Auckland locals gobbled up hamburgers and coffees as they reached a vaccination milestone on the first day of Level 3; Case numbers have skyrocketed again and a couple who allegedly traveled to Wanaka during the confinement have been charged.
- Today 23 new community cases were announced, 22 of them are epidemiologically linked
- 1 new case at MIQ
- The total of the outbreak is 1108, 835 were recovered
- 13 people are in the hospital, two in intensive care
- 9,780 swabs were taken in Auckland yesterday.
- 53,000 people were vaccinated yesterday
Police accuse a couple who visited Wanaka
The Auckland couple who traveled to Wanaka while the supercity was on Covid-19 Alert Level 4 have been charged.
Police say William Willis, a 35-year-old equestrian from Karaka, and his partner Hannah Rawnsley, a 26-year-old lawyer from Pukekohe, were summoned to appear on charges of failing to comply with the Covid-19 health order. .
The couple are alleged to have crossed the border from Auckland using essential worker exemptions, were driven to Hamilton Airport before flying to Queenstown and then drove to Wanaka earlier this month.
They will appear at the Papakura District Court next month.
Concern among Pasifika health experts
Pasifika immunologist Dr. Dianne Sika-Paotonu of the University of Otago is among the experts concerned that Auckland’s move to Level 3 could affect the most vulnerable communities.
He said that people would have to be alert despite the lower alert level.
Dr. Sika-Paotonu said a major shift in approach was needed to be able to immunize young people.
Samoan-born epidemiologist Dr Corina Gray from the University of Auckland is also concerned and is also calling on Auckland residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Aucklanders lead the way in vaccines
Auckland has reached 80 percent of eligible residents receiving their first dose of vaccine, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.
Fifty-three doses were administered nationwide yesterday, 21,000 in Auckland. In total, 608,000 are now fully vaccinated in the city.
About 52 percent of Maori have received a first dose, along with 67 percent of the Pacific population, 91 percent of those over 65 and 80 percent of those 40 to 64 years old.
Hipkins said the numbers are encouraging, but there are still disparities in the vaccine release and a lot more work needs to be done.
Dawn start for hospitality establishments
Business owners and staff got up early today to prepare food for those eager to try take-out, cafeteria food, and professionally-brewed coffee for the first time in five weeks.
Olaf’s Artisan Bakery Cafe in Mt Eden reopened with owner Oranna Blanke, typical of many who wish to see customers again and find that coffee was top of mind in many minds.
Crave Cafe co-owner Nigel Cottle was hoping to sell 200 cheese buns today and said it was great to get back to level 3.
Bacon butties help fuel the launch of the Taranaki vaccine
An initiative to vaccinate people against Covid-19 in New Plymouth this morning using the lure of a free bacon buttie is being hailed as a success.
The city’s vaccination center threw away the appointment book and made breakfast and espresso for anyone who gets a jab between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.
The free brekky proved especially popular with tradies, with about 130 people enjoying their butties after a dose of Pfizer.
Helping hand for students
Minister Hipkins said the government was aware that students at Tāmaki Makaurau have been spending more time at higher alert levels, thus it was increasing the entitlement to learning recognition credits for them.
They will now be able to earn one of those credits for every four credits they earn, up to a limit of 16 for NCEA Level 1 and 12 for NCEA Levels 2 and 3.
It is also adjusting the threshold for certificate approval to 44 credits at the level of merit or excellence, instead of the threshold of 46 credits in the rest of the country.
The minister thanked the parents, teachers and whānau for the work they have done to help the students this year.
Three-quarters of healthcare workers fully vaccinated
District health boards say 75 percent of their staff have received two doses of vaccine.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told the media this afternoon that he had asked health officials to inquire about mandatory vaccination for most healthcare workers.
Currently, only health workers covered by the Public Health Response Order related to MIQ facilities and the border were mandated to be vaccinated.
DHBs were unaware of the vaccination status of some staff members.
But the best data they had, from early September, showed that at least 75 percent of DHB workers were fully vaccinated.
The figures showed that Canterbury DHB was only able to confirm that 65 percent of staff were fully vaccinated, while West Coast DHB was only able to confirm that 49 percent of staff had two doses.