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Coronavirus Covid 19: Chris Hipkins’ message to Melbourne Kiwis worries about travel bubble

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The mass vaccination would target the students of the Manukau Institute of Technology and their families – and would be an opportunity for people in group 4 to get vaccinated before the scheduled date.

Melbourne Kiwis were worried whether the transtasman bubble for Victoria might end should return home as soon as possible, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.

Melbourne has recorded seven locally acquired cases today, raising concerns that the Delta variant may have traveled there from New South Wales and has yet to be contained.

In a statement, Hipkins said the bubble with Victoria remains open and is awaiting further information.

“There are also a growing number of places of concern, including a sports stadium on Saturdays and several pubs.

“Public health officials are currently reviewing the situation in Victoria and will provide me with advice in due course. In the meantime, I would like to encourage anyone concerned about the potential for a break from travel without quarantine, to make arrangements to return home. home as soon as possible. “

Travelers from Victoria would still need to test negative before departure, he said, and complete a travel declaration form indicating whether they had visited a place of interest.

“I will provide an update once I receive more information from public health officials.”

Hipkins responds to MIQ’s anger

Earlier, Hipkins responded to the frustrations of the Kiwis stranded off due to the inability to secure MIQ spots.

The government has been faced in recent weeks with heightened anger from New Zealanders who have been unable to return home from countries such as Europe, Asia and America because they failed to return home. could not get reservations for isolation after arrival.

But speaking today, Hipkins said that whatever system the government puts in place to allocate MIQ places to returning New Zealanders, demand will continue to outstrip supply.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and MIQ Joint Chief Megan Main during the vaccine update today in Parliament.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and MIQ Joint Chief Megan Main during the vaccine update today in Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell

“There’s a reason I stood here several months ago and told the New Zealanders who had to go home ‘it’s okay now’ – it’s because we had ‘space and because we knew there was a probability at some point in the future that demand would once build again to exceed supply, ”he said.

“New Zealanders abroad who wish to return home were warned of this potential some time ago.”

The MIQ reservation system has also come under criticism after websites popped up that now offer up to $ 2,415 to use bots and scripts to quickly take an MIQ room, while a tech-savvy person now willingly helps them out. people to book MIQ rooms with the help script which partially automates the process.

Some people wishing to return from abroad were unable to reserve any of the 2000 MIQ places for November after being quickly taken. Managed Isolation Co-Head Megan Main said today that when it comes to robots helping with MIQ slot reservations, technology could help, but one person still had to make the actual reservation.

It wasn’t so much a system issue as it was a demand versus supply issue, Main said.
The aim was to make it as fair as possible. A US-style green card lottery voting system has been considered, along with the introduction of a waiting list, she said.

Main said the government should be careful to keep the system stable.

In April and May, rooms were available until September, when supply exceeded demand, when they had now declined in the other direction.

One of the challenges with a waitlist was that it pushed the problem further down the pipeline. They didn’t want people to stay on the waiting list when they no longer needed their reservation.

Demand was currently very high, Main said.

In terms of aligning flights with MIQ slots, as in the case of NSW, Main said they’ve put in place a whole new situation to handle returns. They could do this for a short time, but it was quite complicated and involved hourly conversations with the airlines. This was sustainable for a short burst but was not a long term situation.

In other developments today, amid criticism for allowing international sailors infected with Covid-19 to disembark ashore putting the country at risk, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand “has the obligation “to help people in distress.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins at the post-cabinet press conference in Parliament on Monday.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins at the post-cabinet press conference in Parliament on Monday. Photo / Mark Mitchell

However, she asked more questions about obligations to assist in crew renewal efforts for similar foreign-flagged vessels which had no economic interest and were “against our environmental interests”.

University of Auckland professor Des Gorman told Newstalk ZB he was “very worried” and said they should never have been allowed to land ashore in the first place.
The goal of the quarantine system was to keep the virus off the coast, with measures such as pre-departure testing, he said.

“Here we have shifted the risk from offshore to onshore. Now we have 15 highly contagious people sitting in a building in Wellington. That’s not how you do business.”
He said it was “very likely” that they have the highly infectious Delta variant and said they should be confined to their hotel rooms to avoid an outbreak.

Ardern said the crew aboard the fishing vessel Viking Bay should not have been kept at sea.
New Zealand has an obligation to those who “may be in distress or in need of medical assistance” within the geographic limits of the country, she said.

The sailors are at Wellington’s Grand Mercure, which has opened a second floor to isolate them. The 5-star hotel is a dual-use managed isolation center that houses both infected and uninfected returnees.

Ardern said the government has done everything possible to ensure there is no transfer of the virus.

Although the Grand Mercury is not a dedicated quarantine facility, Ardern said it meets the same standards.

“We are doing everything we can to control infections. We have had cases of Covid in Wellington facilities before, we maintain the same infection controls in all facilities where people might have Covid, no matter if someone has tested positive. “

The Spanish-flagged vessel did not fish in New Zealand waters and was not operating on behalf of a New Zealand fishing company, MPI said.


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