The first meeting of the Epidemic Response Committee has raised some important concerns with New Zealand’s health response to Covid-19, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“We need clarity of purpose in our response and should have the clear objective of eliminating the virus.
“It was reassuring to see Sir David Skegg support calls for a wider testing and contact-tracing regime and quarantining of everyone arriving into New Zealand at the border.
“The Prime Minister has now agreed that more testing is needed following the committee and I look forward to seeing an increase in the number of tests being conducted as a result. National has been calling for this for two weeks now.
“The lockdown has been an important step and needs to continue to limit the spread, but Sir David Skegg described it as similar to ‘pressing the pause button’ on the virus and more measures will be needed to eliminate Covid-19 from New Zealand.
“For weeks it has been too hard to get tested. There are many probable cases who have not been able to get tested because they weren’t overseas recently or don’t have a clear overseas link. The criteria needs to be clear and broad and clinicians need the resources to conduct the tests.
“Australia and Singapore are putting everyone arriving from overseas into quarantine. This is a measure New Zealand should be taking to ensure people potentially incubating the virus are not spreading it in to our communities.
“The scrutiny provided by the Epidemic Response Committee will help us make our national response a stronger one. I look forward to continue working with the Committee to analyse our approach as a country.”