Covid-19: Calls for Northland to return to lockdown after seven Covid cases



Northland checkpoint group, Tai Tokerau Border Control, is calling for the region to return to level 3 restrictions after a small outbreak continues to grow. A total of seven cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Tai Tokerau, which has been in alert level 2 since last week. On Monday, the Ministry of Health reported the latest two cases were expected, closely linked to the outbreak, and were in isolation throughout their infectious period.SUPPLIEDHone Harawira, centre, pictured with two volunteers at a Tai Tokerau Border Control checkpoint, says Northland should return to alert level 3. (File photo) There were no further cases in Northland reported on Tuesday. READ MORE:* Covid-19: ‘Lucky’ Northland avoided Delta after thousands fled Auckland* Covid-19: Serious health worries for Northland after rule-breakers flee Auckland* Covid-19: Northland iwi-led checkpoints considered, despite threat of arrest Northlanders are being reminded to monitor locations of interest, with 11 confirmed in the region so far. But a concern is all the cases are Māori, said former MP Hone Harawira​, one of the leaders of iwi-led Tai Tokerau Border Control. Māori have lower vaccination rates than non-Māori in Northland and high rates of existing health conditions. Harawira said more than 30 Northlanders are contacts of the positive cases and all are isolating and getting tested.Ricky Wilson/StuffTai Tokerau Border Control, Ngāti Hine Health Trust and police run a checkpoint at Waiomio, between Whangārei and Kawakawa while Northland was at alert level 3. Another concern is a plan by protestors to take over the Wakaputanga celebrations at Waitangi on Thursday. Wakaputanga marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1835, with festivities scaled down this year due to health restrictions. But Harawira said a “group of Pakēhā anti-vaxxers” planned to come to Waitangi from all over the country to occupy the grounds, in breach of alert levels. This would pose a real threat to the health and wellbeing of Northlanders, he said.DAVID WHITE/STUFFWhile iwi chairs and Māori health providers agree Northland should return to alert level 3, not everyone in the region supports the restrictions and vaccine passports. Tai Tokerau Border Control, iwi chairs and Māori health providers are calling for the region to be returned to alert level 3 to contain the Delta outbreak and restrict travel in the region, as well as tightening the border with Auckland. At level 3, Tai Tokerau Border Control can run its checkpoints, with police, to ensure travel is for essential purposes only. The plan is to set up checkpoints near the border with Auckland, with the support of local hapū and residents. Harawira said despite the call from Māoridom, the Government has refused to upgrade Tai Tokerau’s alert level status.David White stuff.co.nzThe Northland town of Mōerewa gears up for Super Saturday’s big vaccination push. A number of kura, kohanga and other Māori organisations have decided to practice level 3 restrictions to keep themselves safe, he said. Northland District Health Board has also updated its hospital visitor policy in response to the cases. The policy restricts visitors to just one support person to accompany patients who are children, receiving end-of-life care or women in labour. Visitors must wear a mask and visitor screening is in place at all hospital entrances. Northland DHB’s Sarah Hoyle said having cases in the region is an important reminder for everyone eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible. “It is also important that anyone who has been at a location of interest, or who has cold and flu symptoms, gets a test,” she said. However, Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith said he did not believe alert level 3 was needed, as all seven cases are within one family group. “In this case, the understanding we’ve got – even though there’s seven – they’re all closely linked to each other. There’s no rampant, random spread in the community.” But Smith acknowledged the situation could quickly change if more cases came to light. He praised the family involved for openly sharing where they had been, and who close contacts were, in stark contrast to the two Aucklanders who put Northland into alert level 3 earlier this month. The Government will have a post-Cabinet press conference about alert levels at 4pm.



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