As Auckland adjusts to moving back into Alert Level 2.5 today, a senior Pacific doctor says the Pacific community needs to clearly understand the new restrictions in order to further safeguard their families from Covid-19.
Senior member of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) Dr Collin Tukuitonga, who also chairs the Pacific Expert Advisory Group to the Associate Minister of Health, says while there’s still community transmission being reported, families should remain alert and embrace the new guidelines.
There are around 146 active cases and more than 127 of which are linked to the Auckland August cluster, which is the largest the country has seen.
“Three quarters of the cases in the Auckland cluster have been Pasifika people. It’s important that we continue to adhere to the current guidelines and embrace the new ones,” says Dr Tukuitonga.
“Two additional requirements are really important; one is to avoid mass gatherings. People need to understand that there’s a limit of ten people if you want to meet in a group. The exception is a funeral, which can have up to fifty people.”
The other important change is the wearing of masks in pubic, which is compulsory on public transport and highly recommended in other public spaces.
“We have learnt that masks play a big part in preventing people from spreading or catching the virus. The Prime Minister says that if people don’t wear masks voluntarily in public then she would consider making it compulsory and that’s a big change.”
He says that everyone wants to return to Alert Level 1 and for that to happen, the community need to adhere to the guidelines.
“That’s the ultimate aim, for the government strategy to eliminate the virus within the community so it allows us to have much more freedoms.”
He says the confirmed cases linked to the original Auckland cluster is decreasing, showing that the current lockdown has been working.
“We’re reasonably upbeat and optimistic that we could be on top of this cluster in Auckland, that’s because our community have been playing their part.”
Date: Monday 31 August 2020