National has released their Covid-19 plan. A summary of the key points are:
- Supercharge vaccine rollout – prioritise South Auckland, increase resources for Maori health providers, vaccinate in MIQ, use incentives, vaccinate in schools, be ready to vaccinate 5 – 11 year olds once approved and mandate vaccinations for healthcare workers
- Order vaccine boosters – Order boosters for 2022 and 2023 now.
- Upgrade contact tracing
- Roll out saliva testing – mandatory daily testing for border workers and in quarantine.
- Roll out rapid tests – Have rapid testing for arrivals from low and medium risk countries, essential workers and allow all NZers to access rapid testing if desired
- Set up a dedicated Covid response agency – will be based in Manukau, not Wellington.
- Build purpose built quarantine facilities – Aim to open in early 2022
- A digital app to authenticate your vaccination status – would also include history of tests
- Invest in next generation Covid-19 treatments – Ringfence some Pharmac funding for Covid-19 treatments
- Expand ICU capacity – implement a specialist healthcare workforce migration plan, support migrant nurses already in NZ, fast track build of new wards
All 10 points look great to me, and should already be happening – sadly they are not. National of course can’t make any of these things happen as they are not in Government. But by clearly stating what they would do, they will hopefully influence the Government to move quicker on saliva testing, rapid testing, a dedicated quarantine facility and expanding ICU capacity.
National then proposes a three step future.
- Status quo – lockdowns with elimination strategy
- 70% to 75% vaccination rate – elimination strategy without lockdowns
- 85% to 90% vaccination rate – vigorous suppression strategy with traffic light travel system into NZ
The vigorous suppression strategy will still see tools such as vaccination boosters, mass testing, contact tracing, isolation for positive cases, use of Covid-19 app and mask wearing.
The normal hysterical types will claim 90% vaccination rate is not enough to open up and that it would lead to thousands of deaths. You have to wonder if the highest vaccination rate in the world would not be enough to open up for them, then what would be? Will they give a straight answer as to what level they would open up?
And this is the problem with the Government. We know that at some stage they will open up the borders, as the rest of the world is. But they won’t tell us their criteria for deciding (possibly because they don’t have any). National is being transparent and honest in laying out what they would do.
I will link to the full policy when it is online. It is 52 pages long and extremely detailed. It is one of the most thorough and considered policy documents I have seen from an opposition party, and should be a template for others.