COVID IN THE NORTHERN WAIKATO – WHAT WILL THAT MEAN FOR ALERT LEVELS
Written by John Grant on September 20, 2021
The cases in the small rural areas of North Waikato have raised many questions as to how a remand prisoner from Auckland’s Mt Eden prison could be allowed to travel across the border from Level 4 to Level 2 in the middle of a pandemic lockdown.
Epidemiologist Michael Baker said on TVNZ’s Breakfast show this morning that the new positive cases were “very frustrating” and that it complicates the decision that the government will have to make today regarding a change of levels.
Most specialists seem to be swaying around Auckland either staying on Level 4 for another week or possibly coming down to level 3 but the sting now is the likelihood that Waikato or at least norther parts of the Waikato moving up levels to join Auckland.
Michael Baker is one of those who believes officials may also now look to move Waikato to the higher level with Auckland.
Allan Sanson, Waikato’s district mayor said, “It’s a bugger all right” and went on to say on TVNZ that it was very disappointing for the communities in around the Managangi area of Northern Waikato and “my heart just sunk, it was very disappointing for them”.
He had been notified on Sunday afternoon and said that although the communities were very small, he expected that the virus had spread. He added that he would be contacting the Prime Minister’s office today for an explanation of how a remand prisoner was able to travel across the border, “How the heck did they ever remand somebody into the Waikato out of Auckland – I cannot believe that”.
Sanson went on to say that he felt for the family involved and that it wasn’t their fault, that it was the fault of the organisation who put the prisoner in the situation where he could potentially contaminate a couple of communities.
The school will be closed today for cleaning and that locals of Kaiaua, Mangatangi, Miranda and Whakatiwai are being encouraged to have a Covid test. A pop-up testing centre will be set up today at the Wharekawa Marae in Whakatīwai.