Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that a year since MIQ was created, 86 percent of its employees have been vaccinated, while also announcing a state memorial service for Prince Philip.
Watch the briefing here:
Speaking after the weekly Cabinet meeting this afternoon, Ardern said employers of MIQ workers had until the end of the month to redeploy frontline workers who had refused a vaccine to another role.
Last Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the establishment of Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities in New Zealand, and Ardern thanked all who worked there.
She mentioned that the plan was to insure that all MIQ employees were given the opportunity to receive the vaccine before deploying them elsewhere if they did not.
Employers were asked to include up-to-date details about their employees’ vaccine status on Tuesday last week as well as March 31, she said. Workers on the front lines should be immunised by the end of April.
Last Wednesday, guidance was given for employees who were unable or unable to be vaccinated.
“On March 23, efforts were stepped up requiring employers to have individual conversations with their workers, to record and identify their vaccination status, and provide support for those not yet vaccinated.”
“By the end of April, those not yet vaccinated will not be permitted to work in high-risk workplaces and will be moved to other roles.”
She said 3472 of the total 4010 MIQ workers had been vaccinated, leaving 538 unvaccinated.
“Our position has always been that from a certain date those who are not vaccinated will need to move from the frontline. That date was previously set as the 12 April through 30 April.”
The vaccination campaign was the “biggest and most ambitious” in the country’s history, she said.
A third worker at Auckland’s Grand Millennium run isolation facility tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday.
Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said the worker had not been vaccinated this afternoon, and said genomic tests revealed a very strong and near correlation between all three cases.
At the 1 p.m. media conference, he said that unvaccinated MIQ personnel will continue to operate on the frontlines for the next three weeks. Unvaccinated staff had until the end of April to accept the offer of vaccination or be redeployed, he added.
Ardern reported last week that quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand would begin on Monday.
She also suspended travel from India for two weeks from 11 April to 28 April, the first time New Zealand has stopped citizens or residents from returning.
State memorial service for Prince Philip
Ardern paid tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and the many links he had to New Zealand this afternoon.
She announced that a state memorial service for the Prince will be held in Wellington at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21.
The day is the same as the Queen’s own birthday. Ardern stated that they had to consider not extending the service for too long after the official funeral.
“We’re also having to juggle investitures here in New Zealand, so there were some challenges but that was the closest proximity to the funeral that we were able to hold that event.”
Tomorrow flags will fly at half-mast and the House will sit with party leaders expected to acknowledge the prince in speeches.