COVID-19: Robertson calms fears over new South African variant, but says New Zealand should be cautious

“But this is a good example of why we need to be cautious. There is no need for concern for New Zealand at this point, but it does point to the fact that the global pandemic is still ongoing and New Zealand’s response needs to be cautious, methodical and prudent.”

He noted that the World Health Organization convened overnight and there is still some debate about the contagiousness of this variant.

Dr McElnay said New Zealand is monitoring the situation closely and will have genome sequenced in any case that comes across the border.

Robertson said they had not received any advice to consider a travel ban to South Africa, but New Zealand has a high-risk country list and would seek advice on that.

Robertson also said that the eighth round of wage subsidies began this morning, including the time period when the country is no longer in the alert level system but payments will still be made.

He said he had reached the 90 percent first dose milestone of 13 DHB today at noon. New Zealand’s overall first dose rate now sits at 92 percent, he said.

Today, he said, reservations are now open for Pfizer’s booster shots for those who completed their course at least six months ago. As of today, reservations for the AstraZeneca vaccine have started.

When asked if the healthcare system is ready for Delta, Robertson said that it is constantly improving its ability to deal with Delta.

Robertson said it’s clear that we’ve managed to slow and minimize the spread of the Delta, and that we’re prepared as no country has succeeded in eradicating the Delta.

“I think the healthcare system has been successful in managing a Delta epidemic, I agree that everything will not be 100 percent perfect.”

Meanwhile, an extended mandate sworn police officers, authorized officers and soldiers, and all Defense Force personnel They will need to have their first vaccination by January 17, 2022, and their second by March 1, 2022.

Robertson said he does not expect the police to back down from mandatory vaccination.

When asked why it took so long for the police to be vaccinated, Robertson said it was a process that needed to be worked on with the workforce, with the final point being that if they were not vaccinated, frontline police officers would not be able to take on their duties. .

“We don’t want to give power of attorney where we don’t believe there is a very urgent need, but we do it step by step.”

RNZ

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