Thursday, December 9

Covid-19: Auckland residents ask for clarity before alert level decision

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff hopes the Cabinet will be conservative when making decisions today and keep the closure provisions as they are for his city.

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Auckland CBD.
Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The number of Covid-19 cases in Auckland yesterday was the highest in a month with 56 positive cases.

Goff said Morning report doubts that Auckland residents will comply with a return to alert level 4.

“I don’t think that in the current situation they are talking about that, you are talking about huge human costs, financial costs and I don’t think you can prepare people to comply with that level of restriction again.”

“I think what we will see today is a fairly conservative decision from the Cabinet that will not be to lower the alert level further or go one step further … I think they will want to contain the spread of the virus. In Auckland, however, they can consider continue elimination in the rest of the country. “

Goff said that although the Cabinet must follow the advice of the Director General of Health, the priorities must be “balanced.”

“There is a lot of damage in the community, not just the disease, but the effect on human beings whose income has been drastically reduced, whose businesses are failing, children who cannot get an education.”

He said the next steps for the city are to vaccinate as many people as possible and make sure Auckland residents follow the new alert level 3 rules.

“While we have had the restrictions lifted, we still have to follow the rules and that is critically necessary.

“I know when you regain some of your freedom you think ‘well hey things are getting back to normal’, we haven’t gotten back to normal, but we have to follow those rules.

“Unfortunately, some of the problems we face are because some people, a small minority of people, are being irresponsible and selfish.”

Goff said that requiring rapid antigen testing for those crossing the Auckland border “makes sense.”

“We have to make the borders as effective as possible, but at the same time, of course, it has to have the movement of cargo and all those things that the economy survives on.”

Security increases ahead of Covid-19 testing at Papatoetoe High School on February 23.

Secondary Principals Association President Vaughan Couillault outside his Papatoetoe High School during a Covid-19 driving test.
Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

With just a week off, the Secondary Principals Association wants a plan for how Auckland schools are expected to open safely.

President Vaughan Couillault said a public health order requiring tests and vaccinations for teachers would be a relief.

“I think we would be happy with a decision one way or another, the community wants safety guarantees and if regular testing provides that guarantee … then we should be (happy).

“The public health message has been around vaccination first and testing second, and if the cabinet is making a decision, I wouldn’t expect them to stray too far from that.”

However, even if a teacher received their second dose of vaccine now, it would not be covered by the time schools reopen on October 18.

Couillault said talks are underway on how this problem can be mitigated, and the option of regularly testing unvaccinated staff is being touted.

“There are several options, vaccination is obviously the preferred option, but if that cannot or will not happen, then we expect something similar to testing.

“The parent community is beginning to express concern about the health and safety implications of such states, particularly in the primary sector or those under 12, where students do not have the option of being vaccinated even if they wanted to. to be . “

He said there is less noise in the secondary school sector, but parents are asking questions about the safety of children.

Couillault said the reopening of education could be delayed if a public health order is implemented that requires schools to meet certain benchmarks.

For example, implementing a mandatory testing threshold for students could delay the reopening of schools by more than a few days, he said.

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