Northland and parts of Waikato remain at alert level 3, an early childhood teacher tests positive, and food banks receive a funding boost. Here’s what you need to know from today’s Covid-19 news.
- Today 55 new cases were reported
- Of the new cases, 29 were epidemiologically linked, 26 were not yet linked.
- The total number of cases from this outbreak is 1,719.
- There are 32 people in the hospital
Announced by the Ministry of Health this afternoon, after 1:00 p.m. M., An early childhood education teacher in Auckland tested positive and eleven of his close contacts include six children who were in two separate bubbles.
Northland and Waikato remain at level 3
Both Northland and parts of Waikato will remain at Level 3 for another five days.
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate says she understands the need to take a cautious approach, but the community is well and truly on the lockdowns.
Two of today’s new cases were in a single home in Waikato and were not yet linked to previous cases.
Authorities were still struggling with contact tracing and the lack of sights for the two women who traveled to Northland from Auckland. Only one of the women is cooperating.
Meanwhile, as Auckland remains at Alert Level 3, Step 1 for at least another week, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. Control the government is not considering putting Auckland back on alert level 4.
Former Whangarei GP and National Party Deputy Leader Dr. Shane Reti was in Ruakaka helping with swabs and vaccinations, along with iwi healthcare provider Kia Ora Ngati Wai today.
Maori marginalized by Covid-19 response – Northland service provider
A Northland service provider says Maori have been marginalized in the Covid-19 response, which is described as a violation of te Tiriti or Waitangi.
Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi argues that the launch of the vaccine has created barriers rather than eliminating them for Maori, violating the right to fair treatment.
And a virologist at the University of Auckland says underlying health issues in Maori and Pasifika have not been considered in the government’s handling of the Covid outbreak.
Natalie Netzler says the government has moved away from its elimination strategy and doubts that this would have happened if New Zealand’s overall immunization rates were as low as the rates for Maori and Pacific peoples.
She says it is inexplicable why the Maori and Pasifika were not prioritized earlier in New Zealand’s vaccination rollout.
Low-risk Covid-positive people will be able to isolate themselves at home ‘very soon’
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said Control Covid-positive people who are at low risk and can safely isolate themselves at home will be able to do so “very soon.”
“Potentially within the next week,” he said.
Hipkins said he was not aware of any positive Covid-19 cases isolated at home currently.
“We are actively considering our MIQ setup in light of the fact that we are unlikely to return to zero cases in the New Zealand community,” Hipkins said.
“The situation has changed here.”
Is Alert Level 3 Paving The Way For Delta To Grow?
A Covid-19 modeler says Alert Level 3 is likely paving the way for the Delta outbreak in Auckland to grow.
If the R number of the delta variant is around 1.3, that means that the cases could double every fortnight.
Te Punaha Matatini Principal Investigator and University of Auckland Physics Professor Dion O’Neale said Noon report there is very little chance that the R number is less than one at this time.
This is partly due to the transmission environment in alert level 3 conditions, he said.
6 million doses of vaccine administered
More than 6 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered in New Zealand, and the vast majority of those who contracted Covid-19 during the current outbreak are not vaccinated.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says that three-quarters of the eligible population are fully vaccinated or registered to do so.
He said that only 3 percent of those affected by the current outbreak were vaccinated.
More financing for food banks and social agencies
Food banks and other community organizations helping Auckland’s most vulnerable during the shutdown are getting another funding boost.
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says that after eight weeks of high demand, the stores and resources of many food banks are running low and more support is required.
Another $ 13.5 million was approved from the Covid Recovery and Response Fund, bringing total support for food banks and other services to just over $ 38 million during this outbreak.
Sepuloni says that while emergency food grants are declining again, there are still many whānau in need of help.
Government considers strengthening border requirements for essential workers
Health officials are investigating whether to increase the frequency of testing for people who cross the border regularly and whether there should be a requirement for them to be vaccinated.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the government was always looking for how it could continue to tighten restrictions whenever possible.
Any changes to the requirements should be practical, Hipkins said at today’s briefing.
“It is not possible to just have no movement in and out of Auckland. It is simply not feasible for us to completely isolate Auckland from the rest of the country,” Hipkins said, adding that goods and people should be able to move through.
Australian death toll and cases on the rise
In Australia, Victoria today reported a record number of deaths from Covid-19: 13 deaths.
There are currently 19,861 active cases of the virus in Victoria and 114 lives have been lost in the current outbreak.
As restrictions were eased for some in New South Wales, the state recorded 444 new cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday.
With Canberra still locked up, ACT recorded 51 new cases.