Friday, 28 August 2020

Gold standard contact tracing a myth


“The Government is falling short of its own targets around contact tracing proving its so-called ‘gold standard’ is a myth,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Government has spent months doing victory laps and assuring New Zealanders its contact tracing is world class, and yet data released by the Government shows it’s fallen short of several of its own targets in the first ten days of the current outbreak.

“One target was for 80 percent of contacts to be in isolation within four days of a person first having symptoms. It only reached 37 percent. That’s a staggering failure.

“Officials have tried to brush this off by saying the data is ‘skewed.’ The data clearly shows the Government just wasn’t ready to deal with another outbreak.

“This comes on top of the Government being unable to meet Dr Ayesha Verrall’s recommendation that it needs to be able to identify the proportion of close contacts found by the tracing app and that the Ministry needed to be able to trace the contacts of 1,000 cases a day. As of 14 July, it had the capacity to manage contact tracing for just 289 cases a day. 

“There is nothing ‘gold standard’ about any of this.

“Only a party vote for ACT is a vote to use intelligent technology. Our policy is:

  • New Zealand Epidemic Response Unit: Based on Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre
  • Government as referee, not player: Allow alternative facilities for safe, electronically-monitored isolation, with strict punishment for rule-breakers
  • Risk-weighted: Treat different countries and travellers with different levels of caution
  • Technology-driven: Such as COVID card, ëlarm, rapid tests, temperature checks and thermal cameras
  • Continuous improvement: Constantly compare ourselves with the best and seek to strengthen our resistance.

“If we want to enhance New Zealanders’ overall wellbeing, we must get a lot smarter. A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to tackle Covid-19 intelligently.”