A bit of bragging can be found on the Beehive website today, along with a plan for doing battle with Omricon.
But what is the government’s position as tensions mount and war is threatened on the Ukraine-Russia border?
We have recorded this in our previous blog post but we can’t find an announcement on the government’s official website.
Rather, ministers are bragging about –
- The Government’s Family Package continuing to deliver for New Zealanders. Has there been any suggestion it might do otherwise?
- New Zealand has retained top spot in global anti-corruption rankings. We share the top spot, actually, among the world’s least corrupt countries: the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index released by global anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International, ranks New Zealand first equal with Denmark and Finland, with a score of 88 out of 100.
Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall – it’s fair to suggest – was into bragging, too, when she said “testing improvements see New Zealand well prepared for Omicron”. This came in an announcement that New Zealand’s PCR testing capacity can be increased by nearly 20,000 tests a day to deal with a surge in cases as part of our wider COVID-19 testing strategy.
It was Verrall’s job, furthermore, to announce the Government’s “three phase Omicron plan that aims to slow down and limit the spread of an outbreak”.
This seems to be a plan to change tack as more and more people become infected and put increasing pressure on precious but limited health resouorces.
“Through the course of managing Omicron, we will be taking a phased approach. As case numbers grow both testing and isolation approaches will change in response,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.
“Other countries have had to adapt their response in the middle of widespread outbreaks. We are setting out the changes ahead of large case numbers to give people a clearer idea of what to expect and what they need to do at each phase.
Vaccination remains our most effective weapon against the virus in phase one, Verrall said.
Contact tracing, isolation, and testing are in the armoury too.
In Phase Two, the government’s objective will be to slow the spread and protect vulnerable communities.
This will entail focusing much more on identifying those who are at greater risk of severe illness from Omicron.
As resources come under pressure from a rapid escalation in case numbers, health authorities will shift from identifying all infected individuals to being more targeted to those most at risk and those needed to keep the country going.
Hmm. People needed to keep the country going. Does that mean all taxpayers?
We suspect not.
Digital technology will be used more in this phase. Cases will be notified via text message and be directed to an online self-investigation tool which will focus on high-risk exposures.
Rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be integrated into the testing system at this phase.
At Phase Three, when cases are in the thousands, the definition of contacts will be changed to household and household like contacts only. The highest-risk contacts will need to isolate.
“Supported self-service, rapid antigen testing for diagnosing COVID and a self-service tool to enable identification of high risk contacts will be significant to respond to the high volumes of Omicron cases.”
Clinical care and welfare support will be targeted based on need.
“Omicron is now in more than 80 countries around the world. By delaying its arrival here we’ve had the time to kick off boosters, vaccinations for children, and prepare. I encourage everyone to use the coming days to take steps at home and with your family, neighbours and community to make a plan. Resources to help you do this are on the Unite Against Covid-19 website,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.
Latest from the Beehive
The Government has announced a three phase Omicron plan that aims to slow down and limit the spread of an outbreak, Associate Minister of Health, Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today.
The Families Package continues to deliver better outcomes and lift incomes for low- and middle-income whānau across the motu, with more than half of families being supported by the package, including over two thirds of all Māori and Pacific whānau with children, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said.
Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has welcomed news of New Zealand’s ongoing position as top in the world anti-corruption rankings.
New Zealand’s PCR testing capacity can be increased by nearly 20,000 tests per day to deal with a surge in cases as part of our wider COVID-19 testing strategy.