Sunday, November 28

Covid-19 lockdown day 10: how it unfolded


Auckland is likely to remain at Alert Level 4 for a further couple of weeks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today, announcing that regions south of the country’s largest city will move to Level 3.

Clockwise from tp left: Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield heading to press conference to update the nation on the latest on Covid-19;  Teddy bears bring some joy to East Auckland;  Amberlea Hospital and Home Care Center where a worker tested positive;  A mass vaccination event in Taranaki

Clockwise from tp left: Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield heading to press conference to update the nation on the latest on Covid-19; Teddy bears bring some joy to East Auckland; Amberlea Hospital and Home Care Center where a worker tested positive; A mass vaccination event in Taranaki
Photo: RNZ

Ardern said this afternoon that the Cabinet had decided that the regions south of Auckland will go to alert level 3 at 11:59 pm on Tuesday. Auckland and Northland remain at level 4.

He said an update will be provided on Monday and while Northland and Auckland remain at Tier 4 for now, that doesn’t mean they will be treated the same in the future.

However, he said Auckland would likely remain at Level 4 for another two weeks.

Regions south of Auckland would remain at Level 4 through Wednesday, in part in response to continued traces of Covid-19 in Christchurch sewage.

The move received a mixed response, with some welcoming the caution, others hoping to move to level 2 in time for the weekend, and leaders said they want an indication of when alert levels would drop.

A map showing the split alert levels when Auckland and Northland remain at Level 4 from Tuesday.

A map showing the split alert levels when Auckland and Northland remain at Level 4 from Tuesday.
Photo: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod

Seventy new community cases were announced today.

Based on that number, Ardern said New Zealand “may be seeing the beginning of a plateau of cases,” but cautioned: “caution is still required.”

It was clear from the outbreak that Delta was more infectious and moving faster, he said.

“Of the cases reported yesterday, about half were household contacts. Unfortunately, we know from Australia that household members are almost universally being infected with Covid-19, that means you can expect our numbers to continue for some time as that household contacts continue to test positive. “

Public health units were seeing very fast infection times with Delta, but it didn’t change the fact that the strategy at this point was elimination and “all New Zealanders can play their part in that,” Ardern said.

“The blockade is making a difference.

“We know that Covid is not going to disappear quickly, but our strategy may evolve.”

Northland will remain at level 4 after the nursing home worker tests positive

Northland would remain at level 4 along with Auckland for now because a person working in a dementia unit at a nursing home near Warkworth tested positive, and the government was also concerned about Auckland residents heading north after the closure was announced, Ardern said.

Chief Health Officer Dr. Ashley Bloomfield confirmed today that a person who works at Amberlea Home and Hospital Care Facility in Algie’s Bay worked two shifts unknowingly, unknowingly.

They are fully vaccinated and adhere to strict controls, including PPE.

The nursing home also has another site further north, with staff moving between the two locations, Ardern said. That was part of the reason behind the decision to keep Northland at alert level 4.

The Novotel hotel at Ellerslie in Auckland.

Novotel hotel in Ellerslie now operates as an MIQ facility
Photo: google maps

Many positive cases are not yet in MIQ

There has been criticism for the delay in moving positive community cases to Managed Isolation and Quaratine (MIQ).

There are now 347 people with Covid-19 linked to the community outbreak and another 37 cases on the border.

The Health Ministry website says 145 of those infected are in managed facilities and 63 self-isolate at home. More than 150 cases are listed as “other”.

Ardern said the delays for people moving into quarantine are due to the need to take strong public health measures during transportation to the quarantine facility.

“The very unfortunate information that I have been given is that family members are giving it to each other before they have symptoms … I don’t think it represents a greater risk than what had already been posed in the previous days .. “

Ardern said there were 274 rooms specifically designated for quarantine nationwide, 285 also available for close contacts, and more than 200 more rooms are being incorporated today with the Novotel Hotel in Ellerslie now operating as an MIQ facility.

Pasifika Futures CEO Debbie Sorensen said the delays have caused problems for families already under pressure and authorities should have increased capacity much sooner.

There are not enough vaccines to include school-age children

Ardern showed a graph at his press conference, showing how New Zealand’s vaccination rates have skyrocketed compared to rates over time in other countries like the United States and Canada.

“You know I love to show a good graph, just for memes. This black line is New Zealand drawn against Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.”

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said Control that while our vaccination rates have increased recently, it would not be enough to cover everyone if children under 12 were approved.

“That’s the most important thing that keeps us from scaling even further with vaccine delivery,” he said.

He was on the phone with Pfizer a couple of days ago pushing for more vaccines to come earlier.

Meanwhile, a survey of New Zealanders will now be conducted to help track reactions to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

The Ministry of Health will send a text message to about 10 percent of the randomly selected people who get vaccinated.

University of Auckland vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris said they will look for unexpected reaction patterns.

It was important to track reactions in different populations, but there are no concerns that serious reactions go undetected, he said.

Katja Eager took her two children to the mass vaccination event in Taranaki

Katja Eager took her two children to the mass vaccination event in Taranaki
Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Mass vaccination event in Taranaki gets off to a good start

A total of 2,500 essential workers and their whānau were vaccinated at a massive pop-up clinic in Taranaki today.

The Taranaki District Board of Health expects 7000 people to be vaccinated by the end of the weekend. He has another clinic in New Plymouth tomorrow and another in Hāwera on Sunday.

In a Facebook post, the DHB thanked everyone in attendance and its vaccination team for pumping 300 people per hour.

Katja Eager had brought her children to get vaccinated.

“My husband works here in the port, Port Taranaki, and we have both already received both injections and now is the time to vaccinate the children.”

I was happy with the launch of the vaccine.

“Yes, I think so. Yes, I am. I am very grateful.”

Police will intensify presence, law enforcement

Police say they will increase their visibility and enforcement of level 4 restrictions in the coming days. There will also be more road patrols.

Auckland Central at noon on August 27.

Auckland central today at noon. Police say overall compliance has been good
Photo: RNZ / Robert Smith

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in a statement that they will have high visibility in the community where people access essential services and on the roads to deter non-essential travel.

“People can expect that the police will intensify the enforcement of level 4 restrictions and that more people will be detained and questioned about why they are moving home.”

In general, police are happy with the level of compliance observed by drivers, but there have been some interesting excuses from people breaking the rules, Coster said.

These include drivers who say they need to deliver an ATV, some rare chicken eggs, and puppy food.

As of 5 p.m. last night, police have issued 1,213 tickets across the country, the majority of people making non-essential movements outside their home, Coster said.

Police have also received 10,239,105 non-compliance notifications online. Of these, 6196 were about a meeting, 3075 were about a business, and 968 were about a person.

Since Level 4 was implemented, 79 people have been charged with a total of 85 crimes.

“These arrests are primarily the result of protest activity in the early days of Alert Level 4 and other willful behavior that violates restrictions,” said Police Commissioner Andrew Coster.

In addition, 250 warnings were issued.


www.rnz.co.nz

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