Vicenarians named vector of Covid-19 transmission

Vicenarians named vector of Covid-19 transmission

Wellington, April 1, 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the media briefing today (Picture Courtesy: Getty Images)

New Zealanders in their 20s are the age group with the biggest numbers of Covid-19 and are “the vector for transmission,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said.

Ardern has thanked NZ for its efforts, but says it’s still too early to say if the level four lockdown was successfully slowing transmission.

Watch her latest update on the response to Covid-19 here:

 

No room for complacency

Ms Ardern said that if the virus was in the community – present but not yet seen – “then the worst thing we could do is be relaxed or too complacent and allow a silent spread.”

She said that if the country was not at Alert Level Four, the Marist and Matamata clusters could have ended up much worse.

“By and large, given what we have done in a short space of time, I think that the majority of New Zealanders are doing an amazing job; we just need to keep reminding that a small proportion who perhaps aren’t taking it seriously, why it is so important. This period of time is our chance to break the chain of transmission. The quicker we do that the sooner we can return to some semblance of normal life … it is about you and your family,” she said.

The affected group

She said the most affected age range in this country was currently those aged 20-29.

“They are our vector for transmission, so I need everyone to take this seriously. They are the ones that pass it on. We do not have a full picture of the extent of community transmission. That is why we have been so focused on testing capacity, which over a period of time we have seen a 91% increase,” Ms Ardern said.

Testing Stations

She said that testing stations had been set up in every community and that it should be made easy as possible for people to get tested, but that testing did fall off over the weekend.

“We have talked to the Director General (of Health) about what we can do to get consistency because that is two days out of seven and we really cannot afford to have testing fall away. We have the capacity, we have the swabs; no matter where you are, you should be able to access a test,” Ms Ardern said.

She said that 2093 tests were done today.

She said that industry leaders had been asked to find infrastructure projects that were ready to start as soon as industry gears up again.

“Work is also under way to speed up consents for the development of infrastructure projects during the recovery from Covid-19 to provide jobs and stimulate our economy. Advance payments would be made to some employers to hire staff so that work could begin as soon as possible, she said.

Price Watch

Ms Ardern said that about 990 emails were received on the first day of the food Price Watch service and the common complaint was the high prices of cauliflower, bread, meat, facemasks and garlic.

“We are taking these complaints seriously. We are investigating complaints that are being made. The process for dealing with complaints is being worked out and we will allow supermarkets a chance to be involved,” she said.

She said that the funding allocated to Whānau Ora commissioning agencies has been fully paid out, helping the agencies to coordinate 100,000 care packages, with over 11,000 delivered to date against the target of 130,000 by the end of the week.

“The investment has also helped to facilitate priority access for testing to vulnerable whānau such as kaumātua,” Ms Ardern said.

Moving numbers

She said that with 61 new cases, New Zealand’s total Covid-19 infections have moved up to 708.

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP – don’t show up at a medical centre

The above Report and Picture have been published under a Special Arrangement with www.rnz.co.nz

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