Covid-19 live updates, May 12: No new cases today; ERC hears of desperate times for tourism

For all The Spinoff’s newest protection of Covid-19 see here. Learn Siouxsie Wiles’s work here. New Zealand is at present in alert degree three – learn The Spinoff’s large explainer about what meaning here. For official authorities recommendation, see here.

The Spinoff’s protection of the Covid-19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. To help this work, join The Spinoff Members here.

5.35pm: The place did New Zealand’s Covid-19 instances come from?

Right here’s a captivating new chart from our information visualisation crew, Chris McDowall and David Garcia, exhibiting the origin of confirmed instances of Covid-19 by DHB. As you may see, whereas instances in some areas – like Taranaki, Tairawhiti and Waikato – got here virtually completely from abroad, for different DHBs (e.g. South Canterbury, West Coast, Canterbury).the vast majority of instances have been of home origin.

5.15pm: Debate underway on new enforcement laws

Parliament is at present debating the Covid-19 Public Well being Response Invoice, which is being rushed via the home underneath urgency to permit the enforcement of ranges one and two. Its goal as outlined by David Parker, lawyer common, is to “set up standalone laws that gives a distinct authorized framework for responding to Covid-19 over the following two years or till Covid-19 is sooner introduced underneath management”.

Nationwide chief Simon Bridges, talking in the home, mentioned the laws would obtained “very restricted scrutiny”, leaving “the room for error”. He raised considerations notably across the resolution, which will probably be enforced underneath this laws, to maintain funerals and tangi to 10 folks, whereas cinemas, for instance, might maintain as many as 100. “Merely put, it’s not proper,” he mentioned. “This final result just isn’t form and actually it’s inhumane.”

A short while later MP Michael Woodhouse told a reporter that Nationwide could be voting in opposition to the primary studying of the legislation. The invoice is here.

3.00pm: We’re determined, tourism {industry} tells committee

Representatives from the tourism {industry} spoke to the Epidemic Response Committee this morning, in a two-hour session that should rank as among the many bleakest to date. To an individual, the individuals spoke of a sector reeling from the consequences of the near-total cessation of journey to, and round New Zealand. Those that rely totally on worldwide arrivals have been notably exhausting hit, they instructed the parliamentary committee. “Our stability sheet might simply make it via a recession, however we are able to’t make it via zero income,” mentioned Eve Lawrence, common supervisor for the touring and lodging group Haka Journey. “With some pivoting, in the present day we’re buying and selling at round an 80% income loss. In early March, it was extra like 95%.”

Les Morgan, COO of native lodge group Sudima, had comparable numbers to report. The corporate’s 550-person workforce has been diminished by 85%, he mentioned, and revenues are down 80%, with managed isolation contracts from the Ministry of Well being at present its solely supply of earnings. One lodge is mothballed, and one other about to be.

“We’re dealing with zero income, not one greenback,” mentioned Matt Brady, CEO of inbound journey firm Pan Pacific Journey. “And we’re a interval which the PM says is for a really, very, very very long time. So we’re preventing for our very existence.”

As to what they’re on the lookout for from the federal government, there was common settlement: an extension to the wage subsidy. Lawrence referred to as for the 12 week cap to be lifted to 26 weeks “if not additional” for particular hard-hit sectors like tourism. Many additionally expressed frustration over the dearth of readability on the “trans-Tasman bubble” that has been mooted by the federal government, arguing that even essentially the most imprecise timeframe for a border opening between the 2 nations might assist them maintain on.

A number of the strongest phrases got here from Lawrence, in response to the concept a government-funded home tourism marketing campaign might act as a panacea for the {industry}. “I don’t consider for a second that home may even come near filling the large void that having no worldwide guests goes to create in New Zealand,” she mentioned. “I feel the overall consensus throughout a number of my {industry} colleagues is that, if we’re fortunate, we’d see 20% of our income, 12 months on 12 months.

“Efforts to reimagine tourism in the course of a disaster is like calling in an architect as an alternative of the fireplace service whereas your home continues to be burning down. We have to first put our efforts in place to save lots of the home, and solely then take into consideration rebuilding and reimagining our {industry}.”

