28 Feb 2021

Covid 19: Not following the rules 'puts all of us at risk' - Auckland mayor Phil Goff

From Sunday Morning, 12:15 pm on 28 February 2021

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff wants tougher measures against people ignoring Covid-19 health guidance.

Mayor Phil Goff by the production line team at Spark Arena.

Phil Goff at the production line team at Spark Arena during New Zealand's level 4 lockdown last year. Photo: Bryan Lowe

He said it is frustrating to learn one of the two community cases confirmed yesterday was not isolating while symptomatic.

Goff said if New Zealanders follow the rules, as most people have done in the past, then we will get through this.

"But what's hugely disappointing to me ... is that there are some people maybe through ignorance, maybe through irresponsibility, that haven't followed the rules and that puts all of us at risk."

Goff said he understands that taking a highly punitive approach to those who break the rules may well be counterproductive by discouraging them from getting a test if they do have symptoms.

But he said for example, that he would like police to sanction people for not wearing masks on public transport.

"If we think that somehow we're immune or not covered by the rules and we go out and we flout them, that's when we get the spread and you know we've all got the example of Melbourne, just across the ditch from us and the huge impact and deaths and in economic and in personal disruption that caused."

Goff said the government has moved decisively to stop any super spreading events in Auckland.

He said the authorities may also want to consider making it mandatory to wear masks inside in a public place such as a supermarket at alert level 3, not just on public transport as is currently the case.

Goff acknowledged moving to alert level 3 is hugely disruptive and effects major family events such as weddings, as well as restricting funerals to only 10 people.

"It's something you really don't want to do but the alternative option of not doing that, we've seen that big gatherings like weddings have lead to the super spreading of Covid-19."

He said a quick and efficient roll-out of the vaccine will help Auckland to get out of the situation of repeatedly going into level 3 restrictions.

He said there has to be some priority in vaccination after the health workers and the frontline border staff.

"There has to be some priority to the region that is just getting hammered time and again because we are the gateway city, but we can't avoid that that's where the international airport is for the country but because we also have more than a proportionate share of those quarantine facilities."

Goff said he wanted to thank the overwhelming number of staff and students at Papatoetoe High School who have done the right thing.

He said they have all been tested twice for Covid-19.

"The fact that one of the dozen that weren't tested was one of the ones that showed up with symptoms, I mean that just shows you overwhelmingly people can do the right thing, but it only takes one or two people to let the side down for that to undermine our overall efforts."

This is an official government COVID-19 announcement.

From 28 February, the Auckland region moves to Covid-19 Alert Level 3. The rest of New Zealand moves to Alert Level 2. This is for a period of seven days. Further community cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the Auckland Region. If you are in Auckland, stay home where possible, and follow Alert Level 3 guidelines. This will stop the transmission of Covid-19 and save lives. For more information on the alert levels go to covid19.govt.nz.

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Kia Kaha - Stay Strong