Saturday, 16 Oct 2021

Covid-19 coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern on rulebreakers, reveals who’s next in queue for vaccine

The Prime Minister says she knows many New Zealanders were upset, frustrated and angry about the Covid rulebreakers which plunged Auckland into lockdown

Ardern said every time there had been community outbreaks, there had been breaches.

“And we have recovered from them.”

In the latest outbreak, there has been contact between people in families who should have been isolating. One case, 21, when to a gym in Papatoetoe after getting a Covid test.

Ardern said the 21-year-old had come through managed isolation so had been through “a two-week period of propaganda” when the message about the dangers of Covid was drummed into them – so he should have known to isolate after getting a test.

Ardern also said health messages were translated into multiple languages then pushed out through various social media platforms.

“Plainly everyone is paying the price,” Ardern said about the people’s breaches.

The people were facing the judgement of the entire nation, said Ardern.

Ardern said the notion the people weren’t checked on “is just wrong”.

Ardern said that’s why there were many layers of protection officials take, like symptom and isolation checks.

“But we also ask people to follow the rules, to play their part.”

“Quite simply, we cannot do this alone.”

“No one in Cabinet … think that this is tolerable. What has happened here is a clear breach and everyone is frustrated by it,” said Ardern.

But it wasn’t for politicians to make decisions about prosecusions.

She reminded workers and employers about the Leave Support Scheme and said no one should feel like they have to go to work if they need to self-isolate.

The isolation check-ups also include welfare checks if people need more.

Ardern said “zero complacency, kindness and teamwork” would ensure the virus was “squashed” again.

Asked about the more than 150 contacts of one of the latest cases, Ardern said they’d “always anticipated” there to be large numbers of people involved in the outbreak with someone who’d been moving around for a week and with the places they’d been visiting.

Who's next in queue for a Covid jab

After border workers their households will be vaccinated, which is about 50,000 people.

The next group to be vaccinated are non-frontline health workers who could pick up the virus through their workforce and pass it onto vulnerable people, like GPs, pharmacists, NGOs and paramedics.

This group is expected to start being vaccinated this month.

Ardern said early evidence on the Pfizer vaccine was “very promising” about preventing onward transmission.

No new cases today

There were no new cases in the community today, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield says.

Bloomfield said all contacts from MIT Manukau’s campus and from the Papatoetoe gym where a case visited had been tracked down.

Contact tracers can enlist finding services and the police if they’re unable to contact someone, said Bloomfield.

Alert level 3 is designed to restrict movement and restrict contact between people which is an incredibly important part of the response, said Bloomfield.

Auckland was plunged into a seven-day lockdown at 6am on Sunday to try contain the latest outbreak which is connected to the Valentine’s Day cluster.

When Cabinet met on Saturday night to respond to the community cases

there was no clear chain of transmission to the 21-year-old student.

This morning Ardern revealed there was a clear chain of transmission to the latest two cases which plunged Auckland into alert level 3 lockdown for a week.

Family members of the newest cases had had contact with people from the second case during the last 72-hour lockdown when they were meant to be isolating.

While infectious the 21-year-old then visited a number of high-risk environments, including the Manukau Institute of Technology, work and a gym.

Anyone who was at the locations of interest are either considered a close contact, a contact or a “casual plus contact”.

Close contacts must: Self-isolate for 14 days and get a test.

Casual plus close contacts must: Please stay at home, get tested as soon as possible and call Healthline on 0800 3585 453. Remain at home until you receive a negative test result. Self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days from your exposure. If symptoms develop after your first negative result, get another test immediately and stay at home until a negative test result is received.

Casual contacts: Monitor your health for the next 14 days. If you begin to feel unwell or develop any Covid-19 symptoms, contact Healthline on 0800 358 5454, get tested and stay at home until a negative test result is received.

The locations of interest:

February 26

• City Fitness, Papatoetoe – 3.25pm – 4.30pm – Casual Plus Contacts

• Hunters Plaza – 3pm – 5pm – Casual

February 25

• Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), Manukau Campus – 12.00pm – 6.30pm – Casual

• Burger King Highland Park – 8pm-9pm – Casual

February 24

• Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), Manukau Campus – 12.00pm – 6.30pm – Casual

• MIT Breaktime Café – 3.45pm – 4.15pm- Casual

February 23

• Your Health Pharmacy, Great South Rd – 3.15pm – 3.20pm – Casual

February 22

• Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), Manukau Campus – 12.00pm – 6.30pm – Casual

• MIT Breaktime Café – 3.15pm – 3.45pm – Casual

• KFC Botany Downs – 3.30pm-12.30am – Close or casual plus

February 21

• Pak n Save Manakau – 6.00pm – 6.10pm – Casual

February 20

• City Fitness, Papatoetoe – 11.15am – 1.45pm – Casual Plus Contacts

• Hunters Plaza – 11.00am – 2.00pm – Casual

• Kmart Botany – CUSTOMERS – 3.30pm – 10.30pm – Close Contacts. Households must also isolate if the customer has symptoms

• Kmart Botany – STAFF – 3.30pm – 10.30pm – Close Contacts. Households must also isolate until staff member returns day 5 test.

• Dark Vapes East Tamaki – CUSTOMERS – 7.00pm- 8.30pm – Close Contacts. Households must also isolate if the customer has symptoms

• Dark Vapes East Tamaki – STAFF – 7.00pm- 8.30pm – Close Plus Contacts. Households must also isolate until staff member returns day 5 test.

How Covid spread

Ardern told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking this means there was a direct chain of transmission in the current outbreak.

After a number of interviews officials discovered the new contact – the two families had contact under alert level 3 last weekend.

“Obviously we’ve had contact here in level 3 when it shouldn’t have happened,” Ardern. said.

“This was a family who was already identified as having Covid and so was part of contact tracing and did not identify that they did have contact with this family.

“So that means we go back, we re-interview and say ‘now that we have identified that this has happened, we haven’t had all of your contacts, are there others?’ and we do all we can to identify whether or not there’s anyone else that there’s been contact with.”

“The most important thing to us is people just telling us. Obviously, we’ve had contact here in level 3 when it should not have happened but the best thing people can do is still tell us the truth,” said Ardern.

“Had we known this, the other family that we’ve now found a week later, they would have been a close contact and they would have been in quarantine and we would not have had this situation. The truth is so important to us.”

Ardern told The AM Show the person had been interviewed by officials and did not disclose the meet-up.

“Whether or not they forgot or lied, I cannot tell you and it’s obviously had devastating consequences,” she said.

She said whether or not any action would result was not up to her.

“People do dumb things but we’re not going to get through this if people pillory them to the point they do not tell the truth.”

She said there were multiple breaches that happened across two families at the centre of the outbreak.

“A decision on whether enforcement action happens or not is not mine,” she said.

Ardern said she was constantly in two minds over saving people from dying and keeping people onside to follow rules.

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