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RNZ News

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield today gave a briefing on the vaccine rollout and current cases which showed a sharp jump over the past few days.

Dr Bloomfield confirmed there were 45 new community cases of covid-19 today – all in Auckland.

Of these cases, 33 were known to be household or contacts of existing cases. All had been isolating at home or in quarantine during their infectious period, Dr Bloomfield said.

He said many of today’s cases were linked, and in some sense “they were expected”.

Hipkins said the 45 new cases were a “sobering number”. But because they were known cases, alert level decisions were made on many other factors.

“I would encourage people not to read too much into it. We’re still aiming to run this into the ground,” he said.

Dr Bloomfield said quite a proportion of the cases were among groups of people who were in transitional or emergency housing.

“Teams are working very hard with a range of agencies to support those people.”

He said everyone in Auckland must stay within their bubbles and wear face masks.

Watch the update
RNZ News video of the media briefing.

Dr Bloomfield said the Ministry of Health was asking workers in construction, hospitality and retail, who were working in level 3, to get two tests at least five days apart over the next couple of weeks, whether they had symptoms or not.

“I would like to emphasise, this testing is voluntary,” he said.

Hipkins said that at midnight the requirement would come into force for all border workers and roles where they might come into contact with covid-19 to be vaccinated.

As at this morning, 98 percent of active border workers had been vaccinated with at least one dose and 93 percent were fully vaccinated, he said.

That included 95 percent of port workers.

“I do want to remind anyone who works at the border but has yet to be vaccinated that they now have 24 hours until midnight tomorrow night to get their first vaccination if they wish to continue to work at the border,” Hipkins said.

Vaccine rollout update
Dr Bloomfield said 80 percent of the eligible population in Canterbury had now had its first dose of the vaccine. He said that by Christmas most Cantabarians would be fully vaccinated.

“Keep up the good work Canterbury,” Dr Bloomfield said.

Yesterday, 44,000 doses of the covid-19 vaccine were administered.

Nationally, 78 percent of the eligible population – 12 years and over – had had their first dose of the vaccine, Hipkins said.

Nearly half of the eligible population was now fully vaccinated.

Hipkins said 55 percent of Māori had had their first dose, 29 percent their second.

Among Pasifika, 71 percent had had their first dose, 40 percent their second.

‘Covid for Christmas’
Hipkins said he had not read National’s plan to reopen New Zealand in full yet.

“It’s clear that the National Party want to throw open the borders, have hundreds of thousands of people coming in. Therefore, one can conclude that the biggest promise they’re making at the moment is that they’re willing for Kiwis to get covid for Christmas.

“The reality here is that they haven’t provided any modelling for the number of Covid-19 cases that they would be willing to tolerate or what they would do in certain scenarios because it would almost certainly result in significant numbers of cases in the community.

“They’ve given no indication of what they would do around managing that.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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