PM Jacinda Ardern announces vaccine certificate plan, 24 new cases of Covid-19

There are 24 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reveals vaccine passes or certificates will be used in New Zealand from as early as next month.

They will be used to lessen the risk in high-risk settings like in hospitality and large gatherings, Ardern said.

However, they won't impact people's ability to go to essential services. The passes or certificates will be a physical document and something you can have on your phone

It will likely be able to be used in November, Ardern said.

"It's one of the best ways we can ensure summer plans can go ahead uninterrupted."

To enjoy the things you love, you need to be vaccinated this month, not in December."

Ardern encouraged people to bring their vaccination forward as soon as possible.

7 cases today unlinked

Eighteen of today's new cases are in Auckland, six are in Waikato. Three of the latter were made public yesterday, director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay says,

Seven of today's cases are unlinked and eight of yesterday's cases are unlinked. All Waikato cases are linked.

It is estimated there would be an additional 48 cases in the coming days because of the number of contacts to already confirmed cases.

Waikato DHB has not identified any locations of interest of significance in Hamilton City.

However, McElnay said there may be locations uncovered as investigations continue.

The DHB has indicated that the households involved in positive cases were following mask-wearing and social distancing prior to knowing they were Covid positive

McElnay said Covid was becoming a "disease of the unvaccinated" across the globe.

Ardern yesterday revealed an Auckland road map that effectively showed how the city would come out of a strict alert level 3 as we know it, starting with slightly relaxed restrictions from this evening.

Ardern acknowledged many people were hoping to see Auckland move to level 2.

Ardern said step 1 measures, to come into force tonight, were the safest which could be applied. However, she said Auckland would have some of toughest restrictions of anywhere in the world.

She described the vaccine as a "ticket to freedom" and could see how it was protecting people against Covid.

She referenced an unvaccinated person who caught Covid but did not spread it to their vaccinated household members.

"The evidence is clear, the vaccine works."

How vaccine passes will work

Access to Covid vaccination records will be made accessible soon, as well as testing records.

In order to access this info, a person will need a MyHealth account or a RealMe account.

Once logged in, it will retrieve your data on vaccination.

You will be able to view the detail behind it.

Links are provided to access a travel certificate and there is also a way to correct any errors in the data.

One of the other features is to get the NHI number in a scannable form which would speed up the testing process.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said this morning that mandating vaccinations was doubtful, but vaccine certificates were likely to be introduced in the near future with more details announced today.

The first phase of Auckland's road map will come into effect just before midnight tonight and will allow up to 10 people from a maximum of two households to come together in an outdoor setting. They must not move their gathering inside.

Also today, a liquor store in Raglan has been named as a location of interest.

The Ministry of Health has revealed more exposure events and locations of interest linked to people with Covid-19.

The Raglan Liquor in Bow St is a location of interest.

A total of four people are infected in Raglan, with the first case revealed on Sunday. Three more household contacts were confirmed yesterday.

The Raglan Liquor store was visited three days ago on Saturday between 5.40pm and 5.45pm.

Early childcare centres will also be allowed to open up again, but with children split into bubbles of 10. Parents must wear masks when dropping off and picking up their youngsters and teachers must get a Covid test.

People can once again move around the city and recreational activities including going to the beach, hunting and fishing in a boat are once again allowed. Again, however, people must stay outside in groups of no more than 10 people from two households.

The 10-people limit for funerals, tangihanga, weddings and civil union ceremonies remains in place.

There have been mixed reactions to the announcement from health experts, people from various sectors of society and ordinary members of the public - with some saying the move will be detrimental and lead to a surge in community cases and hospitalisations.

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This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.