COVID-19

Lots of law, not enough order — the government must be clearer about dealing with COVID rule-breakers

Guest Author Mar 04, 2021

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato New Zealand’s COVID-19 response might be the envy of the world, but that hasn’t stopped New Zealanders themselves getting angry about it this week. In short, there appeared to have been breaches of isolation orders by people linked to the Papatoetoe cluster that sent Auckland into level 3 alert last weekend. It subsequently … Read More

Before we introduce vaccine passports we need to know how they’ll be used

Guest Author Mar 03, 2021

Tim Dare, University of Auckland Air New Zealand is to trial digital “vaccine passports” on trans-Tasman routes in April. A media release says: “The goal is to enable customers to seamlessly manage their digital travel documentation throughout their travel experience.” And it’s easy to see why. Airlines want people back in the air, the tourism industry wants them back … Read More

Widespread testing in Auckland now key to ruling out possible undetected COVID-19 outbreak

Guest Author Mar 01, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury; Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland, and Siouxsie Wiles, University of Auckland As expected, genome sequencing has now confirmed the new community COVID-19 case in Auckland is linked to the Papatoetoe cluster, and is the more infectious B.1.1.7 variant. When the first cases in this cluster were reported on Feburary 14 Auckland moved to … Read More

A year on from the arrival of COVID-19 in NZ: 5 lessons for 2021 and beyond

Guest Author Feb 26, 2021

Michael Baker, University of Otago; Amanda Kvalsvig, University of Otago, and Nick Wilson, University of Otago Exactly one year ago today (February 26) the first confirmed case of COVID-19 arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand. Identified only as “a person in their 60s recently returned from Iran”, the case marked the beginning of an extraordinary period in the life of … Read More

No internet, no vaccine: How lack of internet access has limited vaccine availability for racial and ethnic minorities

Guest Author Feb 17, 2021

Tamra Burns Loeb, University of California, Los Angeles; AJ Adkins-Jackson, Harvard University, and Arleen F. Brown, University of California, Los Angeles Racial and ethnic minority communities that lack internet access have been left behind in the race to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The average monthly cost of internet access, about US$70, can be out of reach for those … Read More

Would ‘COVID loans’ be a more affordable and sustainable way to support national economies?

Guest Author Feb 17, 2021

Richard Meade, Auckland University of Technology Faced with a COVID-19 pandemic of unknown severity and duration, governments around the world are looking for effective and sustainable ways to maintain economic confidence and employment. Even New Zealand, where lockdowns have been few and short-lived, is confronting the reality of repeated lockdowns, especially since the United Kingdom variant has now been … Read More

Why more contagious variants are emerging now, more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic

Guest Author Feb 16, 2021

David Welch, University of Auckland; Jemma Geoghegan, University of Otago; Joep de Ligt, ESR, and Nigel French, Massey University New variants of SARS-CoV-2 have now evaded New Zealand’s border protections twice to spread into the community. In the most recent outbreak, which placed Auckland into an alert level 3 lockdown, there are three active community cases of the … Read More

10am brunch, 1pm Kmart: when the media pokes fun at someone’s lifestyle, it’s harder for the next person to get COVID tested

Guest Author Feb 15, 2021

Clare Southerton, UNSW and Marianne Clark, UNSW In countries like Australia where infection rates remain relatively low, contact tracing is a crucial defence in our fight against COVID-19. We’ve seen this recently in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, and now we’re seeing it in Melbourne as Victorian health authorities battle to contain the Holiday Inn outbreak. Read More

Close contact test results will be crucial to whether Auckland’s level 3 lockdown is extended beyond three days

Guest Author Feb 15, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury; Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland, and Siouxsie Wiles, University of Auckland New Zealand’s latest community cases, the first to be infected with the more infectious B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19, have a plausible link to the border through one person’s workplace at LSG Sky Chefs, a business that deals with laundry and catering from international … Read More

It’s still too soon for NZ to relax COVID-19 border restrictions for travellers from low-risk countries

Guest Author Feb 06, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury and Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland Relaxing border restrictions for travellers from low COVID-19 risk countries would increase the risk of community cases in New Zealand by around 25%, says an article published yesterday in the New Zealand Medical Journal. This might not sound like a big increase in risk, but it means breaches … Read More