Aucklanders should be told to stay in their postcode, says Sydney expert

Source: 1News

Aucklanders “should be concerned” about the fact there are still three uncontained clusters and 34 unlinked cases in the Delta outbreak, an Australian epidemiologist says. 

Professor Mary-Louise McLaws is warning NZ to act fast if the Delta variant is detected here.

Mary-Louise McLaws, a professor of epidemiology at the University of New South Wales, said part of the issue was that Auckland was so large. 

The last thing Aucklanders would want to see is “postcode creep”, she said. 

“[People in Auckland] need to be told to stay within their postcode … once Delta gets into different postcodes, it spreads very rapidly if people don’t stick to the rules very specifically.” 

The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield provided an update about the outbreak's current clusters on Sunday afternoon. 

Auckland aerial view.

There remain three main clusters of considerable size. They are the Māngere church group, with 379 cases related to it, secondary spread in the community from that church, made up of 164 cases, and the Birkdale social network cluster, which has 76 cases.

“These three sub-clusters are part of 16 subclusters or settings of interest which we are using to aid our tracking of the outbreak,” Bloomfield said.

Of the 16 subclusters, seven are considered “contained”, Bloomfield said.

Meanwhile, six of the 16 subclusters are only registering cases among household members or close contacts of known cases who were isolating. 

The remaining three subclusters are being “intensively followed up” by officials because there is a concern there is Covid-19 spread beyond households, Bloomfield said.

He said there was no evidence of widespread community transmission of the virus in Auckland. 

On the plus side, hospitalisation numbers in the latest outbreak are stabilising. 

McLaws said vaccines were also making a difference to hospitalisation numbers.

She said even one dose of the vaccine is estimated to reduce the risk of hospitalisation by 77 per cent. 

More than 60 per cent of Kiwis have now received at least one dose of the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine.