RESTRICTIONS STILL IN PLACE
Re-emergence of the virus in Auckland city sends the nation into a frenzy.
- On 20 August, New Zealand reported five new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the last day, as the nation battles a fresh outbreak in Auckland city. Auckland has been on Alert Level 3 ever since the abrupt resurgence of infections, with a 12-day lockdown extension until 26 August. The rest of the nation continues to be on Alert Level 2.
- Health officials have ruled out the possibility that the source of this outbreak came from frozen food items or freight. The origin of the latest outbreak remains unknown, and transmission through the environment in the cold storage was one theory being considered.
- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has postponed the country’s general election by four weeks to 17 October. The election was initially scheduled to be held on 19 September.
IMPACT ON FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council spoke out on how the re-introduction of the restrictions may create domestic supply issues.
- Critical food engineers and other essential food workers have applied for exemptions with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and have yet to be approved, stalling operations at food factories.
- Unlike the previous time New Zealand was on Alert Level 3, exemptions for essential workers are now less straightforward and the exemption application system created by the MoH is allegedly underprepared and overwhelmed.