Public cooperation and compliance will help ease lockdown

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Wellington, October 11, 2021

This update shares key information about the government’s response to Covid-19.

It is intended to provide consistent information across central government, local government, CDEM and our key partners. You are welcome to share this update with others.

Key things to note

There are 35 new community cases, all in the Auckland region.

Due to the gradual increase in cases in Auckland, the Cabinet decided to keep Alert Level 3, Step 1 settings in place until at least Monday, October 18, 2021, after which the Cabinet will review Auckland’s Alert Level.

Northland and parts of Waikato will remain at Alert Level 3. This will be reviewed on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

The remainder of New Zealand stays at Alert level 2.

Mandatory Vaccination

The government announced mandatory vaccination requirements today. High-risk workers in the health and disability sector are to be fully vaccinated by December 1, 2021, and to receive their first dose by October 30, 2021. School and early learning staff and support people who have contact with children and students to be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022, students to receive their first dose by November 15, 2021.

Schools in Auckland will recommence distance learning at the beginning of Term 4.

MIQ rooms will be released on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 10 am (NZT) through the virtual lobby. This release will be for dates across November, December and January. There will be approximately 2900 rooms available.

Mandatory Vaccination Requirements: High-risk workers in the health & disability sector

By October 30, 2021, all general practitioners, pharmacists, community health nurses, midwives, paramedics, and all healthcare workers in sites where vulnerable patients are treated (including Intensive Care Units) must receive their first dose.

By December 1, 2021, they must all be fully vaccinated.

These requirements also include certain non-regulated healthcare work, such as aged residential care, home and community support services, Kaupapa Maori health providers, and Non-Government Organisations that provide health services.

The full list will be provided in the next few days.

Healthcare and disability workers have been able to be vaccinated against Covid-19 since March 2021. District Health Boards have already achieved significant high rates of voluntary vaccination, with average rates around 75% so far.

Schools and ECEs

From January 1, 2022, all schools and early learning services providers will need to maintain a register and ensure only vaccinated staff and support people have contact with children and students.

This includes home-based educators, and all support people in our schools and early learning services such as teacher-aides, administration and maintenance staff, and contractors.

Vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 are not yet approved.

The Education workforce needs to have their first vaccine by November 15, 2021.

Secondary schools and kura will also be required to keep a Covid-19 vaccination register for students; those who do not produce evidence of vaccination will be considered unvaccinated.

All school employees in Auckland and other Alert Level 3 regions will be required to return a negative Covid-19 test result before they can return to work onsite.

Those not fully vaccinated in the period leading up to January 1, 2022, will also be required to undergo weekly Covid-19 testing.

Auckland remains in Alert Level 3, Step 1

Following advice from public health officials, Auckland will remain in Alert Level 3.

Cabinet will review these settings again on Monday, 18 October.

The R-value (the reproduction of cases) has crept up in recent days, meaning the number of cases will grow. Alert level restrictions can help control that spread.

On this basis, Auckland will stay at Alert Level 3, Step 1 for another week at least.

People need to follow the rules, by Staying home in their bubbles; Keeping a physical distance, including when meeting up with another household outside; and Wearing a mask and remembering basic hygiene measures.

If you are in doubt about whether your plans are in line with the Alert Level 3, Step 1 rules then don’t do it. To get more freedoms as soon as possible everyone must follow the rules and support others to do so.

Anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 or has been at a location of interest should get tested.

Schools in Auckland

The public health team have advised that the current state of the outbreak in Auckland means there is a need for robust safety measures in place before schools return.

Auckland schools will not open on October 18, 2021, instead recommencing distance learning at the beginning of Term 4. Further public health advice will be provided next week. Students who are currently able to access education facilities will continue to be able to do so.

Northland remains at Alert Level 3

Northland will remain at Alert Level 3 until at least 11:59 pm on Thursday, October 14, 2021.

The Cabinet will review these settings again on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

The case that travelled around Northland while infectious remains uncooperative.

Their travelling companion has been identified but not located. Northland has not had any new cases from the 2,179 tests taken since the case emerged on Friday.

Only 1.1% of the region have had a test over the last 48 hours. This needs to be much higher to be certain that there are not undetected cases.

This is important given the low rates of vaccination in Northland. The two most important things people in Northland can do to return to Level 2 is get tested and get vaccinated.

People in Northland should continue to stay at home, wear a face covering when they do need to leave the house, and keep their distance from people outside their household bubble and get vaccinated.

Waikato remains at Alert Level 3

Parts of Waikato will remain in Alert Level 3 until 11:59 pm on Thursday, October 14, 2021.

The Cabinet will review these settings again on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

More than 23,000 tests have been administered since the first cases in the Waikato were reported on October 3, 2021. That is 4% of the population. This has provided confidence that there is no undetected community transmission.

Waikato has also had the largest increase in vaccinations of any region in New Zealand over the last week. The region now has 79% of people having had the first dose, jumping 5% in the last week.

The Alert Level will remain at Level 3 to give health officials more time to have the reassurance that cases are not more widespread.

People in Alert Level 3 in Waikato should continue to stay at home, wear a face covering when they do need to leave the house, and keep their distance from people outside their household bubble.

Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been at a location of interest should get tested.

Record keeping and privacy

It is important to ensure that any information used for record-keeping purposes is collected, used, stored, disclosed, and disposed of safely and securely in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020. 

If people cannot use the NZ Covid Tracer App, you need to make sure that any alternative method you use for contact tracing protects people’s privacy, and that you only use the information they provide for contact tracing purposes.

You must have an alternative system for people who do not use the NZ Covid Tracer App, this could include a tablet sign-in app or a paper register using individual slips and a box for storage.

Do not leave paper-based records out in the open where others can see the information. This is the leading cause of Covid-19-related privacy breaches.

Templates are available for download on the Unite Against Covid website
Source: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Wellington

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