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Ministry of Health considers mandatory use of mask, scanning QR codes

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Health Director General Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the ministry was continuing to tailor its response.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Photo: RNZ

Bloomfield said Morning report there have been no new cases of Covid-19 to report overnight.

“That doesn’t mean they haven’t done a lot of testing. There were several hundred, if not thousands yesterday – a great response from the Wellingtonians.”

Bloomfield said the ministry will closely monitor today’s and tomorrow’s results.

He said the Sydney lab processing the genomic data was behind in its workload due to staff being on sick leave. Therefore, the variant of the virus is not yet confirmed.

However, based on the person’s epidemiological link to the NSW cluster, Bloomfield said it was most likely the Delta variant.

He said the person worked at a healthcare facility in Sydney and someone related to the cluster had visited him.

“There is a clear epidemiological link and our colleagues in New South Wales are very confident about it.”

Changes have been made to places of interest.

Those who were at 4 Kings Bar at Jack Hacketts, 5 Inglewood Place on June 19 between 8:45 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. are asked to self-isolate for 14 days, test on days 5 and 12 since the last exposure and call Healthline.

Those who were at Jack Hackett’s bar are urged to take a test on Day 5 since the last exposure and stay home until a negative test result. They must also monitor the symptoms of Covid-19 for 14 days.

Bloomfield said the person had been in one of the bars for a long time.

“Places where there is close contact, overcrowded in a confined space, this is the highest risk.”

The men’s washroom at the south end of the Wellington Airport National Hall has been added as a place of interest. Anyone who used the toilet between 9:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Monday should stay home until a negative test result is received and then watch for symptoms for an additional 14 days.

Regarding the sewage testing, he said samples were taken every day.

The last test of June 21 came back negative. The next results are expected later today.

“That’s pretty important information to build this picture. Wastewater testing is now very sensitive.

“It’s consistently positive in Auckland from the West Interceptor that… Jet Park, the quarantine facility is flowing into. We had a one-time positive result in Christchurch when there were positive cases in the facility. quarantine there.

“So it’s very sensitive and it will help us with the image and if these results come back negative [in Wellington] it also helps us to reassure ourselves that we have no Covid in the community. “

Health experts say they are mystified by the reluctance of the government to impose the mandatory wearing of the mask and the scanning of the QR code under alert level 2.

He said the ministry would continue to adapt its response as the pandemic progressed.

He is working to provide more advice to Cabinet on the wider use of masks and the mandatory scanning of QR codes.

“That will be up to cabinet to decide. I know the minister will keep people informed about this.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Morning report Mandatory QR scanning had never been ruled out, but there was application logistics to deal with. She said expanding the guidelines for the mandatory mask would be too prescriptive.