Experts differ on likelihood of Aucklanders being able to leave for Christmas

Source: 1News

Experts appear to have differing opinions on the likelihood of Aucklanders leaving the region for Christmas.

Epidemiologist Rod Jackson is not banking on it, while Auckland University professor of medicine, Des Gorman, says the Government "will have its hand forced eventually" on allowing vaccinated, Covid-negative Aucklanders to cross borders. 

Jackson said the country would have "major problems" in the coming months if vaccination rates did not climb and Auckland's borders were opened.

"I need to tell you that when we open up the ... borders, Covid will go right through all of New Zealand and it will be in the red zone.

"Every New Zealand city, every New Zealand town will be in red."

Jackson's comments came hours after the Government revealed a traffic light system for managing Covid-19 largely once vaccination rates in every DHB hit 90 per cent fully vaccinated

Auckland will move to the red level as soon as its DHBs have all reached the 90 per cent mark.

Jackson said it was a "really big deal" 420,000 eligible Kiwis would be unvaccinated under this traffic light system. 

The professor wasn’t hopeful of there being a restrictions-free Christmas for Kiwis.

He said this number consisted of two main groups — those who would respond to the "no jab, no job, no fun" implied throughout the system and those who did not trust the system.

"We need to get those two big groups vaccinated in a hurry."

Jackson said he believed it was up to businesses to introduce "no jab, no job" mandates to get these groups vaccinated. 

In contrast, Gorman says the Government will have to concede and allow vaccinated, Covid-negative Aucklanders to cross borders before Christmas.

"I think that’s inevitable and I think the Government will have its hand forced eventually to accept that reality," he told Seven Sharp.

Although he was pleased the Government had set a vaccination target and distinguished between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, Gorman was not confident DHBs would hit 90 per cent fully vaccinated.

He said it was going to be "very, very difficult" and there was going to be a "rising polarity" between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

"The vaccinated are saying 'you’re holding us back, you’re crippling us, you’re hurting us, you’re destroying my business, you’re making me anxious, you’re making me home-school my kids, how dare you do this to me'," Gorman said.

"In the event we don’t get to 90 per cent, or in the event we get close to 90 per cent, then the Government is simply going to have to say 'that’s it, we’re now going to have to move to a new system where if you’re vaccinated, these are your privileges, if you’re unvaccinated these are the privileges you’re going to surrender'."

Gorman said he was disappointed the Government had set no timeline with the traffic light system, remarking current restrictions could go on for weeks and months. 

"I think people today were looking for some degree of certainty and confidence. I think they didn’t get that today and people are still quite uncertain and anxious about how and when this will end."