Saturday, December 4

Protests against Covid-19 measures, firefighters received vaccination mandate, 125 new cases


Thousands of protesters showed up in Parliament today to demand an end to Covid restrictions, while another group blocked Auckland’s northern boundary this morning. Meanwhile, 125 new cases have been reported and experts weigh in on the traffic light system. Here is a summary of current Covid-19 developments.

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Photo: RNZ

The protesters were present today in various parts of the country. Some 50 protesters blocked the northern side of Auckland’s northern boundary this morning for over an hour, stopping traffic.

A police officer was bitten, and the police had to tow several vehicles off the road and physically pull the protesters off the road.

Police at the site of the protest on the north side of Auckland's northern border.

Police at the site of the protest in the northern area of ​​Auckland’s northern border.
Photo: The Rūnanga of Ngāti Whātua

Hours later, in Wellington, thousands of protesters gathered in Civic Square and then marched towards Parliament. There, they hurled insults at the media and the police, threw tennis balls and water at them, while holding flags and posters with messages against the lockdown, vaccination, the media and the government.

Some tried to jump over the railings and security was tightened.

House Speaker Trevor Mallard said security has never been tighter in his more than 30 years in Parliament.

They claimed a number of things like being segregated and that the government “trampled on the rights of New Zealanders.”

Some supported misinformation, including about vaccines, while others said they wanted New Zealand to live with the virus and not worry about the risks.

Other people were upset about losing their jobs because they wouldn’t get vaccinated. Others just wanted to be back with family in Auckland.

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Thousands of people gathered today in Parliament to call for an end to Covid restrictions
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

New community cases in Auckland, Waikato and Northland

125 new communities were reported today: 117 in Auckland, two in Waikato and six in Northland. Fifty-eight of the current cases have yet to be linked. There were also three new cases at the border.

There are 79 cases in the hospital, compared to 81 yesterday, with nine in the ICU or ICU.

Of the hospitalized cases, 25 are in North Shore Hospital, one in Waitākere, 25 in Middlemore and 28 in Auckland City.

To date, 89 percent of New Zealanders have received their first dose and 79 percent are fully vaccinated.

Yesterday 21,192 first and second doses of Covid-19 vaccine were administered: 5103 first doses and 16,089 second doses.

Meanwhile, as reported yesterday, 20 residents and four staff members at Edmonton Meadows Care Home in Henderson have tested positive for Covid-19. Seven of the Covid-19 positive residents remain in appropriate ward-level care at Auckland hospitals.

Vaccine certificates next week

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins hopes people will be able to get vaccination certificates by the end of next week.

Vaccinated people will need the pass to access many businesses and events as the country passes the stoplight.

Hipkins said the certificates were going through their final tests this week.

He will provide an update on them tomorrow.

Prime Minister to visit Auckland

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit Auckland tomorrow, the first day the region moves to Level 3, Step 2.

Ardern has been under pressure to visit the city, but said it was limited by the rules set by Speaker Trevor Mallard.

The rules were relaxed last week, and Ardern said, “It felt like an opportunity where I was able to do both, get to Auckland, talk to business representatives, get to see some of the work that our front-line health workers are doing. and still be able to be here [in Wellington]. “

He is expected to meet frontline health workers, entrepreneurs and workers on his visit to Auckland tomorrow, but is not expected to come out in public.

In a statement, ACT leader David Seymour said Ardern should visit barber shops and hospitality businesses “if he really wanted to understand the situation of Auckland residents.”

Experts comment on the change to the traffic light system

Ardern said yesterday that he expected Auckland to move to the Covid-19 Protection Framework, also known as the traffic light system, in just three weeks, once the city’s eligible population is 90 percent fully vaccinated.

But University of Canterbury professor Michael Plank said it was too risky to move to the new system as cases skyrocket.

Retail stores may reopen in the city tomorrow, and Plank said the number of cases could rise to 500 a day by early December.

However, Australian epidemiologist Tony Blakely, a professor at the University of Melbourne, said that the large number of people in the city with at least one stroke should encourage health officials to ease restrictions and take advantage of the “maximum immunity” of community.

Blakely’s views were based on the experiences New South Wales and Victoria had had while negotiating the lifting of restrictions there.

Firefighters received vaccinations mandate

Firefighters were told 11 days ago that they must receive their first Covid-19 vaccination by next week, or they will not be able to work.

This has raised concerns about what emergency coverage will look like when the first vaccination deadline passes on Monday.

Volunteers make up four-fifths of the 13,000 Firefighters and Emergencies (FENZ) operational and community workers, and some staff members are concerned about the future of smaller rural stations if firefighters refuse to be vaccinated.

Other firefighters are frustrated that proof of inoculation will not be required as they are only asked to make a statement about their vaccination status.

FENZ said in a statement that many staff members must be vaccinated to perform their duties as they work alongside doctors and go to schools to provide education and respond to emergencies.

Police did not respond to questions about whether the firefighters’ mandate would also apply to the police, but said they were in discussions with the government about mandatory vaccination requirements.


www.rnz.co.nz

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