2.25pm: Nationwide queries racing cash

Michael Woodhouse, the Nationwide Celebration spokesperson for well being, has launched an announcement this afternoon slamming the $72.5 million Winston Peters has earmarked for the racing within the funds, saying it was “a damning indictment of the federal government’s priorities” that racing was getting extra further funding than Pharmac.

“On Sunday the federal government gave Pharmac an additional $10 million for the following monetary 12 months, in the present day we learnt that Winston Peters is giving racing a number of occasions that,” he mentioned. “It’s insulting to offer extra money to horses than well being throughout a pandemic.”

2.10pm: 145 Bunnings jobs on the road

Bunnings has instructed 145 employees they might lose their jobs after the corporate proposed closing seven of its New Zealand shops, the Herald reports. The affected shops are in Ashburton, Hornby, Hastings, Cambridge, Rangiora, Te Awamutu and Putaruru. “Regardless of the unimaginable efforts of our groups, the challenges at these shops have been exacerbated because of the Covid-19 setting and sadly these shops are now not a viable a part of our retailer community,” Bunnings NZ director Jacqui Coombes mentioned.

1.30pm: The most recent information, charted

At present’s graph reveals recovered instances of Covid-19 persevering with to vastly outnumber energetic instances. Beneath are the instances by energetic, recovered and deceased. Hover your cursor for extra info.

1.05pm: No new instances

On the week New Zealand strikes into alert degree two, there are not any new instances of Covid-19 to report, director common of well being Ashley Bloomfield has introduced.

The whole case quantity stays at 1,497, with 12 additional folks recorded as recovered, which is 93% of all confirmed and possible instances.

The whole variety of energetic Covid-19 instances in New Zealand is now 78.

There are solely two folks remaining in hospital. There are not any further deaths.

There have been 2,893 exams processed yesterday, bringing the full to 197,084.

New Zealand has now been in alert degree three for 14 days, so it may be confidently assumed that these newest outcomes mirror the efficacy of the extent three measures.

By way of numbers of latest instances, the final seven days appear like this: 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, and in the present day, 0.

Bloomfield offered an replace on hospital visits underneath alert degree two. In excessive threat areas resembling emergency, intensive care and maternity, it will likely be one customer per day, and in different components of the hospital, one customer at a time. There will probably be flexibility on the a part of particular person DHBs and clinicians.

Each Bloomfield and the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, paid particular tribute to nurses on Worldwide Day of the Nurse. Ardern additionally acknowledged “the entire Jennys”, a reference to the London nurse who was praised by British prime minister Boris Johnson.

Enterprise help

Ardern introduced that so far 676 companies have utilized for tax refunds underneath the Covid help bundle, to a worth of greater than $62 million.

The wage subsidy scheme has now paid out $10.7 billion to 1.75 million New Zealanders, mentioned Ardern.

The federal government’s SME enterprise mortgage scheme can be now reside.

Transferring to degree two

Ardern inspired employers as New Zealand strikes into alert degree two to take a look at methods of staggering shift occasions to alleviate stress on public transport methods and permit distancing.

Challenged on alert degree two guidelines that meant a cap of 10 folks at a funeral but cinemas permitted to host 100 folks, Ardern mentioned: “The entire definition is whether or not or not you’re coming collectively to be with others. And there are circumstances the place folks aren’t in the identical place to combine and mingle.”

She mentioned choices round funerals and tangihanga had been essentially the most troublesome personally to make. “I additionally know funerals and tangi are locations the place you wish to consolation folks. It’s your pure intuition. That’s why we come collectively. And the concept we’d drive folks to not be capable of help each other, to consolation each other, is a really exhausting factor to understand.”

She mentioned she hoped these guidelines would solely be in place for “a really, very brief interval”.

Ardern mentioned steerage on group sport resuming could be offered later in the present day.

Winston Peters

Jacinda Ardern dodged a sequence of questions on remarks by Winston Peters, together with round the way forward for the hongi, guidelines for tangi, and telling the Chinese language ambassador she ought to “hearken to your grasp” round his statements on the standing of Taiwan.

