Covid 19 coronavirus: No new community cases, one in managed isolation

Today there are no new community cases of Covid-19, but one new case in managed isolation.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border is one and the total number of active cases in New Zealand is 17.

Unvaccinated border workers

About 3800 border workers haven’t had a single vaccine jab yet, nor have about half of the 50,000-odd household contacts of border workers who are meant to be at the top of the priority queue.

And the latest figures suggest there are about 1100 workers at the border who are not getting tested within the required timeframe.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield wouldn’t say if he was concerned, saying instead his main concern was about people in general getting vaccinated.

But epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said it was “hugely concerning” such a large proportion of the border workforce and their households remained unvaccinated.

“Having them vaccinated at the frontline is critical to maintaining elimination because it sets up a safety barrier at the border.”

For that reason all border workers, not just those in MIQ, and their households should be getting vaccinated before people in other priority groups such as healthcare workers or the elderly, he said.

There are an estimated 13,000 border workers over a fortnightly period. That includes about 4500 workers in MIQ facilities, 95 per cent of whom have had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Of the remaining 8500 non-MIQ border workers, about 4500 of them are fully vaccinated, while 200 have had one Pfizer jab.

That leaves about 3800 border workers at airports and sea ports, or transporting to and from there, who are yet to have a single vaccine dose.

NZ-Victoria travel bubble

New Zealand’s pause on quarantine-free travel with Victoria is set to end at 7.59pm on Thursday, and Bloomfield is confident Kiwis returning from the Covid-hit state will not pose a threat of bringing the virus to New Zealand.

Victoria today recorded two new local cases of Covid-19, bringing the number of local cases in the state’s latest outbreak to 71. Greater Melbourne’s lockdown is set to end at 11.59pm Thursday local time.

Bloomfield told RNZ he was confident those eyeing up first flights out of Melbourne did not pose a health risk to the community. He said safeguards were being implemented, including the need for pre-departure testing, as an assurance the infection that put Victoria into a “circuit breaker lockdown” would be held at bay.

While authorities had considered the need for returning residents and citizens to self-isolate when they were back in New Zealand, because they had already spent a fortnight in self isolation in lockdown, the low number of new infections, and a negative pre-departure test, all provided a “high level of reassurance” the risk was very low.


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