Thursday, December 9

Covid-19 lockdown day 8: how it unfolded

As Covid-19 continues to spread, the New Zealand public is reminded to observe its racist attitude towards any particular community during the Delta outbreak.

Covid-19 wrap August 25, 2021

Photo: RNZ, LDR

Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield said the racist comments directed at the Samoan community were “disappointing and downright ruthless.”

At the 1:00 pm briefing. M., Said: I ask everyone in the country to be kind. The virus is the problem, not the people, the people are the solution. Be part of the solution.”

More than 100 of the cases date back to the Samoa Assembly of God Church in the Māngere subgroup.

He said that the Pacific community had been incredibly responsive. It has the highest testing rate in the country to date, with 981 tests per 1,000 people compared to 479 for Pākehā.

“God bless you” – That is the response of a leader in the church, after the abusive messages sent on Facebook.

Changes in alert level

The government is analyzing the potential impact of having parts of the country under level 4 blockade while easing restrictions in other areas.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the alert level framework was expected to stay about the same, with some tweaks like increased use of masks and mandatory registration.

Vaccine failure

Five Aucklanders who came for their Covid-19 vaccine last month may have received a dose of saline, a salt water solution, but the Health Ministry has yet to tell them.

Bloomfield said it was always the intention to contact those people.

Later, on the select committee, Hipkins acknowledged that the delay in making the information public was “regrettable.”

The ministry is now contacting the 732 people who were vaccinated the same day in downtown Highbrook on July 12.

Hipkins said there was at least one other incident in which people had to be called in for the vaccine.

MIQ availability

People will be able to return from Australia to New Zealand in September with the resumption of red flights from various cities in Australia.

‘Red’ flights will require travelers to book their 14-day stay in managed isolation, have a negative pre-departure test, and normal rules about paying for their stay will apply.

MIQ vouchers and flights will be available for travel on a limited number of dates in September from a select number of locations.

The number of MIQ rooms available to regular New Zealanders desperate to enter the country has been declining since the beginning of this year, as hundreds are empty at a time due to a “cohort” system.

Between 350 and 500 rooms are reserved every fortnight for large groups such as sports teams, seasonal and construction workers and refugees.

Hipkins said there was capacity at the Jet Park quarantine facility, but another facility was also being erected, two hotels near Auckland Airport, in case additional capacity was needed. It would be ready in the next 48 hours.

He said the government was not reissuing any more MIQ vouchers at this time because it wanted to avoid overcommitting the facilities when there was additional internal pressure from the outbreak.

IRD to cancel some sanctions

Inland Revenue is assuring people that they will not be penalized if they cannot pay their taxes on time during the current alert levels.

A spokesperson said the department was receiving thousands of calls every hour and many cannot be answered.

They said Inland Revenue was urging people to get in touch online and penalties and interest for late filing and payments would be canceled.

By the numbers

Vaccine stocks are open to everyone over the age of 30 starting today.

There are currently 62 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, bringing the total to 210 in the current outbreak.

There are 12 people hospitalized with the virus, 11 of those associated with the outbreak. None of those associated with the outbreak are in the ICU.

There are 20,383 contacts in the Auckland outbreak; 12,717 of them have been formally contacted and 62 percent have returned a test result.

There will be more than 1,200 contact trackers in call centers across the country in the next few days.

A record 80,000 New Zealanders were vaccinated yesterday, while test numbers also hit a record: nearly 50,000 nationwide.

Around 2,932,455 doses have been administered so far, and more than a million of them in Auckland.

The two largest subgroups are the Samoa Assembly of God Church in Māngere, and the Birkdale Social Network group associated with Case A.

There is a cluster of 14 cases associated with Massey’s homes and workplaces, and the remainder have fewer than 10 cases, so I won’t go into more detail.

There are six subgroups in total.

The lockdown slows down the courts

More than 6,500 court hearings across the country have been postponed due to Alert Level 4 restrictions.

All the hearings that affected a person’s freedom were taking place, as well as the hearings that protected people at risk or vulnerable and other priority hearings.

Many of these were carried out through video calls.

All jury trials have been delayed: 57 in District Court and two in Superior Court.

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