Thursday, 27 May 2021

Melbourne could have been us

“The lockdown affecting Melbourne right now could just have easily happened to New Zealand,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Government has made us a sitting duck running on luck.

“We’ve seen multiple failures at MIQ facilities any one of which could have resulted in a community outbreak.

“Ashley Bloomfield was quoted today as saying that we face up to five more years of restrictions in terms of gatherings, scanning, contact tracing, isolation and testing.

“But there’s no evidence that the Government has done the work necessary to avoid another lockdown.

“We’re second to last in the OECD for vaccination rates.

“The health system is struggling to contact trace just 15 community cases when the ‘gold standard’ is 1,000 cases a day.

“The Government’s lumbering response makes it far more likely that it will need to resort to blunt measures if we do have an outbreak.

“Many businesses won’t survive another lockdown.

“That’s why ACT has developed a plan for the immediate next steps of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 and a longer term strategy for living in a progressively vaccinated world.

“It is underpinned by five principles: government transparency; faster tech uptake; risk-proportionate responses; a culture of inviting criticism; and continuous improvement.

“It also makes 15 policy recommendations, including:

  • Compulsory COVID-app use including Bluetooth functionality to improve contact tracing
  • Introduce daily PCR saliva testing and the use of Datamine’s ëlarm technology to the border and MIQ workforce to alert them to early signs of infection
  • An Epidemic Response Unit modelled off Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre to replace COVID-19 response leadership by the Ministry of Health
  • Reactivate Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee
  • Rolling out wider use of screening tests.

“Investigating and doing these things requires the Government being prepared to put the effort and resources into them.

“Whatever that resource may be, ACT’s view is the cost will be considerably less than further lockdowns caused by inadequate measures at the border, patchy contact tracing, and a slow vaccination roll-out.”