Lockdown no longer short or sharp

Mon, 23 Aug, 2021

“The Government’s inadequate testing and tracing have let us down, leaving us in lockdown for at least two weeks,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Prime Minister now tells us that ‘early modelling’ predicted cases would peak on day eight. Why did she promise a three and seven day lockdown, if she had that advice? It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that short and sharp was never viable, and the Prime Minister knew it.

“The official release from the Ministry of Health today says 13,230 have been identified, but only 6,773 have been contacted, of which less than half have been tested.

“The Prime Minister announces 108 thousand tests but the real number is the number of contacts tested. Fewer than five per cent of tests were actually tests of close contacts.

“If close contacts had been traced more quickly and been prioritise for testing, we would be less likely to have to stay in lockdown for longer.

"It's been 16 months since now-Cabinet Minister Ayesha Verrall's report recommended the contact tracing system be able to manage 1000 new Covid-19 cases a day, the system is currently being overwhelmed by 107 cases.

“What’s more the Government is still not being open and transparent about testing. It announces how many close contacts have had a test, but not how many have had results returned.

“What we need to know is how many contacts have been identified, how many contacted, how many tested, and how many negative test results have been returned? How difficult is it to share the data when the press conference begins?

“The implication is that the Government cannot trace a Delta outbreak under Alert Level 4 conditions, let alone lower levels of alert. Lockdowns are the only effective tool this Government has, given its woeful testing, tracing, and vaccinating.

“On vaccinating, the Prime Minster is pluming the depths of propaganda over openness and transparency. Not only did she share the percentage of over 40s who have booked for a vaccination, but went further, saying that the goal should be for 100 per cent to have had a booking or a vaccination. Bookings do not protect against COVID.

“ACT sends our sympathies to all New Zealanders whose lives are severely impacted by today’s decision. Let’s not forget that this means home schooling, businesses shutdown and medical needs put on hold.

“The Government must work harder to test and trace so we can move out of this as soon as possible.”