The public health team at University of Otago, deeply immersed in the country’s Covid-19 management, recommends five measures to improve our control of outbreaks.
What do you think of these?
- Develop a robust system to allow region-specific Alert Levels. They propose Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel, the rest of the North Island, and the South Island.
- Support faster and more complete contact tracing by mandating the use of either QR code scanning or manual sign-ins at all essential services during Alert Level 4. This would include mandating at lower Alert Levels for high risk venues in terms of super-spreading events (eg, bars, night clubs, gyms and churches).
- Reduce the risk of virus transmission by expanding mask use requirements to all essential workers. This should ideally include mask use at Level 4 for all essential workers who are in shared indoor spaces (eg, in factories that are operating under Level 4 to produce essential products such as food, but also for the export market).
- Have a much stronger focus on the vaccination of essential workers – especially those in Auckland. And if demand for vaccinating such essential workers is very high in Auckland – then it would probably make sense to delay the roll-out for other people in Groups 3 and 4.
- Give consideration to suspending or minimisation of incoming international passenger flights during the current outbreak. Protecting space at MIQ facilities and avoiding simultaneous border failures.