Dr. Collin Tukuitonga says that his recommendation would be not to allow passengers flights to Niue just yet.
“Risky, even though Auckland will move to level 3 tonight, there are still transmission cases going on. The New Zealand government’s decision is an economic and social one, not based on health risk.”
“I wouldn’t allow it (passenger flights to Niue) just yet”.
There are 14 new community cases reported at the media briefing from Wellington this afternoon. Ten cases in Auckland and 4 in the Upper Hauraki.
Dr. Collin Tukuitonga told BCN news this morning that he believes that Auckland should have stayed in level 4 for another week, at least until Friday this week.
He says there are two key reasons for Auckland to remain in level 4, one is that there are still a high number of local transmissions, around twenty in the last three days and the evolving situation in North Waikato which he hopes won’t spread beyond the immediate people in those small communities.
“It’s contained but I wouldn’t say that the risks have reduced and that’s why I advocated remaining at level 4 for another week, at least until Friday and then we can reassess. The other big reason from my point of view is the low vaccination in Maori and Pasifika and particularly our lot”.
“I thought we should stay at level four at least until Friday because the vaccination rate of the people most at risk including Niueans is low and there is still community transmission. There are still cases occurring, so it’s a bit of a gamble and we may well live to regret it, but I hope not.
You only need to look at New South Wales and Victoria to see how things can quickly get out of hand and Fiji for that matter, so I hope I’m wrong”.
Dr. Tukuitonga says that he is hopeful that the drive-in event set up for the Niuean community in Auckland will draw the number of unvaccinated Niueans to get their jabs at the end of this week. The drive-in event will be at the LDS church car park on Robertson Road in Mangere on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“We’ve done what we can, and we hope of course that our communities will respond. It will be highly embarrassing for me to go on and on and put on this event and they don’t turn up. But I’m confident that people have heard the message”
A group of active participants of Niuean medical practitioners and people working in the media have been helping to promote this event and push the Niue community in Auckland to boost their vaccination rate.
Dr. Collin says that they have gone on Radio, they have spoken to church leaders and there are social media activities being launched such as a Tik Tok challenge to mobilise young people to get vaccinated. These are the lengths that they have gone to get our people vaccinated.
Dr. Collin is also grateful for the messaging from Premier Tagelagi to help encourage our people in New Zealand to get vaccinated.
“I think the Premier’s message like you can’t come home to visit your family, if you don’t have vaccination, I think that’s going to move a lot of people to get vaccinated”.
He said that he is asking the Niue communities in New Zealand to look at the example here in Niue where nearly 100 percent of the population are fully vaccinated.
It’s expected that the government will have a decision on the fate of the stranded residents in Auckland as to when they will be allowed back home, after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow or Thursday.