Saturday, December 4

Covid-19 lockdown day 7: how it unfolded

Another 41 cases were announced today, while it was revealed that there are six subgroups, the largest connected to a church. This is what happened on the seventh day of lockdown.

The Covid-19 outbreak that has shuttered businesses, closed schools and kept people indoors has yet to reach its peak, but it is only a matter of days, authorities say. This is what happened on the seventh day of the last New Zealand blockade.

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Photo: RNZ / 123RF / POOL

41 new community cases were reported today, the highest daily total since the outbreak began early last week.

Chief Health Officer Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today numbers are expected to rise over the next two to three days, reaching the peak of the outbreak, before declining.

With the Delta variant, all household members of a case will generally become infected, unlike previous strains in which only some or even no members of the same household would contract the virus, Ardern said. Morning report.

“That affects their numbers, especially if it is large households.

“We said we didn’t think we would peak for eight or ten days [into lockdown]. We haven’t arrived yet. “

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the country on the second day of the shutdown.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the country on the second day of the shutdown.
Photo: Pool / Getty

Of the total 148 community cases, 89 have been linked epidemiologically, and officials say the “vast majority” of the rest are close contacts or in places of interest.

More than 15,000 people are considered contacts, about 10 times more than at this stage of last year’s outbreak. That is intentional and a direct result of the more contagious Delta variant.

Bloomfield said that for people who are close contacts, everyone in the house should stay home until they receive a negative test on day five. “This means staying home, period.”

He said he had spoken to his counterpart in Australia, who told him that dealing with Delta was like handling “a whole new virus”, and that was consistent with our experience in New Zealand.

Six subgroups

There are six subgroups, the details of which have been provided for the two largest.

The largest has 58 cases and is associated with the Assembly Of God Church in Māngere, while the second largest is connected to case A and is called the Birkdale Social Network group, with 23 cases.

A colleague in Case A became infected, and subsequently his roommates and friends also contracted the virus.

The church group is connected to an event on Sunday, August 15, where 27 church groups attended an “assembly of assemblies,” Bloomfield said.

At least six of Wellington’s 11 cases are connected to this group.

The Auckland Regional Public Health leader for the church group, said Colin Tukuitonga Morning report hopes that cases will continue to increase and that efforts are being made to better isolate people at risk.

Self-isolation was a particularly challenging directive for the Pacific community due to overcrowding, Tukuitonga said.

“These are multi-generational households, with small houses and large families. We have agencies looking for other options to isolate contacts where there are adequate arrangements when home is not possible.”

Criticism of the launch of vaccines for the Pacific communities

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson announced at today’s press conference that a record 63,333 vaccines were administered yesterday.

Bloomfield said the vaccination rates for the Pacific and Maori were similar or slightly higher in each age group compared to other age groups, but the rates were lower for the Pacific in south Auckland.

Pacific Response Coordination Team chair Pakilau Manase Lua said the group linked to the Assembly of God church was a major concern, wondering why officials had not heeded requests from more organizations led by the community, such as churches, to lead their own vaccination campaigns.

Pakilau Manase Lua.

Pakilau Manase Lua.
Photo: Supplied

If officials involved Pacific churches earlier, the community would have the highest vaccination rates, he said.

“We don’t have enough vaccinated people, so that’s cause for concern.”

The Rev. Victor Pouesi of the Samoa Puaseisei Christian Congregational Church in Māngere East echoed Lau’s concerns.

People are more comfortable going to church to get the vaccine and should speak up about their concerns, he said.

Meanwhile, more than 39 percent of Tairāwhiti residents have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, due to the combined efforts of Maori health providers and the district health board, Hauora Tairāwhiti, and the centers. Vaccination programs in Nelson and Blenheim have moved to larger locations. to increase the number of vaccines delivered to residents in the upper South Island.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that if everyone currently eligible received their vaccines by the end of the year, vaccine stocks would not be depleted.

He said the government was talking to Pfizer about the possibility of securing booster vaccines.

Crowne Plaza MIQ facilities in Auckland.

Photo: RNZ

People connected to Crowne Plaza located

Ardern said this morning that the Crowne Plaza, where the original case of this outbreak was earlier this month, is no longer open as an MIQ facility.

Authorities do not yet know how the virus reached the community, but they do know that it is genomically linked to a person who arrived from Sydney and initially stayed at the Crowne Plaza.

Authorities had been trying to locate two people who passed through the hotel lobby, and this afternoon they announced that they had been located and were being interviewed by the police.

Hipkins told the Select Committee on Health today that there would have been a recent review of the Crowne Plaza, including the physical layout and infection control measures.

The lockdown costs the economy $ 1.5b a week

In addition to today’s health committee, the Finance and Expenditure Selection Committee was held, in which Robertson defended the planning and use of the Covid-19 Response and Recovery fund by the government.

Robertson said there is about $ 5 billion left in the Covid Recovery and Response Fund today, and on top of that there is more that has yet to be spent, including about $ 2.1 billion that was not used in the flow scheme. of cash for small businesses and another $ 1 billion in other support schemes.

He said the $ 5 billion was simply the amount already set aside for resurgence.

There was a wide range of supports available to people, he said. They included the Vacation Support Plan, the Short Term Absence Pay, the Resurgence Support Pay, and the Wage Subsidy Plan.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and Chief Health Officer Dr Ashley Bloomfield arrive for the Covid-19 response and vaccine update at Parliament, Wellington.  August 24, 2021 NZ Herald photo by Mark Mitchell

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and Chief Health Officer Dr Ashley Bloomfield arrive at Parliament for the Covid-19 response and vaccine update.
Photo: Pool / NZME

So far, the Ministry of Social Development has received about 120,000 applications for the wage subsidy scheme and more than 82,000 have been approved.

By Monday, about $ 152 million had been paid out, Robertson said, and the country had a similar follow-up to the last Level 4 lockdown.

The weekly cost to the economy is approximately $ 1.5 billion.

“A strong public health response is still the best economic response,” he said at this afternoon’s press conference.

In the meantime, places of interest they continue to add up, and now there are more than 400.

Hipkins told the Select Committee on Health today that one of the lessons learned from the blockade in Auckland last August was that the government came out of the blockade too early and had to increase it again.

They didn’t want to repeat that, he said, indicating that Auckland might be on lockdown for some time yet.

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