12.55pm: At present’s briefing

At present’s Covid-19 case numbers will probably be up to date shortly. Watch right here:

12.35pm: Intercourse employees nonetheless ready for readability on work at degree two

Intercourse employees are nonetheless ready to seek out out if they’ll work underneath alert degree two, 1 News reports. New Zealand Prostitutes Collective founding member Dame Catherine Healy mentioned the collective had been in assembly with the Ministry of Well being, MBIE and the Nationwide Disaster Administration Centre, however was nonetheless ready on pointers saying whether or not or not they’ll function. “They didn’t promise a timeline, however they did say they’d get again to us,” she mentioned.

One of many nation’s most excessive profile intercourse employees, Lisa Lewis, was important of the dearth of readability, saying: “I hope that if our prime minister has time to giggle about how we are able to go courting in Degree 2, that she can provide us – being hundreds of the grownup occupation in New Zealand – some path.”

12.15pm: Peters broadcasts $72.5m racing {industry} bundle

Racing minister Winston Peters has unveiled a $72.5 million restoration bundle for the New Zealand racing {industry} in a pre-budget announcement on the Beehive this afternoon. The bundle will present a $50 million reduction grant to the Racing Business Transition Company (RITA) and $20 million for 2 new artificial all-weather race tracks to be put in at Awapuni and Riccarton. The federal government would additionally begin regulating offshore on-line playing in an try to return earnings onshore. The racing {industry} contributes $1.6 billion to the financial system annually, Peters mentioned, and was “critically underestimated for its vital contribution to our areas and our financial system”.

Amongst feedback made in a wide-ranging press convention after the announcement, Peters mentioned the hongi might by no means return as a type of greeting within the post-Covid world, as a result of “cultures that don’t adapt die”.

11.35am: Developing in the present day

As for New Zealand’s personal day by day case numbers, the traditional line-up of Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield is again in the present day for the 1pm briefing. We’ll have updates and the reside stream hyperlink right here on the weblog, after all.

11.30am: NSW has first zero day

The Australian state of New South Wales has recorded zero new day by day instances for the primary time for the reason that pandemic started, the ABC reports. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian mentioned whereas it was a significant milestone for the state, folks shouldn’t be complacent. “We all know that there will probably be folks strolling round in the present day locally that can have the virus,” she mentioned.

10.45am: Funeral director slams ‘inconsistent’ pointers

The president of the Funeral Administrators Affiliation says degree two pointers which restrict funeral attendance to 10 persons are “inconsistent and ludicrous”. Talking on The AM Show this morning, Gary Taylor mentioned he felt the {industry} wasn’t being taken critically by the federal government. “You’ll be able to go to a grocery store and be with 60 different folks, I can invite 10 folks to a restaurant – however I can solely have 10 at mum or dad’s funeral,” he mentioned.

Jacinda Ardern defended the choice to restrict funeral attendances, declaring the distinction between the grocery store and funerals. “You don’t go [to the supermarket] to keep up a correspondence with different grocery store consumers. At a funeral – the very level of a funeral is to consolation each other … that’s why you see that consistency of therapy between, as an example, a marriage and funerals, as a result of these are occasions after we come collectively to be collectively carefully.”

10.30am: Adjustments to voting revealed forward of September election

The Electoral Fee has revealed plans for the September election and referendums to take care of public well being within the face of Covid-19. Measures embrace queue administration, bodily distancing, hand sanitiser use and protecting gear.

Advance voting will begin two days sooner than deliberate, on Saturday September 5, to scale back congestion. The quantity and dimension of advance voting locations will probably be elevated, particularly on the weekend earlier than election day.

“Voting providers will also be delivered to small clusters of voters who’re in isolation through the voting interval utilizing takeaway voting, which is when voting papers are delivered and picked up,” mentioned Alicia Wright, the chief electoral officer.

The prime minister has mentioned that the election will go forward as deliberate on September 19. “If an outbreak happens in a big space of the nation through the voting interval, there are emergency powers obtainable to the chief electoral officer to delay election day voting by as much as seven days at a time,” notes the fee launch. “The protection of delivering an election at a nationwide alert ranges three or 4 is a public well being resolution that might should be taken by the federal government.”

