The primary batch of Pfizer vaccines arrived in New Zealand on the primary day of lockdown, the federal government is urged to extend its use of saliva testing, and hundreds turned out to get examined. Here is a recap of at the moment’s Covid-19 developments in New Zealand.
New Zealand transitioned into new alert ranges in a single day – Auckland shifting to degree three lockdown, and the remainder of the nation shifting to degree 2.
The change got here after three new group circumstances had been reported on Sunday. They’re a mother, father and daughter who stay within the South Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe.
The alert degree modifications are in place till midnight on Wednesday, with Cupboard reviewing the state of affairs each 24 hours. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated at the moment there could be no change to the present ranges.
She introduced this morning that genomic sequencing for 2 of the group circumstances confirmed they have the Covid-19 variant B1.1.7 first detected within the UK.
There isn’t a direct hyperlink to another optimistic circumstances in New Zealand, so ESR is taking a look at a global genome database to see if there’s a match.
Investigations into how the trio contracted the virus are ongoing, however stay a puzzle at this stage. Director Basic of Well being Dr Ashley Bloomfield stated well being officers had been specializing in the mom, who works for laundry and catering firm LSG Skychefs, which companies planes on the airport, and the daughter, who attends Papatoetoe Excessive Faculty as being the primary of the household to contract the virus.
As a part of her work, the mom handles napkins from passengers on worldwide flights. Otago College public well being professor Nick Wilson has discounted the potential of Covid-19 being contracted by way of laundry.
The most likely source was person to person, reminiscent of from an contaminated air crew member or transit passenger, or somebody in an MIQ facility who had been by some means missed, he stated.
Authorities urged to do extra saliva testing
Otago College epidemiologist professor David Skegg instructed 9 to Midday New Zealand was “dragging its feet” on saliva testing and was lagging behind Australia, the place obligatory each day saliva testing for border and resort staff had been rolled out.
There was voluntary saliva testing on the Auckland Jet Park quarantine facility and it had additionally lately been adopted on the Christchurch quarantine facility, and can quickly be accessible on the Wellington quarantine facility, Bloomfield instructed media this afternoon.
“We’re testing it in the mean time,” he stated.
Ardern reiterated saliva testing was happening however there have been questions across the accuracy of saliva testing outcomes.
“There appears to be an try right here to construct a case for our opposition to saliva testing – there is not one,” she stated.
“However there’s in fact a view we’d like to ensure we combine it, that we have got the correct capability to do it safely and we’re not compromising different components of the system, and I feel that is all honest.”
First batch of vaccines arrives in NZ
The primary batch of Pfizer vaccines – 60,000 doses – arrived in the country this morning. Following security checks, it was anticipated border staff will begin to be vaccinated from Saturday, Ardern stated.
The Ministry of Well being stated it was anticipating to obtain about 225,000 vaccine programs by the tip of March. Ardern stated sufficient vaccines had been bought for everybody in New Zealand. It is anticipated the general public will begin to be vaccinated across the center of the 12 months.
A giant step ahead for #NZ this morning with the arrival of the primary cargo of #COVID19vaccine. Our border staff are the primary group to have the chance for vaccination, beginning this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/DQ4MtTbyB3
— Ministry of Well being – Manatū Hauora (@minhealthnz) February 15, 2021
“Once we say the vaccine is on the market for everybody, we imply everybody… so long as you’re right here along with your toes on this soil we wish you to be vaccinated and it is possible for you to to be vaccinated without spending a dime, with no questions,” Ardern stated.
New Zealand might get to a degree the place there was sufficient herd immunity, even when some folks refused to be vaccinated, she stated.
Hundreds get examined
Greater than 2300 folks in Auckland had been examined at group testing stations by mid afternoon, Bloomfield stated.
They included many Papatoetoe High School students and staff. One of many new group circumstances is a 12 months 9 pupil on the faculty.
Seven of 9 co-workers of the mom returned unfavourable check outcomes. There are 42 shut contacts outdoors of the family, together with the daughter’s classmates and lecturers. The mom, father and daughter have been moved to quarantine, whereas one other family contact who has examined unfavourable stays in isolation at house.
The entire 9 non-school associated shut contacts have returned unfavourable check outcomes, Bloomfield stated this afternoon. Solely two folks from the college have returned unfavourable check outcomes, whereas outcomes for the others had been pending.
There have been no new group circumstances reported in New Zealand at the moment, however there have been five in managed isolation.
Covid-19 knowledge modelling knowledgeable Shaun Hendy stated folks needs to be ready for a lockdown of a number of weeks if a large cluster like the August one eventuated.
Police transfer checkpoint boundary after confusion
Police stated they had been moving three checkpoints north of Auckland again to the place the authorized boundary sits – the websites used over the last lockdown.
Whereas the well being order to implement the alert degree modifications confirmed maps with Mangawhai Heads outdoors of the Auckland space, police checkpoints had been set as much as embody the city inside the Auckland zone, creating confusion for native residents.
Ardern stated the checkpoints would from now be stationed on the authorized boundary of Auckland.
The error was all the way down to “miscommunication”, it was not her place to apportion blame, and was not the police’s fault, she stated.
Nationwide requires tighter border controls
Nationwide is asking for all folks involved with airline journey, regardless of the extent, to be included in the testing regime.
The lady who works for LSG Skychefs and examined optimistic for the virus was examined each two weeks as a part of her work’s well being regime.
Nationwide’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop stated: “There appears to be a query whether or not the individual on the centre of this outbreak ought to have been examined or not. The suggestion final night time was they need to have been, then it has been clarified that they had been outdoors of the scope of the order at the moment.
“Our robust suggestion is that that order… be widened so that everybody, regardless of if they’ve contact with worldwide airways or worldwide journey, anybody working in and across the border, regardless of which a part of the corporate, they’re examined.
Nationwide additionally referred to as for stricter monitoring and auditing of firms and authorities businesses working on the border.