Saturday, November 27

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Covid-19 Alert Levels: Good Test Rates Will Give ‘Additional Peace of Mind’

Bringing Auckland out of the level 4 lockdown will not require having zero “mystery” Covid-19 cases, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

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

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Photo: Pool / Getty

The cabinet has made a decision in principle that Tāmaki Makaurau will go to alert level 3 next week and review the configuration on Monday.

Ardern said Morning report Good surveillance test rates, especially in seven key Auckland suburbs, would give more peace of mind.

Auckland University Epidemiologist Professor Rod Jackson says one more week of Level 4 restrictions “probably isn’t” long enough to contain the Auckland Delta outbreak.

Jackson said Control it was possible that the outbreak could be contained in a week if people followed the rules, but he was “a bit pessimistic.” “We can hit him on the head if people follow the rules, but … people don’t follow the rules,” he said.

Ardern said advice from the public health team, the Ministry of Health and the Director General of Health was that one week was sufficient and provided that additional capacity to conduct surveillance tests.

“The proposal and the opinion is that we could move at that point.”

Going down one level wouldn’t necessarily depend on not having so-called mystery or unrelated cases, he said, because they were only concerned about some of them.

A “handful” of the 17 as yet unrelated cases were of concern, and genome sequencing in others indicates a relatively short chain of transmission.

“That means there are a handful that we are focusing on. If we can do good testing in the areas that we have been in and in the suburbs, that gives us more peace of mind.

“If then we don’t see more showing up in those areas, that gives us more peace of mind.

“And then it’s just the details of what is happening with the cases that come up.”

People in seven key Auckland suburbs are encouraged to get tested for Covid-19 even if they have no symptoms. Mt Eden, Massey, Māngere, Favona, Ōtara, Papatoetoe, and Manurewa are under increased scrutiny due to unrelated cases or groups that may have unexpected cases.

Ardern said that level 3 had previously been used to control outbreaks early on and was not suddenly removing restrictions.


No decisions have been made about whether people need to be vaccinated to attend certain meetings as has been done in other countries, Ardern said.

“But what I am aware of is moving our events industry forward and those who are involved in big events will look to us to design ways their events are future proof.

“That is our calling, that is the work we have to do. We want to find a way that, when you are planning a large-scale event, you can be sure that it will take place anyway.”

“So we’ll keep thinking.”

The prime minister said the government would continue to emphasize that people going to self-service clinics or walk-ins are the easiest way to get vaccinated, although mobile vaccination units are being incorporated into services.

The clinical leader of the city’s vaccination program, Dr. Anthony Jordan, said they were in the final stages of organizing mobile vaccination units to go from street to street, offering Covid-19 vaccines in areas where there may be little coverage or where people may be struggling. to get to a clinic.

“We have them in some specific areas where we have target populations, they have been used as a tool before,” Ardern said.

“But right now we are trying to keep pushing people toward the things that lead through the clinics, the ones that walk through the clinics, places where we can do large numbers very easily.

“Our vaccine team is also working on some of those mobile options. To date, it has been a small-scale part of our launch.

Community health providers were also offering collection services and other solutions to meet the needs of their communities.

“It’s already happening in some areas, it’s just the large scale that it will be in the future.”

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