Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Life after lockdowns - health officials working on new outbreak response strategy

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

As Aucklanders settle into a fifth week of level 4 restrictions, the Government has revealed a strategy is being developed to look at combating a future outbreak without resorting to lockdowns.

The Ministry of Health is expected to present Health Minister Andrew Little with a strategy that will show what our health system could look like if the virus was handled not by a lockdown, but by ways including community home-based care.

"But we also need to make sure that if you are being looked after, you are being monitored effectively," Little told Three's AM Show this morning.

"Australians and other countries are looking at ways of doing that remotely with the public health services, but not taking up space in hospitals.

"So I think it is an important response we need to have available to us."

The new strategy is tipped to be presented to Little within the next three to four weeks.

The way to avoid putting pressure on our health system was to get vaccination numbers up, Little said.

People who were vaccinated against the virus had a much lower chance of needing to be hospitalised, he said.

Government pushing for vaccination percentage rate in the 90s

Even with a highly vaccinated population with the borders open, the number of Covid-19 cases would still go up, Little said.

Having 80 per cent of the population vaccinated was one figure officials are looking at, as other countries had reached that vaccination rate.

Vehicles arrive at the drive-thru vaccination clinic at the Trusts Stadium in Henderson, West Auckland. Photo / Dean Purcell

But the Government wants to do better than that, he said.

"We want to lead the world in vaccination rates."

Little reiterated the high vaccination rate message in his other media interviews this morning, telling Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking they were wanting to reach a target "right up into the 90s".

The Covid-19 vaccination centre at Trusts Stadium in Henderson, West Auckland. Photo / Dean Purcell

New Zealand would then be in a better position to reduce restrictions, Little told Hosking.

"We've got vaccinations for Africa now. We just need to get people through."

Questioned about the rapid antigen testing used across the ditch, the health minister said there was a higher risk to use this method in a smaller population like New Zealand's.

And asked about whether he could have sped the delivery of vaccines, Little said the country had done pretty well considering negotiations began in the middle of last year.

Speaking about vaccinations among Māori, he told TVNZ's Breakfast programme more work needs to be done to get more vaccinated.

Part of that work will be about providing more information to isolated communities, where "theories" about the vaccine were doing the rounds, he said.

"Actually, don't get vaccinated for yourself, it's for your whānau."

Little encouraged Māori to think about their wider community, including kaumātua, when deciding to get vaccinated.

The consequences included hospitalisation if those kaumātua got sick with the virus.

Little acknowledged the lack of access to healthcare among some vulnerable communities - including Māori and Pacific peoples.

Auckland is now in its fifth week of an alert level 4 lockdown. Photo / Michael Craig

Little called on people to get vaccinated in a bid to raise the country's vaccination rates as high as possible - and in order for the community to be safe from Covid-19.

"Let's be the country that gets way up at the top of the 90s."

Locations of interest

Meanwhile, locations of interest continue to pop up in the Auckland region.

They are:

• Chapel Park Superette and Lotto Flat Bush, 2 Thomas Rd, Flat Bush.

• Gull East Tāmaki, Otara.

• SuperValue Supermarket Clover Park, 112N Dawson Rd, Clover Park.

• Mayfield Superette Otara, 15 Johnstones Rd, Otara.

• Tripoli Super Seven Panmure, 91 Tripoli Rd, Panmure.

• Mobil Glen Innes, 292 Apirana Ave, Glen Innes.

The new locations of interest are made up of visits over the weekend - on Saturday or Sunday.

A person who has tested positive for Covid was at the Tripoli Super Seven dairy on Sunday, September 12, between 11.17am and 12.15pm.

That visit is now the latest record of a person with Covid out in the community.

Yesterday's trend showed a number of locations - including a mini supermarket and pharmacy - were on Dawson Rd in Clover Park, South Auckland.

The latest update shows a person with Covid travelled to and from Preston Rd, Otara, to Dawson Rd on Thursday September 2 and last Thursday, September 9.


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