‘We’re always on high alert,’ says the Prime Minister of New Zealand in response to the Christchurch attacks.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stated that Christchurch is not yet out of the woods, but that new cases in the city can be managed under alert level 2 settings.

While visiting the Hutt Valley Covid-19 Community Vaccination Centre to support their work as a “super accessible” clinic for disabled New Zealanders, Ardern held a media stand-up.

 

Watch the PM’s stand-up here:

The visit comes after two cases were confirmed in Christchurch earlier today.

Ardern said the decision to not go up an alert level in Christchurch today was “consistent with where we’ve seen cases in other parts of the country to date when we have known the origin of those cases”.

“We know that the individual had recently travelled from Auckland. They were in contact with symptomatic individuals in Auckland. We are able, therefore, to contact trace around that individual, we know their movements, we’ve identified their close contacts – all of them are being tested and isolated.

“So the public health assessment from the Ministry of Health today was that because we had those level 2 restrictions already in Christchurch, that helps reduce risk and at this time we weren’t in a position where we needed to move to move to level 3 but we take constant advice on that.”

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Ardern said factors that would push Christchurch into a higher level would include – but were not limited to – more positive cases, potential exposure events that may be high risk, secondary infections – “all of that will feature into the risk assessment”.

She would not say if Christchurch was out of the woods, but said: “We’re constantly in that space when it comes to Covid-19 cases and the management of them. We’re always on high alert.”

She said, even with boundary restrictions in place, it was difficult to create “an iron-clad seal that stops the leakage of Covid-19”.

Ardern said the possible requirement to be vaccinated before crossing boundaries had not been ruled out.

Ardern is travelling around the greater Wellington region to support Covid-19 vaccination initiatives.

She announced the launch of The Manaakitanga Journey, which is a tool to help disabled people get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“These resources are designed to provide every New Zealander with the information and support they need to be protected from Covid-19.”

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She said it was about creating accessible vaccination sites, and also giving people the ability to reach those sites “overcoming any transport issues that may exist”.

She said making health services in general should be made accessible and should not be a “one off” for Covid-19 vaccinations.

“This should be our approach to the design of services across healthcare and across government services generally.”

Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

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