Friday, 20 August 2021

Answers needed over testing and tracing


“The Ardern Government has had 18 months since the last Level 4 lockdown and there hasn’t been enough preparation done on testing and tracing,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Thousands of people are lining up for testing for hours on end. Why wasn’t there a solution in place?

“Saliva testing has been proven as effective as nasal-pharyngeal testing, yet only 49 tests were carried out in quarantine facilities for the entire month of July.

“There can be 10,000 saliva tests carried out a day, why is the Ardern Government not rolling this out, prioritising essential workers? A huge number of the Auckland workforce is unable to work, instead spending hours waiting for a nasal swab and another day for the test to come back.

“Wastewater testing should be increased to daily nationwide. When it comes to Alert Level decisions, days matter. Knowing COVID has been detected would help inform whether places should stay in lockdown, but the Ardern Government is only testing twice a week.

“Vaccinations are well behind where they should be. Countries overseas have had drive-through vaccination centres operating for months, but Ardern blames the DHBs.

“Our contact tracing is currently at 71 percent within 48 hours, the goal is 80 percent. If it never met pre-Delta standards, what confidence can we have that it’s adequate now?

“New Zealand is an island nation that had every advantage in its favour. Yet, after 18 months, we’re back where we started. Instead of self-congratulations, the Government should have been focussed on improving testing, tracing and vaccinating.

“When Jacinda Ardern announces today that Auckland and potentially the rest of New Zealand remains in lockdown, she should be prepared to answer why our defences weren’t better, and how she will improve them from here.”