

Hamilton, Raglan and Waipā, Ōtorohanga and Waitomo districts are within the lockdown boundary.

Authorities say there are too many unknowns floating in both regions, and more time at alert level 3 will give authorities more confidence there’s no covid circling in the community.

There were 55 new cases in the community today, including two from a single household in Waikato that have not yet been linked to earlier cases.

Both regions had tougher restrictions imposed in the past week because of positive Covid-19 cases with links to Auckland’s Delta outbreak.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said he was informed of the two cases in Waikato on Wednesday morning.

“Health believes the risk from these cases – a couple – is low and there will be few locations of interest. However we need to assure ourselves that there is not undetected transmission before lowering alert levels. Genome sequencing is underway and will hopefully shed new light on these cases.”

Hamilton’s mayor Paula Southgate was naturally disappointed.

“I would have liked to see a move to level 2 so our business can get up and runnning but I am a pragmatist and I do accept this virus moves so easily and spreads dramatically so I understand the need to take a relatively cautious approach.”

Waikato Chamber of Commerce chief executive Don Good said it was disastrous for anyone in the hospitality, events, tourism and retail sector.

“If you are in other parts of the economy, for example dariy or similar, or tech, where you can quite comfortably work from home then things aren’t that bad.

“But I think the yo-yoying effect of dates shifting all the time really does affect everyone and that’s highly concerning.”

Karen Gartland owns Burger Bro in central Hamilton and said businesses were holding out for level 2.

“I think it is very disappointing for a lot of people because there is no business at all in Hamilton at the moment. Everybody is struggling to make a living. Lunchtimes you might get one or two people.

“This is really devastating to the hospitality industry and I really hope they make the right decision on Monday.”

Trek and Travel owner Colin Hancock was looking forward to level drop but understood the decision.

“We have got cases in the Waikato and we need to knock it out, its simple and I will be really happy when we can do that.

“We are getting customers so people are being quite positive about it.”

In Northland, there have been no reported cases since two women travelled there from Auckland and tested positive for the virus. However, authorities had been struggling with contact-tracing and a lack of places of interest, due to one of the women’s refusal to co-operate.

Minister Hipkins said getting tested for Covid-19, even if the symptoms were mild, was the best thing Northlanders could do to ensure a move to level 2.

“It’s also great to see Northlanders coming out to get vaccinated. There have been 19,691 vaccinations in the past seven days – that’s more than double the previous week.

“It’s really important to keep this going. When we see a high level of testing and vaccination, this gives us more confidence to move down the alert levels.”

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Source by [earlynews24.com]