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Watch: COVID-19 National Response Media Update, 28th April

Apr 28, 2020
616 Views

The All of Government COVID-19 National Response will provide updates at 1.00 pm and 1.30 pm today. The level 4 lockdown has ended and New Zealand is now in alert level 3.

The country will be in alert level 3 for at least two weeks and Cabinet will reveal what happens next on 11 May.

Total number of cases in Southern as of 28 April 2020: 216 (confirmed and probable).
14 are active cases, 200 now recovered and two deceased.

Image: SDHB

Details from today’s update:

  • Dr Bloomfield says there are two new confirmed cases and one probable case.
  • Yesterday there were 2146 tests processed around the country, bringing the total to 126,066 tests. He says this lower number reflects the pattern seen over other public holidays like Easter.
  • 1214 of New Zealand’s cases are reported as recovered, an increase of 34, bringing New Zealand’s recovered cases to 82 percent
  • Dr Bloomfield has restated that the goal of elimination is not that Covid-19 is completely eradicated but that the country has a small number of cases, knows exactly where the cases come from, and can quickly contact trace all the cases.
    “We are by no means in the clear. Elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort to keep it out and stamp it out over many months.”
  • He says like many people he has enjoyed a takeaway coffee this morning, but it is not an excuse to congregate outside cafes and eateries.
    “We do not want to see the sorts of rebound that we have seen in other countries.”
  • He says the eventual goal is that we have effective treatments or a vaccine, but until then the goal of elimination is what will see the country through.
  • Dr Bloomfield says it surprises him to hear a Hamilton man had to wait 12 days before receiving the results of a Covid-19 test, and he will be following up on that
  • He says he does not think the information from the Ministry regarding community transmission is misleading.
    “Just to be more specific about the origin of cases. Some cases it will be community transmission but related to a known case or cluster even if we don’t know where that case or cluster came from originally. In other cases – in a small number – we are not able to make that link. most of those aside from two are pre the first of April, so four weeks ago now, and so they will be the ones that are contributing to that overall percentage that are community transmission.”
  • He says they’re keeping a very close eye on emerging reports about vascular and blood changes, and reports out today from the UK of cases which resemble Kawasaki disease.
    “This infection even though it’s a respiratory infection does affect other systems.”
  • He says while older people are more often susceptible to the virus, some younger people can be affected too and also experience severe symptoms.
    “It is not an innocuous infection at any age group.”
  • He says there are 29 million masks in the country at the moment.
  • He says there’s been a lot of people out and physically active during alert level four and people should maintain that in level 3.
  • “We’re confident that we’ve been able to identify the vast majority of cases so our death rate is on a par with countries like Australia … 1 or 2 percent.”
    He says people should ensure they seek care for health problems, especially chest pain and trouble breathing but also for non-Covid related problems and symptoms.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to speak at the post-Cabinet media briefing

  • Ardern’s briefing will be on the same video stream as Dr Bloomfield’s so stay tuned.
  • Ardern has arrived. “Welcome everyone to day 1 of alert level 3. I want to begin by stressing that at alert level 3 we are not out of the woods.”
  • “As [University of Auckland microbiologist] Siouxsie Wiles said today, there are still some smouldering ashes out there and it has the potential to become a wildfire.”
  • She warns people to “be even more vigilant at level three”, continuing to stay home where possible, stay regional when travelling, keep bubbles small and exclusive, and if people are feeling sick they should stay home, call their GP and get tested.
  • She says about 75 percent of the country is operating under level 3.
    “However we also know that the lockdown has displaced many workers and there is a real need for jobs in our community.”
  • Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni is speaking now.

    She says unemployment will rise before it improves

    She is announcing a suite of ‘keep New Zealand working” service initiatives.
    “The Keep New Zealand working online job platform is now alive, it connects any jobseeker directly to the employer, making it quicker and easier for people to find work. It also provides training courses for those looking to upskill. “
  • “We’re already seeing dramatic increases in unemployment in countries around the world like Australia and the UK and New Zealand has not escaped this reality.”
  • Ardern says the battle against community transmission is an ongoing one. She says the move to a lower alert level depends on circumstances that are more complex than just a specific number of new cases.
    “No one wants to see us go backwards.”
  • Ardern says she has no intention of dramatically lifting alert levels without notice.
  • She says the confusion in world headlines over Dr Bloomfield’s statement yesterday about going into elimination come from the specific terms used by epidemiologists.
  • She says iwi should continue to coordinate with police and the Department of Conservation when it comes to fisheries.

 

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