Sunday, November 28

South Island works to stop the spread after Blenheim’s Covid case


The streak of community Covid-19 cases on the South Island ended over the weekend, prompting discussions about how to reduce further spread.

Old Blenheim Train Station: The city is the first place on the South Island where a case of Covid-19 has been found in the community in almost a year.

Old Blenheim Train Station: The city is the first place on the South Island where a case of Covid-19 has been found in the community in almost a year.
Photo: 123rf

The unvaccinated person flew from Rotorua to Blenheim late last week before testing positive.

There have already been calls for travelers to the South Island to get screened and vaccinated.

So far, three contacts in the Blenheim case have tested negative and no one else has tested positive.

But Marlborough accommodation provider Shane Roughan said it has been a wake-up call after nearly a year without Covid on the South Island.

He was already feeling the impact of the Blenheim case on his business.

It offered around 250 beds to backpackers and CSR workers, and was preparing for a boost over Labor weekend.

“No one has come to the region. As if we were quite stunned that we had not had contact, no calls, nothing to look for any accommodation at all, that previously, even though Covid has been around for quite some time, there would still be people asking questions. and things like that. But we just haven’t had anything. “

He would not rule out that only the vaccinated can travel to the South Island if the government gives him the green light.

“I would probably support that because the government has said 90 percent is the vaccination rate until things open up and we really can’t do much about it.

“If we can encourage anyone to get vaccinated, and if that means they can’t travel to and from the South Island without a vaccine, we will be happy to support them.

“We are not in a position to keep people away from our accommodation if they have not been vaccinated because they are income that we cannot find elsewhere.”

Marlborough District Mayor John Leggett was pleased that no more cases had been reported in his district.

“There are sensible people who follow the rules. There are some who don’t think it will affect them and they don’t think it will affect our community, and it is those people that we really need to target, so they know in very clear terms: This is a possible health crisis in our region, since it runs through the entire country, so we must be vigilant, following the rules. “

“It was a very good reminder for us.”

He was not so interested in traveling to the South Island, as it was limited only to the vaccinated.

“I’ve heard that from some people … I’d rather see the evidence before getting on the plane if there was a way to do it.

“But look, we know how easily this has spread across the North Island from the Auckland region and into the South Island with the case we had here over the weekend, so there’s always the possibility of let that happen. “

The general manager of Highview Apartments in Queenstown and Marina Terrace Accommodation in Wānaka, Carlyn Topp, said she hoped the Blenheim case would lead to more people getting vaccinated and less complacency on the South Island.

Vaccine mandates would be a nightmare from a logistical standpoint, but you could see that they would eventually be used for some domestic travel, Topp said.

“We need to look further into what we have to put in place so that we can open ourselves up to (A) all of New Zealand so that we can get on with life and start living with it in the community. But (B) so that we can reopen internationally as well. .

“The uncertainty is really affecting a lot of companies. We all live week by week at the moment. If the government could put a plan in place, look at the end result we want, we want to go back to international travel and work our way back. “.

When asked if the vaccination entry could be on the cards, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins had a simple answer.

“We are not proposing to isolate the South Island from the rest of the country.”

All Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman residents with symptoms are asked to get tested.


www.rnz.co.nz

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