Run of zero days needed for alert level drop

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald / RNZ,
Publish Date
Mon, 14 Sep 2020, 9:33AM
Professor Nick Wilson says Aucklanders should be wearing masks in schools, workplaces and supermarkets. (Photo / Greg Bowker)

Run of zero days needed for alert level drop

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald / RNZ,
Publish Date
Mon, 14 Sep 2020, 9:33AM

Today is the day the country will - once again - find out if it's moving up, down or staying at the same Covid-19 alert level.

Auckland, the epicentre of the second outbreak, has been at level 2.5 for two weeks now while the rest of the country sits down a notch at level 2.

What started as a sub-cluster in an Auckland church widened when it was revealed one member of the congregation had visited a grieving family.

Things were then complicated when it became apparent not all contacts in this sub-cluster had complied with public health requirements.

Infectious disease expert at Otago University David Murdoch told Mike Hosking the Government will likely take a cautious approach.

"I think we're all feeling like there's a lot still happening," he says. "I think it would be unlikely we move [today], but let's see what happens."

Mr Murdoch believes elimination is "still worth chasing".

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health reported one case in managed isolation and another of a health worker in Auckland's Jet Park quarantine facility.

Otago University professor of public health Nick Wilson said Auckland is not ready to slide down the alert level scale, given the new cases.

"I think it would be pretty important to see a run of zero days and I think we're not really making proper use of masks in Auckland."

Wilson said masks were the key to any long term containment of the novel coronavirus in Auckland and beyond.

He said the Government should consider extending the requirement to wear them on public transport to all indoor spaces including supermarkets, workplaces and schools.

"I think that's the way to get very high levels of mask use and that would help speed progress. We're seeing progress with the slow decline in the number of cases but to really accelerate that progress we need to make best use of masks."

Otago University professor of public health Nick Wilson says it's too early for Auckland to move from alert level 2.5. Photo / RNZ

Otago University professor of public health Nick Wilson says it's too early for Auckland to move from alert level 2.5. (Photo / RNZ)
Wilson said high mask compliance on public transport around the country proved that if people are required to wear masks, they would do so.