Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Minister can’t confirm a single contact with Covid tracing app

“The Minister of Health is unable to say whether any contacts have been traced though the Government’s Covid-19 app – proving what a failure the Government has been at contact tracing”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Today in Parliament I asked the Health Minister how many people had been traced with the app and was unable to answer the question saying Public Health Units don’t record how they have identified close contacts.

“It’s deeply concerning that we have no measurement of the effectiveness of the app in finding close contacts.

"We can almost guarantee the answer is none. Even now only a few percent of people are using it, so the chance of matching a contact is next to nothing.

“I tried to ask this question of the Prime Minister but she refused to answer, instead passing it over to Chris Hipkins, because she doesn’t want to be associated with how poorly her Government has let New Zealanders down.

“Just two weeks ago Jacinda Ardern told media the app was an investment in keeping businesses going and the economy open.

“Tell that to Aucklanders who are back under house arrest. If they’d invested in contact tracing properly, we wouldn’t be in this position.

“Contact tracing should have been the Government’s top priority since the nationwide lockdown ended. Instead it spent more than 100 days doing victory laps. Businesses were only required to have QR codes last week.

“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.”