24 Sep 2020

Vigilance urged as Auckland Covid restrictions ease

6:04 pm on 24 September 2020

Despite the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in New Zealand this week, Pacific health leaders are calling on their communities to be more vigilant and not take part in large gatherings.

Auckland remains at alert level two for another fortnight with the rest now at alert level one.

SPC Director-General, Colin Tukuitonga.

SPC Director-General, Colin Tukuitonga. Photo: Pacificwomen.org

But head of the Pacific Expert Advisory Group, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, warns mass gatherings are where the spread of the virus takes place.

Tukuitonga said people should continue to follow the appropriate health advice.

"Even though we're now at level two, if people can avoid big gatherings, I would because say there was a stray case out in the community, a mass gathering runs the risk of spreading that," he said.

"People still should behave as if there's a virus and a risk of infection in the community by washing their hands.

"If they have symptoms suggestive of Covid-19, they should get tested."

Dr Corina Grey, of the Pasifika Medical Association, agrees with her colleague and is urging viligance to improve the city's alert level status.

She said there is still a risk that community transmission of the virus will return.

"It's been a really tiring year and everyone is feeling a bit burnt out so it's important that we're not slacking off at this stage.

Dr Corina Grey.

Dr Corina Grey. Photo: Supplied/Pasifika Medical Association

"It's important we keep going, continue to work as a team and recognise that our actions will affect other people."

"We've heard plenty of stories from Pasifika people who have had Covid-19 and are speaking out to say that this virus should be taken seriously."

Grey said the Pacific community was doing a great job supporting each other through this crisis, which she added showed how serious the community was taking the threat.

"We're fortunate to be living in a country which is taking the virus very seriously," she said.

"We've seen in other countries where this hasn't been the case and unfortunately, they've had very high death rates and very high rates of people being hospitalised with Covid-19. This will be our new normal until we can find a vaccine."