Saturday, December 4

Covid-19 lockdown day 5: how it developed

A search has been started for people who were near an MIQ facility at a crucial time, 1 million kiwis are fully vaccinated, login is now required for most events and businesses, and a care plan is now in place free childcare for essential workers.

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Mandatory use of the Covid Tracer app is imminent; Dr Ashley Bloomfield is vaccinated, free childcare is offered to essential workers, and vaccinations are started for some Auckland residents.
Photo: RNZ / Stuff / Pool / 123RF

The number of community cases of Covid-21 increased by 21 today, 20 in Auckland and one in Wellington, bringing the total number of the current outbreak to 72.

At a press conference today, Chief Health Officer Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said there are 8677 contacts, nearly all considered “close contacts.”

Dr. Bloomfield said several new cases are related to a service at the Samoa Assembly of God church in Māngere last Sunday.

Researchers trying to find out how Covid-19 entered the community are targeting three people who used a public path near the Crowne Plaza MIQ facility in Auckland.

The most likely source of the current outbreak is considered to be a person returning from New South Wales, and Dr Bloomfield said CCTV footage of the person’s transfer to MIQ on August 12 is being examined.

Contact trackers are working with police to try to find people and see if they may have been exposed to the virus at the time they used the catwalk.

Transmission through MIQ staff to the community as a cause of the outbreak is almost completely ruled out, leaving a missing link as to how the Delta variant spread to the community.

Expansion of locations of interest

The list of locations of interest linked to the outbreak is now nearly 300, with a Kmart, McDonalds and Farro supermarket added this afternoon.

The Ministry of Health has decided to update its places of interest List more regularly, every two hours starting today.

Sites added today include Kmart supermarkets in St Lukes, Countdown and Farro in Gray Lynn, Horizon Radiology in Otara, New World Papatoetoe, McDonalds New Lynn and the cafeteria at the University of Auckland’s Grafton campus. Domestic terminals at Auckland and Wellington airports are also now on the list.

Locations of Interest Announced Sunday

Locations of Interest Announced Sunday
Photo: google maps

Mandatory scan

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Chris hipkins
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Mandatory logins are being introduced for busy venues and large gatherings to ensure the government can contact Trace quickly, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

This means that business and event managers will need to make sure people keep a log when they visit, whether that’s by scanning QR codes with the Covid-19 Tracer app or doing a manual check-in.

There will be fines of between $ 300 and $ 1000 for companies that do not keep contact tracing records in line with what the government currently has in effect under the Covid-19 Response Act.

“It’s clear that when people use the app or log in manually, rather than relying on memory, contact tracing can happen much more quickly,” Hipkins said.

The rate of people scanning has dropped dramatically since the Alert Level 4 lockdown last year.

You can find more information at the government website.

Milestone in the launch of vaccination

More than a million New Zealanders are now vaccinated and 73 percent of people over 40 are vaccinated or registered to receive the vaccine, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at the news conference.

Another 382,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in New Zealand tomorrow, he said.

More than 50,000 doses were administered yesterday, a weekend record.

Around 1,500 people were vaccinated today on the first day of New Zealand’s largest vaccination center in South Auckland.

Twenty-seven vaccinators dosed 1,577 people at the pop-up vaccination center at the Park and Ride site at Auckland Airport.

Those vaccinated included people who were invited after their bookings were disrupted last week due to the level 4 lockdown. The initial focus of the center is to vaccinate people who need to rebook, airport staff and essential workers.

Meanwhile, in the capital, Dr. Bloomfield was one of those who received the vaccine today, lining up at Pipetea Marae.

He said that after months of talking about the vaccine it was great to get it and he is encouraging others to follow suit.

Help for Parents Who Are Essential Workers

The government agreed to re-implement a plan to ensure essential workers can have access to free child care, Chris Hipkins said.

The Ministry of Education is working with 32 different providers across the country.

The scheme will be available to emergency services, border workers and others who have to go to work at Level 4.

A caregiver will travel to the home to care for the children in a home with parents who can reserve starting today.

Police ‘happy’ despite arrests and warnings

Police are still dealing with Level 4 violations across the country, but say they are generally happy with the level of compliance.

Since Level 4 went into effect at midnight Tuesday, 23 people have been charged with 27 crimes (mainly protest activities) as of 5pm yesterday.

In the same time period, formal warnings were issued to 65 people.

The police also received 4,487 notifications of non-compliance from the public: 2,550 were about an illegal meeting, 1,542 about a business, and 395 about the actions of a person.

The police have issued 174 infractions, 146 of which are due to the fact that the person did not stay at his home or place of residence.

From baking to birds

Sometimes the confinement needs a lighter side and an RNZ listener / reader impressed us with his artwork featuring Dr. Bloomfield in edible form.

A portrait cake of Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.

A portrait cake of Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.
Photo: Supplied / Devoney Scarfe

Then there was that memorable moment during today’s press conference, when Chris Hipkins made Twitter a bit nervous with his slip of the tongue as he discussed the importance of exercise.

Even the prime minister’s fiancee joined in:

To round things off, an RNZ staff member was impressed with the way this masked woman was spending her Sunday afternoon.

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