No extra precautions to prepare against Delta

Tue, 03 Aug, 2021

"The Australian Prime Minister has called the Delta variant a game-changer. Chris Hipkins agrees and told Parliament today that contact tracing wouldn't be able to contain it,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

"But what sort of rethink has the Government done in light of the Delta variant? It appears nothing has changed.

"Delta was first detected in 2020 and named in May this year but as far as New Zealand Government policy is concerned, the Delta variant doesn't exist.

"Today in Parliament I asked Hipkins point blank what policy changes the Government would be making in how it would deal with an outbreak of the Delta variant, he replied that an announcement would be made but he couldn’t say when.

“As usual, this Government is unable to be proactive.

“The vaccine rollout has become a farce. We’ve gone from the front of the queue to bottom of the OECD. Every day we’re not vaccinated poses a risk.

“ACT’s COVID 2.0 plan is underpinned by five principles: government transparency; faster tech uptake; risk-proportionate responses; a culture of inviting criticism; and maximising human wellbeing.

“It also makes 15 policy recommendations, including:

  • Compulsory COVID-app use including Bluetooth functionality to improve contact tracing
  • Introduce daily PCR saliva testing and the use of Datamine’s ëlarm technology to the border and MIQ workforce to alert them to early signs of infection
  • An Epidemic Response Unit modelled off Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre to replace COVID-19 response leadership by the Ministry of Health
  • Reactivate Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee

“We need a plan; we can’t keep relying on luck. It’s time for the Minister to start preparing New Zealand for this game-changing variant.”