Covid Update 18 August 2021

Tēnā koutou katoa i runga i ngā āhuatanga o te wā,

Last evening, the Prime Minister announced that all of Aotearoa will move to Alert Level 4 at 11:59pm last night, for three days. This is likely to be in place for Tāmaki and the Coromandel for seven days but will be reviewed for the rest of the country after three days.

The move to Alert Level 4 is in response to a community case of COVID-19 in Tāmaki which is currently under investigation.

More information on locations of interest is on our website . Please check this list if you have been in Tāmaki or the Coromandel recently.

Heoi anō, I wanted to use this pānui to update you on what Alert Level 4 means for you and your whānau.

Everyone must stay home
•        The most important thing you can do right now to protect whānau is stay at home – he noho kāinga, he oranga tangata.
•        The only reasons you can leave home are to shop for groceries, access necessary healthcare, get a COVID-19 test, exercise, or go to work if you are working in an Alert Level 4 service.
•        Please only make physical contact with those who you live with. This means hongi, harirū, and awhi with people outside your bubble should be suspended.
•        Kaua e āwangawanga, during this time, you will still be able to access all the essentials you need.
•        If you feel māuiui, do not go outside. Call Healthline or your GP to ask for medical advice.

Getting kai and shopping for the whānau
•        Kia mōhio mai, supermarkets, dairies, pharmacies, and food banks will remain open.
•        To help prevent mass numbers when shopping, try and send in only one family member at a time. Make sure to also practise 2-metre physical distancing and good hygiene.
•        Dairies and food banks will operate a strict “one-in, one-out” policy.

Public spaces that must close
•        All public facilities must close. This includes bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries, and playgrounds.
•        Indoor and outdoor events cannot go ahead. This includes social gatherings, hui, birthdays, tangihanga, and weddings.

Education
•        All schools and early childhood education centres are closed. Schools will be providing information directly to all parents about what this means for them.
•        Where possible, Alert Level 4 workers with children aged 0 to 14 need to make their own arrangements for childcare. However, we know this will not be possible for everyone.
•        Alternative arrangements are in place to allow Alert Level 4 workers to access childcare and continue to work. Your employer will let you know if you qualify as an Alert Level 4 worker for these purposes.

Alert Level 4 services
•        Rubbish collection will continue. Check your local authority website for recycling.
•        NZ Post will deliver mail and courier drivers will continue to make deliveries.
•        Self-service laundries can stay open, if 2-metre physical distancing is enforced.
•        Service stations will remain open and will be supplied.

Meeting friends and whānau
•        If you live alone, you may arrange with another person living alone or a household to be part of your household bubble. Heoi anō, they must be in the same town or city.
•        Tamariki can travel between the homes of separated parents so as long as they live in the same town/city.
•        It’s also okay for you to drop off groceries to others, but please drop the groceries at the door. Always keep a 2-metre distance.

Funerals and tangihanga
•        I want to acknowledge that this will be a challenging time for you and your whānau, especially if you are grieving.
•        Funeral directors can continue working at Alert Level 4. However, coming together for tangihanga is not permitted at Alert Level 4.
•        Only people from the same bubble as the deceased person can go to the funeral home and cemetery with the tūpāpaku, and only if these are in the same region. Kōrero with your funeral director about specific arrangements, including how to keep your physical distance.
•        If you ever feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. For support, you can call or text 1737. It’s free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to talk with a trained counsellor.

Accessing healthcare
•        You can still get medical help if you need it. This includes healthcare services, such as Healthline, GPs, cancer services, disability and aged support services. If you need to see a doctor or other medical professional, make sure to phone first.
•        Please only call Healthline if you or someone you know feels māuiui or you need medical advice, rather than general questions about COVID-19. It’s important Healthline is free to answer calls from those who need it.
•        If you cannot get through and are severely unwell, for example having trouble breathing, contact emergency services (call 111).

Transport and travel
•        At Alert Level 4, all types of transport and travel are restricted. Only travel for essential reasons, such as to get food or medicine, or to go to work if you are an Alert Level 4 worker, is allowed. Public transport, taxis, and ride-sharing services for transport will still be available.
•        If you are away from home when New Zealand moves to Alert Level 4, you have up to 48 hours to travel home. However, please try and get home as soon as possible.

Exercise and recreation
•        It’s okay for you and your bubble to go for a walk, run or bike ride. If you do go exercising, it must be solitary, or with those in your bubble. Make sure to keep a 2-metre distance from everyone else.
•        Please do not do activities that may require search and rescue services. For example, don’t go swimming, surfing, boating, hunting, or tramping.

Update on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout
•        To limit the movement of whānau during Level 4, the vaccination programme will pause for all of Aotearoa for an initial period of 48 hours.
•        This means that all vaccination centres in Aotearoa will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday and appointments are cancelled – people who have appointments on these days will hear from us soon to provide information on rebooking. You will be contacted by text, email or phone call.
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For more information on Alert Level 4 visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website .
I also want to remind you and your whānau to get information on COVID-19 and the vaccine from our trusted sources – the Ministry of Health and Unite Against COVID channels.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my team at: maorihealth@health.govt.nz

Please can you help:
1.            Ensure your networks know about these COVID-19 updates.
2.            Share information with your local networks to ensure our whānau know the updated advice and how to keep themselves safe.

Mā te Atua koutou e manaaki hei ngā rangi e tū mai nei,
Nāhaku me aku mihi aroha,

John Whaanga
Deputy Director-General | Māori Health Directorate
Waea pūkoro: 021 578 040  | Īmēra: John.Whaanga@health.govt.nz