17 Oct 2021

Covid-19: What happened on Sunday, 17 October

6:30 pm on 17 October 2021

The official count for yesterday's Super Saturday Vaxathon was announced, while 51 new community cases were reported - including four in Waikato. Here's a summary of today's Covid-19 developments.

Clockwise, from top left: 130,002 doses were given during the Vaxathon yesterday; Restrictions in Victoria will be eased; Epidemiologist Michael Baker calls for further vaxathons; 51 new community cases are reported

Clockwise, from top left: 130,002 doses were given during the Vaxathon yesterday; Restrictions in Victoria will be eased; Photo: RNZ/AFP

Of the 51 new community cases, four are in Waikato, Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Two were linked to earlier cases, while investigations are underway to determine if there are any links for the other two. One is in Hamilton and the other is in Kihikihi, and the ministry said it was possible this case could be the source of the wastewater detections in Te Awamutu.

There is also one household in Wellsford, just north of Auckland, with cases, the ministry said. This follows two positive detections in wastewater in the area. The ministry urged Wellsford residents to remain vigilant and get tested if they have any symptoms.

  • Twenty eight of today's 51 cases are linked
  • There have now been 1945 cases in the current outbreak
  • There are 29 people in hospital, including five in intensive care
  • Nineteen of yesterday's 41 cases have exposure events
  • Twenty two of yesterday's 41 cases were isolating while infectious
  • Two new cases at the border

Vaxathon 'a huge boost'

The official count for yesterday's Super Saturday Vaxathon saw the number of vaccinations just break the 130,000 mark, with 130,002 doses given - 39,025 first doses and 90,977 second doses.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the record-breaking numbers provided a "huge boost" to New Zealand's fight against the coronavirus.

"People across the motu embraced Super Saturday like their communities' lives depended on it. It was inspiring to witness as we know the Covid-19 vaccine is key to our efforts to control the virus."

He said Auckland did "incredibly well" with 41,081 people vaccinated there yesterday, including 9039 first doses and 32,042 second doses.

More needed to ramp up vaccinations

Epidemiologist Michael Baker is calling for more mass vaccination events, saying the first one united the country.

Professor Baker took part in the Vaxathon and said it was a fantastic day.

Baker got his second vaccine in east Porirua and said it was "a really positive atmosphere", which felt like a celebration.

Another epidemiologist, Rod Jackson, said the government must take a new approach in order to vaccinate those who have still not received a shot.

He said those who are vaccine-hesitant need to hear less from government figureheads, and more from community leaders.

Mobile vaccine clinic raises 80k

Donations are flooding in for a community mobile clinic to vaccinate the Tairawhiti region against Covid-19.

Te Aroha Kanarahi Trust set up a Givealittle page last night in response to Super Saturday, with Tairawhiti having the lowest turnout yesterday - only 912 jabs.

More than $80,000 was raised in the first 16 hours.

Trustee Ani Pahuru-Huriwai said the trust did not expect so much public support, and the money would help it do "a really thorough job" to get people in the region vaccinated.

The Trust planned to undertake a five-week campaign, going door-to-door with households, and then vaccinating people at community events over summer.

Victoria to ease restrictions

The lockdown in Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria will lift from 11:59pm on Thursday (local time) when the state is expected to reach its goal of having 70 percent of those aged 16+ fully vaccinated.

Soon, more than 90 percent of Victorians aged 16+ will have had at least one vaccine dose.

Across the state, people will be allowed to have 10 visitors at their home each day, including dependants.

Other changes include lifting the curfew and 15km travel radius restrictions and allowing all children of fully vaccinated adults to attend child care.

Most outdoor venues such as cafes, cinemas and pools will be able to open to up to 50 people, while indoor venues such as cafes and restaurants will be open to 20 people who are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Victoria has recorded 1838 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths.

New South Wales recorded 301 new community cases and 10 deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday.


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