Hipkins was appearing with Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield at today’s Covid-19 briefing at 1pm.
There are no new Covid-19 cases in the population today, according to Bloomfield, and two new imported cases have been confirmed in Controlled Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities.
According to Bloomfield, one of the new cases arrived from India and tested positive on day three, while the other arrived from Pakistan and tested positive on day seven – the latter case is a touch of an earlier identified case.
It has been revealed that the security guard who tested positive for Covid-19 last week at the Grand Millennium controlled isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility had his last test in November, amid the anticipation of fortnightly monitoring.
The quarantine is overseen by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Jobs, and chief executive Carolyn Tremain told a Parliamentary select committee this morning that her officials were still checking the results.
Hipkins said that an investigation was underway into how that occurred, but existing guidance was that the documents the individual sent to his boss said that he had been checked, when in reality the most recent test was in November.
According to Hipkins, employers have a right to insure that their employees are screened.
He believes that before any fees or fines are levied, a rigors investigation must be conducted.
He claims to have signed an order last night on the border working checking registry, making it obligatory for employers to use the register beginning on April 27.
“The register notifies workers three days before they are due to be tested via text messages.”
According to Hipkins, employers are contacted two days in advance.
He claims that all employees will now be subjected to a weekly training cycle.
Dr. Bloomfield said this afternoon that the guard’s casual-plus and near encounters have both come back negative.
With 101 active cases in New Zealand, the seven-day rolling average of new cases reported at the border is eight. There are a total of 2233 confirmed cases.
Hipkins predicts a rise in the number of available rooms in MIQ facilities at 11.59 p.m. on April 18, when the trans-Tasman bubble opens.
“We are already seeing that.”
There are already more rooms available, Hipkins says.
There were four new cases of the novel coronavirus in managed isolation facilities identified in yesterday’s update.
So far more than 135,585 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been rolled out, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.
The weekly total is 34,378 people, with 43 percent of those delivered in Auckland.
He says one million vaccines will be delivered over the next 12 weeks.
Dr Bloomfield said Pfizer and Medsafe had given approval for Pfizer’s vaccine to be stored for up to two weeks at -20C before it is used or returned to -70C. He said this would help with transporting the vaccine.
Bloomfield says in Auckland there is capacity for 760,000 doses in freezer storage.
In Christchurch there are two freezers which are not being used yet but can be and in the Auckland freezers there are 315,000 doses of the vaccine. More freezers are on order before the end of June.
He says there are a few new vaccination centres in Auckland – but it is by invitation only.
Hipkins says there will be more than 1 million additional Pfizer vaccines administered to New Zealand’s priority groups, which is in the first wave of the vaccination program that runs until June.
He says weekly updates will be provided.
According to DHB prediction figures, vaccines should be deep into category 3 (people over 65 and those with chronic medical conditions) by the end of June. Group 3 will begin in late May.
Hipkins reports that about 88.5 percent of MIQ employees have been vaccinated as of last night in controlled isolation facilities.
According to Hipkins, the MIQ population consists of 4497 individuals, 513 of whom have yet to receive their first vaccine.
According to Hipkins, tough talks between frontline staff and their employers will begin on Monday.
“By the end of the month there will be nobody working in those frontline roles who hasn’t had at least one dose of the vaccine.”
According to Counties Manukau DHB, Auckland still had half the amount of Covid-19 vaccinators required for the launch as of this morning.
Medsafe was said to be meeting yesterday to decide whether to recommend the single-dose Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for use in New Zealand, with a decision anticipated tomorrow.
The vaccine, a one-shot immunisation made by Johnson & Johnson, was not approved by Australia’s health authority, and the vaccine was even halted in the United States due to unusual blood clots.
This week, the main nurses’ association expressed alarm over non-clinical personnel administering Covid-19 vaccines.
New functions on NZ Covid Tracer app
Bloomfield says there’s a new swirl icon on the Covid Tracer app that will appear once people have tracked for 14 days in a row.
Bloomfield claims to be on a 13-day streak. Hipkins is on 11 despite not visiting any locations with QR posters on several days during the Easter weekend.