Extra info is here.

10.10am: Hospitality {industry} shedding ‘$40 million a day’

Yesterday’s announcement that bars must wait one other week to reopen underneath degree two was “a kick within the guts” for the struggling {industry}, Wellington bar proprietor and Hospitality NZ regional president Matt McLaughlin instructed RNZ’s Morning Report this morning. He mentioned the {industry} was shedding $40 million per day in misplaced income whereas bars stayed shut, and predicted as much as 30-40% of the {industry} might be pressured to fold consequently. With the wage subsidy scheme interval operating out quickly, industry-specific help was wanted, he mentioned.

9.55am: ERC tackles tourism

This morning’s version of the Epidemic Response Committee on Zoom will concentrate on one of many industries hardest hit by Covid-19: tourism. The record of submitters consists of representatives of NZ Maori Tourism, Haka Tourism Group, Occasion Impressions, Sounds Air, Pan Pacific Journey, Sudima Resorts and Tourism Business Aotearoa, earlier than the committee will get to place the exhausting inquiries to tourism minister Kelvin Davis. We’ll have updates, and you’ll watch it right here:

9.30am: DHBs and hospitals to obtain document funds spend

The Ministry of Well being has launched one other teaser for Thursday’s funds announcement this morning, with an announcement promising “document funding in hospitals and well being providers”. The large numbers embrace DHBs receiving an additional $3.92 billion over the following 4 years, a $282.5 million enhance over three years for a marketing campaign to atone for surgical procedures after the disruption of Covid-19, and ongoing funding of $125.four million over 4 years to handle deliberate care.

“We don’t need folks having to attend for care any longer than obligatory,” well being minister David Clark mentioned. “This further funding in deliberate care will fund an estimated 153,000 surgical procedures and procedures, radiology scans, and specialist appointments over the following three years.”

8.35am: South Korea re-closes bars after second wave of instances

South Korea is amongst a rising variety of cautionary tales concerning the risks of partying too exhausting, too early as soon as lockdown restrictions have been eased. Hundreds of bars and nightclubs in and across the capital of Seoul have been ordered to close once more simply days after reopening after a second wave of latest Covid-19 instances emerged over the weekend. In accordance with this report on the Herald, most might be traced again to at least one “superspreader”, a 29-year-old man on an “epic pub crawl”. Vice well being minister Kim Gang-lip instructed a media briefing: “A drop of ink in clear water spreads swiftly. Anybody can develop into that drop of ink that spreads Covid-19.”

8.15am: Tourism workforce will probably be redeployed

The federal government will associate with industries to assist redeploy among the nation’s 400,000 sturdy tourism workforce whereas the {industry} rebuilds, Jacinda Ardern instructed Breakfast this morning. The prime minister cited  tourism employees close to her hometown of Matamata who had already been redeployed to work in horticulture as one instance. Extra enterprise help was coming this week, she mentioned, and particular help for tourism was being labored on.

Ardern additionally promised that the a whole bunch of homeless folks housed in response to Covid-19 would retain their lodging as soon as the nation is out of lockdown. “That must be one of many byproducts of Covid-19, is taking folks off the streets,” she mentioned. “We now have utilized what we name a housing first technique the place we put social help round somebody as nicely, as a result of there’s usually an entire vary of points that we’re serving to somebody navigate via.”

Requested concerning the diplomatic pressure between New Zealand and China over the federal government’s help for the return of Taiwan to the WHO, Ardern mentioned it “doesn’t change New Zealand’s place on a One China coverage by any means”.

8.00am: Updates from in the present day’s version of The Bulletin

So we bought the announcement yesterday – we will probably be transferring to alert degree two this Thursday. The choice was outlined by PM Jacinda Ardern at yesterday afternoon’s press convention – should you missed it, learn her speech here. It’s a really massive second within the total battle in opposition to Covid-19, and as Toby Manhire stories, it should happen in a phased course of – for instance, faculties and early studying centres received’t open once more till Monday subsequent week.

