Covid 19 coronavirus: Health officials to unveil updated Covid-19 information

Ministry of Health officials are set to provide today’s Covid-19 update.

As per usual, they will reveal how many new Covid-19 cases are in managed isolation, and if there are any new community cases.

The latter is likely to be none, as that information is revealed by either director general of health Ashley Bloomfield or Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

On occasion, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will front a press conference to convey the information.

Health officials will also release more testing information and potentially a vaccine update.

Yesterday, Bloomfield revealed the Government’s budget for vaccines was $1 billion.

He also said that people will be able to walk in to a clinic and get the Pfizer vaccine jab from July, when the Government plans to be able to roll out an average of 280,000-odd doses a week for six months.

That would, he said, enable the Ministry of Health to reach its goal of vaccinating every eligible Kiwi who wants to be vaccinated.

Efforts will be made – including through mobile stations – to ensure people in rural and harder-to-access areas will have as much of a chance to get a jab as anyone.

So far, there have been 135,585 total doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered in New Zealand.

New research from Horizon Research shows that 69 per cent of respondents said they are likely to take the vaccine.

But one in five respondents said they were unlikely to take a vaccine if offered, and 9.4 per cent say they will “definitely not”.

It comes as the Government comes under increasing pressure on its MIQ testing regime.

A security guard – whose firm was contracted by the Government to work at the Grand Millennium MIQ facility tested positive for Covid last week.

It was subsequently revealed that he had not yet received the vaccine.

As well as this, he had not received a Covid-19 test since November last year – National leader Judith Collins said this was “unfathomable”.

But First Security – the company the guard worked for – said that the Government’s testing register didn’t raise any red flags until March 26.

This led to questions being raised about the efficiency of the system.

Speaking to media yesterday, Chris Hipkins offered somewhat half-hearted confidence in the Government’s frontline testing register.

Although he has referred to it as a “good tool”, he has doubled down on the fact the ultimate onus is on the employers of private frontline staff.

“I wouldn’t say there was a failure to oversee testing.”

He said case B – the security worker – had been sent “at least four text messages” telling him to get tested.

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