COVID-19: Aucklanders call for clarity ahead of Cabinet’s alert level decision

Goff said that while the Cabinet must follow the advice of the Director General for Health, priorities need to be “balanced”.

“There is a hell of a lot of suffering in the community, not just the disease, but the impact on people whose incomes have been cut, whose businesses are failing, children who cannot be raised.”

He said the next steps for the city are to vaccinate as many people as possible and make sure Aucklanders adhere to the rules of the new Graduated 3 Alert.

“Even though we lifted the restrictions, we still have to abide by the rules and that is vital.

“I know when you get some of your freedom back, you’re like, ‘Well, hey, things are going back to normal’, we’re not back to normal, but we have to follow these rules.

“Unfortunately, some of the problems we face are because some people, a tiny minority, are irresponsible and selfish.”

Goff said mandating rapid antigen testing for those crossing the Auckland border “makes sense”.

“We have to make the borders as effective as possible, but at the same time, of course, you also have to have freight transport and all the things that make the economy live.”

With only one week of vacation left, the Secondary Principals’ Association wants a plan on how to safely open schools in Auckland.

President Vaughan Couillault said a public health ordinance mandating tests and vaccinations for teachers would be a relief.

“I think what would make us happy is a decision one way or another, the community wants the security and if regular tests provide that certainty …

“The public health message was about vaccinations first and then testing, and if the cabinet makes a decision I wouldn’t expect them to stray too far from it.”

But even if a teacher were given their second dose of vaccine now, they would not be covered until schools reopen on October 18.

Couillault said talks are being held on how to mitigate this problem, with regular testing by unvaccinated employees being touted as an option.

“There are a number of options, vaccination is obviously the preferred option, but if that can’t or won’t happen, we’re hoping for something near the test lines.

“The parenting community is beginning to express concern about the health and safety implications of such conditions, especially in primary education or in the under 12s where students do not have the opportunity to get vaccinated even if they wanted to.”

He said there is less noise in secondary education but parents are asking questions about child safety.

Couillault said the reopening of education may have to be delayed if a public health ordinance is passed requiring schools to meet certain benchmarks.

For example, introducing a mandatory testing threshold for students could delay schools reopening by more than a matter of days, he said.


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