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America's Cup: Auckland into Alert Level 3 - America's Cup start expected to be postponed

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com 27 Feb 08:36 GMT 27 February 2021
Prada Cup Media Centre was closed for three days due to a COVID lockdown in Auckland - February 14, 2021 - America's Cup 36 © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

The New Zealand Government has just announced a return to Alert Level 3 for seven days following the discovery of a further case of COVID-19 by Community Transmission.

The positive test was announced at 7.20pm local time Saturday and the Alert Level 3 will take effect from 06.00am tomorrow, February 28. The decision was taken following an Emergency Cabinet Meeting which considered the circumstances of the case and advice of the Director General of Health. The Lockdown was not unexpected following a pattern of isolation order violations by several people in the South Auckland region.

The measure is required to enable contact tracing to take place and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by community transmission.

The infected person had returned a negative test on three separate occasions, before the fourth test was positive today.

All group gatherings are prohibited except for groups of 10 at weddings and funerals. Previously America's Cup crews have been able to train in Alert Level 3, however racing is not permitted and other sporting events, such as the Round The Bays fun run have been announced as being cancelled.

Businesses may remain operative provided there is no public contact.

For the America's Cup the earliest Auckland will come out of the Lockdown is Sunday, March 7, however that is expected to be a return to Alert Level 2, and best case is that the start of the America's Cup will be delayed by a day. An adverse long range weather forecast with 25kt winds was expected to cause racing to be postponed anyway on Saturday.

Racing in the Cup should be possible under Alert Level 2, but the process needs to be authorised by the permitted event organiser America's Cup Event Ltd.

The NZ Prime Minister addressed the nation on the matter, at 9.30pm Saturday breaking into regular TV programming. The rest of New Zealand has been put in Alert Level 2, also for seven days. If this Lockdown follow the pattern of the last, prior to the start of the Prada Cup Finals, it will be dropped back a level after the prescribed period, and then back to Level 1 if the COVID19 situation has stabilised.

ETNZ have advised that there will be no further announcement until tomorrow, Sunday at the earliest. In the meantime the following statement has been posted on americascup.com

Feb 27th, 21:30 - Covid 19 Update

Due to the latest COVID 19 level 3 lockdown announced this evening by the Government, America’s Cup Event Ltd is reviewing the situation and will be working with the Authorities and relevant agencies over the next few days to work through the implications. Further updates to come.

AUCKLAND COVID-19 ALERT LEVEL 3:

The America's Cup Village activations are closed due to Covid-19 level 3 restrictions.

Further updates will be provided as soon as advice is provided by the permitted organiser America's Cup Event Ltd.

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