Saturday, 21 August 2021

More questions than answers from 1pm presser


“The Prime Minister’s 1pm announcement brought good news about the situation but also questions about the Government’s response,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“For the most part tests are negative, and genomic sequencing points to only one cluster, while contacts traced so far are mainly in Auckland. We are having good fortune, but questions about the Government’s response keep cropping up.

“The record vaccination day of 56,843 doses yesterday is what New Zealand needs, in fact needed months ago, but it raises a question of supply. As of Sunday there were 286,020 doses warehoused, a rate of 56,843 does per day would exhaust that supply in exactly five days. Has the Government got sufficient supply of doses to maintain this rate, and if not what is its plan?

“The Government is clearly scrambling to get wastewater testing rolled out. Two days ago Ashley Bloomfield said there are 26 wastewater testing sites, but nasopharyngeal testing is what matters. Today Caroline McElnay said there are now 41 sites with more being rolled out, and nasopharyngeal testing is being popped up in Warkworth because of a positive wastewater result.

“The lack of clarity for essential services is astonishing after 18-months. The Government has opened up to couriering all manner of items, but butchers remain shut. It is extraordinary that, if anything, the rules have become less sensible. If the Government’s goal is to minimise contact, it is not obvious why butchers, bakers, and greengrocers cannot operate, but dairies and supermarkets can.

“There is a looming question about the demands being put on health workers. The Roche report into the February Outbreak said: ‘Strategies for addressing tiredness and burnout, while injecting freshness and ongoing self-reflection and self-criticism should be evident and implemented at all levels.’ It’s good that Ardern is praising frontline workers, but this outbreak is much bigger than February, with thousands taken out of circulation while waiting for test results. Is the Government ensuring the past few days are sustainable?”