29 Oct 2021

Covid-19: Auckland border should have mandatory vaccination - Nick Wilson

From Morning Report, 7:13 am on 29 October 2021

A public health expert thinks officials have dismissed the need for tighter internal border controls and may fail to stop the spread of Covid-19 in Christchurch as a result.

Two unvaccinated people have tested positive in Ōtautahi after one of them returned from Auckland.

Professor Nick Wilson of Otago University told Morning Report the border rules for level three areas, which only require proof of a Covid-19 test in the last week, are far too loose.

"The only requirement is to have a PCR negative test within the seven days prior to travel, and a lot of us have been actually caught saying that this is way too lax and that there should be a requirement for people to be fully vaccinated, and even to have a rapid antigen test at the border crossing point."

Professor Wilson said a requirement to be vaccinated to cross the border would make a lot of sense, but should have happened weeks ago at the start of the Auckland outbreak.

He said it would be reasonable to give people three to four weeks' notice and then bring it in.

"People in the trucking industry have had months to get vaccinated, and this would really focus people's minds.

"And we really do want to avoid this type of Christchurch situation happening in the coming months because we really want the rest of the country to catch up with vaccination levels."

Morning Report asked Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins to discuss this topic on the show on Friday but he was unavailable.