1 Sep 2020

Covid-19: What happened in New Zealand on 1 September

8:57 pm on 1 September 2020

Two separate trials of the CovidCard will still go ahead, despite one of its original backers pulling out, government ministers Kris Faafoi and Megan Woods say.

Man holding Identification white blank plastic id card.

The CovidCard card uses Bluetooth technology to help with more efficient mass contact tracing. Photo: 123RF

The card uses Bluetooth technology to help with more efficient mass contact tracing and is due to be trialled in Rotorua this month, but tech entrepreneur Sam Morgan said he did not see how the card could successfully go ahead without his team even though he did not own the technology.

Government digital services minister Kris Faafoi said Morgan was not the only brains behind the card and the project was not in jeopardy.

Minister in charge of managed isolation and quarantine Megan Woods said there were two trials of the CovidCard - a community trial in Rotorua and another that the government would use within managed isolation and quarantine facilities for staff and returnees.

Morgan's withdrawal from working with CovidCard would have no impact on the latter, Woods said.

The Ministry of Health's data and digital director general Shayne Hunter confirmed it was continuing to work with other people in the private sector on the card.

Case count

The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 14 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, five in the community.

In a statement, the MOH said the five new community cases were all clearly epidemiologically linked to cases that were either epidemiologically or genomically linked to the Auckland cluster.

It said 10 people were in hospital with Covid-19 - two in Auckland City, three in Middlemore, three in North Shore, and two in Waikato.

The total number of active cases is 132. Of those, 33 are imported cases in MIQ facilities, and 99 are community cases.

The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is now 1401.

1 September Covid-19 cases graphic.

File image. Photo: RNZ

The NZ Covid Tracer app has over two million registered users, which is equivalent to half the population aged 15 and over.

Yesterday 8599 Covid-19 tests were processed, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 766,626.

Managed isolation and quarantine testing

The minister in charge of managed isolation facilities Megan Woods says none of the staff in the facilities have tested positive, with 97 percent tested between 21 and 27 August.

The 3 percent who were not tested were on leave or did not enter a facility in the period "under question", she said.

There are about five or six healthcare workers for each MIQ facility.

The next round of testing of MIQ staff is under way and will be completed on 6 September.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

Schools face shortfall

Some high-decile schools are facing shortfalls of many thousands of dollars from donations and fundraising because of the pandemic.

Principals told RNZ the decline in community-raised income was caused by a combination of economic hardship in their communities, uncertainty about running events with more than 100 people, and their own reluctance to ask for money from families that might be struggling.

They said their schools would have to use their savings to pay for extra teachers and teacher aides, and defer spending on equipment and property.

The schools were in deciles 8, 9 and 10 and were not eligible for the government's $150-per-child donation scheme so they were reliant on their communities to top up their government funding.

Benefit applications soar

The number of beneficiaries rose by 12 percent in April this year, the highest increase ever in the past 24 years, and nearly double the next biggest increase.

A report, compiled by the Ministry of Social Development, has assessed the impact of Covid-19 on welfare recipients, and compared it with other recent economic downturns.

It found that, if Treasury projections are correct, and the percentage of the working population on benefits reaches 16.2 percent, it would be the highest number ever - far eclipsing the rate of beneficiaries during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), when it was at 12.4 percent.

It would see the country return to a rate similar during the economic recessions of the late '80s and early '90s.

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