Ex-New Zealand PM on Covid pandemic, vaccine inequity

People walking past a mural depicting medical workers hitting the coronavirus with a vaccine needle in Santacruz, Mumbai, India on March 29, 2021.

Pratik Chorge | Hindustan times | Getty Images

Covid-19 is still spreading around the world and a “vaccine only” strategy will not end the pandemic, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said Thursday.

The World Health Organization has issued the same warning last year when the world was stuck in the Covid pandemic for only a few months.

Globally, the number of daily reported Covid cases and deaths rose again in the past month, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed. In fact, more and more people are receiving vaccinations and, in some countries, booster vaccinations.

“What I would say to the countries … [that] Successful with vaccine rollouts is: It won’t do it alone, “said Clark at the virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit.

“You need to be able to calibrate, reintroduce or maintain public health measures that are relevant to the epidemiological state of the pandemic and your country at this point in time,” she added.

In a separate meeting at the APEC CEO Summit, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel said one of the biggest challenges in managing the Covid outbreak is being proactive in responding to spikes in cases.

Unfortunately, Germany is now in the middle of the fourth wave. We are seeing a large increase in numbers. People may think it’s a thing of the past, but we need to realize that it’s not over yet.

Angela Merkel

Chancellor

“As soon as the cases increase dramatically, you have to intervene immediately,” said Merkel, who is preparing for her office after 16 years a year Germany’s top job.

She warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, as Germany is experiencing a resurgence in some cases.

“Unfortunately, Germany is in the middle of the fourth wave. We are seeing a high increase in numbers. People may believe that it is a thing of the past, but we have to recognize that it is not over yet,” said Merkel on Friday.

Keep Delta away

In addition to Germany, the daily reported cases have also increased in Singapore, although vaccine rollout has been accelerated.

The Southeast Asian city-state has around one of the highest vaccination rates in the world 85% of the population fully vaccinated according to the Ministry of Health. But the country had to Adjust social distancing measures several times, as the highly infectious Delta variant spreads.

“Very Unjust” Vaccine Rollout

The “very unjust” introduction of Covid vaccines is partly responsible for the prolongation of the pandemic, said Clark.

“We’re not going to be really safe in New Zealand or Canada or China or wherever unless everyone in the world has access to vaccines and therapeutics and so on,” she said.

the WHO and other health professionals, including famous epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, have already made similar comments.

Clark co-chaired an independent panel set up by WHO to review global pandemic preparedness and response.

In its final report released in May, the panel recommended that high-income countries redistribute at least one billion doses of Covid vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries by September 1, and an additional billion doses by mid-2022.

Analytics company Airfinity said in a report dated Oct. 20 that only 350 million cans were dispensed.

New Zealand Covid replace: instances drop to 15 as Ardern unveils ‘Mr Whippy-style’ vaccination buses | New Zealand

Covid-19 cases in New Zealand have fallen, a hopeful sign as Auckland steps into the government-planned final week of Level 4 lockdown.

The country announced 15 new cases on Tuesday, halving the number of cases from monday 33.

At this stage of the outbreak, the government is paying special attention to how many of these cases are clearly related to existing infections, as unlinked cases could suggest that the virus is spreading uncontrollably across the community. All of the cases on Tuesday were household contacts of existing cases, said Health Director Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, and the total number of unrelated cases during the outbreak, has dropped to 10 from 17 on Monday.

The Auckland region is now in its fourth week of a level four lockdown, the toughest level of restrictions. The rest of the country exited lockdown last weekalthough there are still some restrictions on gathering size and use of masks. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday the government had made a “fundamental” decision that Auckland would move from alert level four to three next week.

Ardern also announced that from Northland, the country will be rolling out “Mr Whippy-style” mobile vaccination clinics on buses in an attempt to reach communities where vaccines are less accessible.

“In Australia they started doing something similar and called the mobile outreach clinics Jabba the bus,” said Ardern. “I’m sure we can do better.”

“We have some front runners: the double jab ute and the jabbin ‘car.”

In the meantime, officials are pushing up vaccination rates. A total of 66.5% of the eligible population [those aged 12 years and over] received at least one dose of the vaccine and 34% received both doses. The country currently vaccinates about 55,000 people per day, up from a peak of about 90,000 doses per day in late August.

Ardern urged the New Zealanders to get vaccinated. “Just as we have led the world with the success of our elimination strategy, I want New Zealand to lead the world in the future, both in terms of freedoms and our health and wellbeing,” said Ardern. “With high vaccination rates, we can achieve just that.”