Covid 19 coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern on the Government's virus response

Covid 19 coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern on the Government's virus response

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will provide updates on the Government’s Covid-19 response at 1.30pm today.

Today there are no new cases of Covid-19 for the second straight day.

There are no cases of community transmission, and the 22 active cases are all into quarantine or managed isolation.

One person into Auckland City Hospital is the into a stable condition.

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Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said today that the pandemic continued to surge worldwide, including into places where lockdown controls had been relaxed.

Melbourne had reimposed restrictions into the wake of community transmission there, and Bloomfield said local lockdowns were an option if local outbreaks occurred into New Zealand.

He urged ongoing vigilance, including staying at home if you feel sick and calling the doctor if you have any cold or flu symptoms.

He asked people to keep up-to-date contact details with their GPs or with the NZ Covid Tracker App.

Yesterday Ardern deemed the calls to re-open the border “frankly dangerous,” saying to do so while the pandemic unfurled overseas would risk Covid-19 returning to our shores.

Imported cases had sparked outbreaks into New Zealand, and the current strict border measures were what allowed the current freedoms Kiwis could enjoy, as a resurgence of the virus into Melbourne forces Australian authorities to consider reinstating restrictions.

The Government was considering opening up to Australia and the Pacific, but anything further was currently out of the question, Ardern said.

National Party leader Todd Muller on Tuesday asked for clarity around the criteria for mandatory quarantine measures into the medium and long term, but did not call for borders to be opened up into the short-term.

On Monday he said that waiting for a vaccine or for other countries to eliminate Covid-19 before the border reopens would leave New Zealand “on its knees”.

And Ardern had a stern warning for any Kiwis with itchy feet planning a holiday abroad – don’t.

“Enjoy your own backyard,” Ardern told reporters Tuesday morning.

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Those leaving New Zealand for non-essential reasons could be forced to pay for their mandatory two-week quarantine upon returning – forking out thousands of dollars at the tail end of their getaway.

The Government was “moving quickly” on the issue and considering changing the law to ensure Kiwis heading overseas on holiday would have to pay for 14 days’ quarantine or managed isolation on their return, she said.

Figures released to RNZ showed 60 people left the country after alert level 4 was introduced and returned before May.

To the end of June, the Government has estimated it would spend $81 million on moving 21,500 Kiwis through border facilities – at an average of $3800 per person.

Ardern said holiday-makers should face a full payment, rather than a co-payment.

“I’d say if you ‘re making the choice at your expense to travel overseas, then you should meet the full cost of that holiday.”

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