Covid 19 coronavirus: Ashley Bloomfield addresses vaccine plans, virus risk

The director general of health is set to address issues of the vaccine rollout and calls to tighten New Zealand borders as Covid rages across the globe.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield joins Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking this morning to give the latest on measures underway to keep the infection out of the community.

Bloomfield is expected to elaborate on the anticipated vaccine rollout and the wait for protection and whether or not we should be closing the border to high-risk countries.

Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins has indicated essential border staff and health workers would likely be immunised by March, but the rest of the population would have to wait until spring.

Meanwhile further measures are being undertaken at the border to try and prevent the highly infectious Covid variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa from escaping into the community.

Yesterday, the Government officially made it mandatory for almost every traveller coming to New Zealand to produce a negative Covid-19 test before they board a plane.

The new rules will come into force at 11.59pm on Monday, January 25 – this is in a bid to minimise disruption for those passengers with imminent departures.

Previously, only travellers from the UK and the US had to produce a negative test to come to New Zealand.This came into effect last Friday at midnight.

There are currently 85 active Covid cases in New Zealand. All are in isolation.

It includes travellers with the potent new variants from the UK and South Africa.

All travellers arriving into New Zealand – excluding Australia, Antarctica, and some Pacific nations – are now required to have day 0/1 tests and stay in their rooms until the result is known.

At the same time there has been a marked drop off in the use of the Covid Tracer app which is alarming public health professionals.

Data has revealed the number of daily scans on the tracer app has plummeted from its peak of 2.5 million in September to around 500,000 in recent weeks.

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