Saturday, December 4

Covid-19 Closure for Nov 3 – Travel May Be on Cards for Auckland Locals, Warning of Paid Vaccine Waivers

Auckland residents may be able to travel beyond the region’s borders at Christmas time, officials warn of paid bogus vaccine exemptions and another 4.7 million doses of Pfizer have been purchased.

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Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver / Dom Thomas, 123RF

100 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the community today, and 48 of them are not yet linked.

Of the new cases, 97 are in Auckland and three in Waikato.

While those in King Country and parts of Waikato today woke up to eased restrictions, moving to Step 2 of Alert Level 3, those in parts of the Far North were plunged into a sudden lockdown overnight due to two unrelated cases.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate has written to the Prime Minister, suggesting that her city be treated differently from the rest of the region once it reaches 90 percent complete vaccination.

“I don’t want to be prevented from kick-starting our economy when we hit those high levels of vaccination in Hamilton, especially if Auckland undergoes a different regimen. There has to be some fairness around that. Equity for Hamilton businesses and Auckland businesses. ”

The prime minister has suggested that doubly vaccinated Aucklanders, and those who test negative for Covid-19, will be allowed to leave the region at Christmas and during the summer.

Ardern told ZM that Aucklanders’ ability to go on vacation does not depend on vaccination rates in other parts of the country.

He said they were verifying that the systems in place could handle a large number of people seeking evidence, as well as tens of thousands of cars moving across the region’s borders.

Ardern is expected to visit Auckland next week, which National Party leader Judith Collins said was long overdue.

This follows the removal of the strict isolation rules that had meant that MPs at level 3 had to isolate themselves for five days before returning to Parliament.

They must still test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of the trip.

More doses on the way and booster data in review

It was also revealed today that the government has purchased another 4.7 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for use in New Zealand over the next year.

An app from Pfizer on the use of the vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 is expected in the next two weeks.

Five district health boards have reached the first vaccine dose milestone: Capital and Coast, Auckland, Waitematā, Canterbury and Southern.

Medsafe is reviewing the data on the booster vaccines and a group of technical advisers expect to finalize their advice on the next day.

Medical exemptions and vaccination certificates

Health and education leaders have been calling for urgent clarity on Covid-19 vaccine exemption certificates as the deadline for teachers to get vaccinated approaches.

Principals estimate that several thousand school personnel are resisting the government’s directive to receive at least their first dose by November 15.

Some directors have reported questionable exemption certificates, signed by homeopaths and midwives, being presented to them.

It comes as the government moves to create a central process to approve medical exemptions for workers who have mandatory vaccination orders and for people who need a vaccination certificate.

“Now I understand that there are some people who have already been issued the paperwork that is meant to be an exemption or an exception, if you have received such paperwork and you work in Corrections, education or health, you will still have to apply through the process centralized, “said Chief Health Officer Ashley Bloomfield.

“If you have paid for that paperwork, you may want to request a refund.”

PM Jacinda Ardern addresses the media in Whanganui.

PM Jacinda Ardern addresses the media in Whanganui.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the actions of people aggressively demanding vaccination exemptions are “unacceptable.”

Hipkins said he was reasonably confident that a vaccine certificate system will be up and running for the entire country by mid-November.

In a news post today in Whanganui, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern maintained her view that the government would not force all New Zealanders to get vaccinated.

The leader changed the location of her stand-up before it began, after a group of around 200 anti-vaccination protesters gathered outside the vaccination clinic where it had been planned.

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