'Too soon to say' whether Auckland has contained latest Covid-19 outbreak - Dr Siouxsie Wiles

Source: 1News

It’s “a bit too soon” to be able to tell whether Auckland has managed to get on top of its latest Covid-19 outbreak, microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles says. 

The University of Auckland associate professor told Breakfast it wasn’t yet clear whether everyone that may have been exposed to one of the latest cases in the community have received the correct advice from health officials. 

“And then, it’s not just whether people should be isolating. But, are they able to isolate? What support, monetary or emotional, making sure people have all their needs met.”

Because of that, Wiles said she wasn’t sure what could happen in the coming days.

“I think it’s a little bit too soon to say.” 

No new Covid-19 cases were reported in the community yesterday. 

On Tuesday, three further community cases were announced. The cases, members of the same family, were all linked to Auckland’s February outbreak. 

Contact tracing and testing is underway for people who had contact with the cases. 

Wiles said further cases connected to the cluster around Papatoetoe High School are expected. 

However, she said the casual plus case who had contracted the virus from the original student at the school was a bit unusual. 

Still, Auckland's move to Alert Level 1 was the right one because all the cases were connected, Wiles said. 

She said she had changed her mind from her comments the other day, when some test results were still outstanding, that the move "surprised" her.

“The Government is using the alert levels only really when they need to. So as soon as it was determined that it wasn’t a wider cluster, that is why we moved down quite quickly.”

It also showed the country was getting used to its “test, trace, isolate” approach to containing the virus, Wiles said. 

“The new variants will stress test our systems.”

She wanted to see rules around face coverings tidied up. For example, while people were told to wear them on planes during domestic flights, food had been served in the past during Alert Level 1. 

She said rules in rideshares live taxis and Ubers should also be tidied up, and everyone should be wearing a mask in the setting. Currently, only drivers are required to wear face coverings, but not passengers. 

That gave “mixed messages”, Wiles said. 

“You wear the mask because they’re important. You don’t undermine the message."