Covid-19: What happened in New Zealand on 3 September

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There were two new cases of Covid-19 announced on Thursday, New Zealand Steel may have to axe up to 200 employees and fewer coronavirus patients die when given steroids, a new study has found.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins gives the daily Covid-19 briefing from Auckland's Middlemore hospital.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Two new confirmed cases

One of today’s confirmed cases was in managed isolation – a woman in her 30s who arrived from the Philippines via Hong Kong on 29 August.

The second was a community case epidemiologically linked to the Auckland cluster.

There are seven people in hospital with Covid-19, five on a ward and two in intensive care.

See all Kogonuso coverage of Covid-19

Total active cases are at 115, including 36 people in managed isolation and 79 from the community.

The total number of confirmed cases in the country is now 1408. Laboratories completed 10,521 tests yesterday.

 

Vaccines will not be compulsory – Hipkins

Health minister Chris Hipkins was forced to quash another rumour swirling in recent days.

Hipkins said vaccines, when available, will not be compulsory.

He said he has been alarmed at the number of people in correspondence expressing concern that would be the case, but says such rumours are the result of deliberate misinformation.

“This is a direct result of misinformation that’s been spread through social media,” he says.

“The government is not making Covid-19 or any other vaccinations compulsory. We will of course when we have a vaccination encourage people to take a vaccination because it will help keep everybody safe.”

You can read more on today’s briefing with Chris Hipkins here.

Air New Zealand executive quits

Chief commercial and customer officer Cam Wallace has resigned from the role due to the airline’s current domestic status amid the pandemic.

Air New Zealand’s chief commercial and customer officer Cam Wallace.

Air New Zealand Chief commercial and customer officer Cam Wallace. Photo: www.airnewzealand.co.nz

Wallace will step down from 30 September but will continue to provide support to chief executive Greg Foran until the end of the year.

In a statement, Foran said Wallace, who has been with the airline for 19 years, told him that he wanted to pursue other opportunities for his global career ambitions given the airline had now effectively become a domestic carrier.

Fewer Covid-19 patients die when given steroids – study

There would be 20 percent fewer deaths from Covid-19 if steroids were part of standard care for critically ill patients, according to a new study.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - MAY 21: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) A nurse wears personal protective equipment (PPE) as she cares for a coronavirus COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit (I.C.U.) at Regional Medical Center on May 21, 2020 in San Jose, California.

Photo: AFP

Research published today pooled data from seven studies and more than 1700 patients from around the world, including New Zealand, and found fewer patients died and less needed intensive care support when they received steroids compared with usual treatment.

The trials looked at hydrocortisone, and two steroids which are similar to prednisone but more potent – methylprednisolone and dexamethasone.

Each of the steroids had a similar effect on survival rates, which New Zealand author, Dr Colin McArthur, said will help with drug shortages as the pandemic marches on.

Students want more NCEA changes

Some teenagers are warning the pandemic has ruined the school year and the most disadvantaged students are losing motivation and need more NCEA changes.

Their comments come after the Education Review Office reported that a third of secondary principals it interviewed in June and July said students were worried the national lockdown earlier this year had harmed their NCEA achievement.

They also come amid calls for further NCEA concessions to recognise that Auckland teenagers had been shut out of their classrooms by two lockdowns.

200 jobs on the line at NZ Steel

New Zealand Steel is to restructure its business with the likely loss of up to 200 jobs, but maintain steelmaking at its Glenbrook mill, its owner revealed today.

The Australian owner of the mill, Bluescope, signalled in May it was reviewing the future of the loss-making business because it was not paying its way.

Between 150 and 200 jobs may go out of the 1400-strong workforce.

Bluescope said last month the restructuring was expected to cost between $AU30-50m.

 

SkyCity profits fall hard

Casino operator SkyCity has reported a 60 percent drop in its normalised profit.

SkyCity says it has been a challenging year due to the New Zealand Convention fire and Covid-19, with significant operational and financial impacts.

Sky City logo

SkyCity’s normalised profit was down 60 percent to $66.3m for the year. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Profits were boosted by a $337 million insurance payout for the Convention Centre fire in October, and asset sales.

Reported net profit was $235m for the year ended June, which also included a $66.4m gain from the sale of its Auckland car park concession in August last year.

However its normalised profit, which removed those one off gains, was 60 percent less than last year, at $66.3 million.

 

Conference sector revenue in freefall

Billions of dollars have been wiped off the events calendar due to the mass cancellation of conferences and conventions.

In a normal year there are more than 5000 business events nationwide, with almost a third held in Auckland.

The sector is typically estimated to be worth $5 billion a year but the on-off limit on gatherings since March has pushed the events industry into survival mode.

Conventions and Incentives NZ chief executive Lisa Hopkins said the impact has been “catastrophic”.

“From the members of our association that I’ve spoken to they’ve gone down to zero events in many cases, everything’s been cancelled or postponed. It’s huge.”

  • 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

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