Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are giving an update of the government’s Delta outbreak response.
Watch the government Covid-19 update here:
There are 15 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today, Dr Bloomfield said.
Meanwhile, Ardern says the theme of the past few days has been “vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate with a particular focus on Tāmaki Makaurau in what we intend to be their last week in level 4”.
“There is nothing holding us back in Auckland when it comes to vaccines.
“There’s capacity to administer 220,000 doses of vaccine in the region this week.”
Ardern says if 130 people get their first dose this week, “Aucklanders will hit 80 percent coverage of first vaccinations in one week’s time”.
She reiterates that vaccinations “literally saves lives and prevents hospitalisations”.
Ardern says there are about 90,000 spaces in Auckland this week to get a vaccine.
“There are now more than 100 GPs and 30 pharmacies delivering vaccinations across Auckland.”
The drive-through sites at Auckland Airport Park and Ride and the Trust Arena in Henderson can each do up to 5000 vaccinations per day. “No booking is required.”
She says a vaccination clinic has been set up in Papakura Marae where people with disabilities will be prioritised.
That is open from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday at 29 Hunua Road, Papakura. Bookings are not required.
“The Northern Region Health Coordination centre will launch its first [vaccination] buses this Thursday.
“The initial plan is to take them into areas where we know vaccination numbers have been low or people have not been able to access vaccination services as easily. The aim is to increase the network from expected six on Thursday to 12 over the coming weeks.”
On vaccine delays, Ardern says the government did not wait to get the vaccines at a lower cost.
“We absolutely did not make a decision to delay vaccine for price purposes, absolutely not.”
“We were in talks with vaccine companies who were at that time promoting vaccines that hadn’t even finished their clinical trials but we were entering into discussions and arrangements and sometimes purchase agreements before completion simply so we could make sure we were in line to receive doses if they then proved to be safe and so we entered in those negotiations very early on.
“But I can tell you at no point did we for instance say we’ll delay ordering something from there so it will be cheaper, absolutely not.”
On police enforcing rules around gatherings and tangi, Ardern says they exist “but we leave it up to the police to determine how and when that is done, those are all often operational decisions, and they are best placed to determine how to do that safely”.
“I’m not going to stand here and make judgements around the way that police are doing their job, it’s their job and it’s a hard job.”
Ardern says delaying the school holidays is being considered keeping in mind teachers and the workforce who are working through the lockdown as well.
On mental health support for people in the Auckland lockdown, Blomfield says he is concerned.
“We know that lockdown is tough on people and in particular the feedback I’ve had is that it’s really impacting on young people there.”
He says there were no big spikes in people looking for support.
“I would encourage people if they are stressed, anxious and finding it a bit of a struggle to reach out and get support because it is available.”
The government has said it is sticking to its elimination strategy as health officials focus this week on seven Auckland suburbs thought to be associated with recent Covid-19 ‘mystery’ cases.
Early today, Ardern told Morning Report moving Auckland out of level 4 lockdown would not require having zero mystery Covid-19 cases, but but good surveillance testing rates would give further reassurance.
Yesterday, Cabinet has made an in principle decision that Tāmaki Makaurau would move to alert level 3 next week and would review the settings on Monday.
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