Sunday, November 28

Covid-19 wrap: updates and developments on November 4

In today’s Covid-19 updates: The possibility of a border system allowing vaccinated Auckland residents to travel outside the region during the summer has divided officials, while the opposition proposes a new isolation system for the incoming travelers.

Samples from the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial, police at the Mercer checkpoint in Auckland, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and an MIQ facility.

Samples from the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial, police at the Mercer checkpoint in Auckland, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and an MIQ facility.
Photo: Getty Images, RNZ / Liu Chen, Angus Dreaver, Marika Khabazi

Yesterday, the prime minister suggested that vaccinated Auckland residents could travel beyond their region’s border for Christmas and during the summer.

While there will be no limits once the traffic light framework, which is based on 90 percent vaccination, is fully implemented, the government is working out a system to make travel possible if the limits remain.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said Control yesterday, slots were an option the government was considering for the potential system.

“We haven’t made that decision yet. It’s an option. We’re just working on what the practical options are to make sure we don’t end up with people spending days sitting in their cars.”

Police Association President Chris Cahill said Control today he was “stunned” by the news, saying that a checkpoint for holiday travel outside of Auckland shouldn’t be in place at all.

“You can immediately see that it is an impractical idea, and that is the feedback that we have received from our members, how could they think this would work?

“We would be against what we are hearing at this stage [about the options]It seems unmanageable to us, the borders are already stretched from a police perspective and these kinds of ideas will simply put a lot more pressure on the police, there will be a lot more personnel required to be assigned to those borders and they just don’t sound practical. “

About 300 employees are already involved in Auckland’s border operations, he said.

“If more or 90 percent of Auckland’s have been vaccinated, it’s actually a very small proportion of people in terms of the number of people who will try to leave if they are not vaccinated, so can that much police resources be put into It could be? [policing] a couple hundred people at most. “

Last Christmas Eve, some 43,000 vehicles left Auckland, according to NZTA figures.

The director of the center for supply chain management at the University of Auckland, Tava Olsen, told Checkpoint that a system for travelers from Auckland to cross the border on the summer holidays would be “feasible” if the government were to implement work on it right now, but it would be very difficult.

“There’s just no way you can go through all those 43,000 cars, so people would have to sign up for a spot and some people wouldn’t be able to leave on Christmas Eve.”

“You would probably have a system where you run random checks and huge fines are imposed on people who don’t have all the paperwork in order. That’s a bit more risky system because it’s not checking everyone.”

On Thursday afternoon, Hipkins issued a statement saying “no system will be perfect” and it would be challenging, but the government was working on options.

On the other hand, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told First Up that while they want to make sure Auckland locals have a way to travel, there will probably be a better option than schedules.

“I don’t think it’s particularly likely that there is the kind of plan where you were assigned a day.

“I can’t see that, it wouldn’t be very practical. But we have to find a way in case we still have a limit there.”

National Covid-19 Party response spokesperson Chris Bishop said Control allotting time for Auckland residents to leave the region was “the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”

Auckland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Barnett said Control If Auckland’s overall vaccination rate exceeds 90 percent of double doses for the Christmas holidays, then Auckland residents should be free to cross the border without controls.

“Cops are not travel agents and I don’t think they can cope,” he said.

“I don’t see any other systems that they can implement between now and the start of the Christmas holiday period.

“If I tried to stop those vehicles, I would have a Pokeno backup going back to Auckland, and the same the other way around. I don’t think it’s feasible.”

Update of cases and vaccination

There are 139 new community cases of Covid-19 today (136 in Auckland, two in Waikato, and one in Northland).

A new daily record has been set for the number of people hospitalized with the virus which is now 64.

In the last 14 days, there have been 452 unrelated cases.

Meanwhile, the first case of Covid-19 in Tonga, which arrived on a repatriation flight from Christchurch last week, tested negative after a second round of testing.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed the death of a person, who tested positive and was isolated at home, last night was not related to the vaccine. The coroner is investigating.

The makers of the Covid-19 Novavax vaccine have requested provisional approval from Medsafe for use in this country.

Late last year, the government announced an agreement with Novavax to buy enough vaccine for 5.5 million people, but its global launch has been hampered by production delays.

Insulation and MIQ system

The National Party has launched a petition to eliminate the MIQ system for double-vaccinated travelers from low- and medium-risk countries.

The party’s proposal would require people to test negative for Covid-19 before and after landing, and to isolate themselves at home for a week, using the same protections used in the government’s home self-isolation test. .

In the test, participants are required to respond to a randomly scheduled video call three times a day that detects location via GPS, and can only leave their room to collect food and contactless deliveries, to conduct tests, or to get fresh air. if they have a backyard that no one else accesses.

The government has signaled that it would begin easing MIQ restrictions early next year.

It was also revealed this morning that only 294 people with Covid-19 in the current community outbreak are in the MIQ facilities, with the rest being isolated at home and around 1000 cases waiting to know if they will be quarantined.

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