Ardern moves to allay fears over Auckland holidaymakers

Source: 1News

The Prime Minister has moved to allay people's fears around holidaying Aucklanders and the spread of Covid-19 from the region.

Auckland's borders reopen on December 15, allowing Aucklanders to travel to see family and friends over the Christmas and New Year period.

Those leaving the region must either be fully vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test, but some experts and community leaders want Aucklanders to stay put in order to avoid taking the virus with them.

The experts include microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles and Covid-19 modeller Shaun Hendy.

Epidemiologist professor Michael Baker told Breakfast he expected to see "more transmission" with more people travelling around and spending time indoors.

However, he said there are precautions in place to help minimise the spread — vaccinations and a negative test.

Later asked on Breakfast about how she felt about Auckland's borders reopening next week, Jacinda Ardern said: “Well, I think the point that I would make is Auckland is our most highly vaccinated area in the country. When you look at their rates, incredible. So a very, very vaccinated population with an overall decreasing number of cases, a requirement that in order to leave you must either be double vaccinated or have returned a negative test prior to departure.

"These are all safety checks we’ve put in place to make people as safe as possible over this summer period. Then as an extra layer where you may be going into an area where there may not be as high vaccination rates, they will be in red with those extra controls there too. We’ve put in place those measures to make it as safe as possible so people can move around the country."

Auckland metro DHBs reached 90 per cent fully vaccinated on Friday. Ardern called this "astonishing and fantastic" and said health authorities for some time had seen Auckland's vaccine rates have an impact on case numbers, which were coming down.