The relative simplicity of degree three and 4 is now being changed with one thing much more sophisticated, in that it’s a system designed to permit folks out and about once more whereas nonetheless sustaining a secure degree of distancing. Maybe due to that complexity, among the guidelines of degree two are altering earlier than our eyes. That has at all times been a chance for the reason that alert degree system was introduced – there has in any case at all times been room in them for tinkering. For instance, the unique degree two restricted regional journey, a restriction which has now been eased up. However among the current modifications have triggered real confusion, and can have an actual impression on folks’s lives.

For starters, the bounds on gatherings: Final Thursday it was introduced that social gatherings could be capped at 100 folks. Now they’re being capped at 10, for just about the whole lot you could possibly consider. That features occasions like weddings and tangi, and the Funerals Association has condemned that reversal as “merciless and harsh.” The justification from the PM is that with bubbles slowly being opened up, it’s safer at this stage to proceed to restrict the variety of contacts every individual has. She additionally mentioned the federal government was listening to these considerations, and that the principles could be reviewed in two weeks.

Then there was the announcement that bars wouldn’t be allowed to open till Thursday subsequent week. It made sense, as a result of the consuming aspect of social life inevitably carries much more threat of passing on a virus. Then it was clarified in a press launch from minister Kris Faafoi, simply hours afterwards, that bars would really be capable of open on Thursday of this week offered patrons are served a meal – mainly, the very same guidelines that eating places are underneath. This may look like enjoying with semantics, or only a query of the place the emphasis is, nevertheless it issues, as a result of venues that break the principles might find yourself being shut down.

Thirdly, there was a considerably odd (and completely unenforceable) suggestion on the federal government’s Covid response web site that non-public social gatherings could be restricted to 2 hours. That additionally bought clarified – there isn’t a time restrict on personal gatherings, stories Stuff. However as One News stories, some gatherings will nonetheless have the 2 hour time restrict in place, together with the 10 individual restrict.

For some, these will all be small issues. However for others, they’ll be large, and the modifications will critically disrupt what they’d have in any other case been planning. And it cuts in opposition to one thing that has been an actual power within the nation’s response to date – the clarity of communication and messaging popping out of the federal government in getting folks to purchase into the explanation for the restrictions. It could be that such readability is now not doable, as we get into the extra nuanced world of the decrease alert ranges. Hopefully we’re all prepared for that.

In fact, an important messages are staying the identical. Keep at dwelling should you really feel even barely sick. Apply bodily distancing once you’re out in public. And be sure you carry on washing these fingers.

From the Friday recordsdata: Our second piece on this sequence considerations among the nuggets of element round repatriation flights. It’s printed on Yahoo, and is by Australian Related Press (AAP) journo Ben McKay. There are the principle details after all – how a lot is being spent on the flights, what number of Kiwis have been introduced dwelling, and the large effort at MFAT that has been put in direction of the programme. However among the many different stuff, there may be an odd element about greater threat nations being focused for repatriation flights, which is truthful sufficient – it’s simply that it’s much less clear about when flights from nations which are decrease threat will probably be occurring, if in any respect, which might depart some New Zealanders abroad caught.

By the best way, because of everybody who has made a suggestion to date for this sequence – hold them coming in to

Questions on Work and Earnings allegedly denying advantages to these made redundant proceed to swirl. Radio NZ’s Glen Scanlon stories the organisation has been contacted by many others in an analogous place for the reason that story broke, and there are actually recommendations that one of the best treatment for the problem is perhaps a category motion lawsuit. The dimensions of that is probably fairly staggering – there might be actually hundreds of individuals in line for compensation funds. Late within the night, there was one other replace from Radio NZ – minister Carmel Sepuloni has stepped in and ordered an investigation “to make sure MSD observe displays the laws”. In fact, for many who suffered on the time because of these illegal alleged practices, which may not be a lot consolation.

China has despatched a robust warning to the NZ authorities over advocacy for Taiwan on the World Well being Organisation. The backstory to this was coated last week – and the newest replace will be discovered as the latest entry in yesterday’s live blog. The Spinoff obtained a transcript of the briefing from Chinese language overseas ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian from a supply, and it’s fairly strident language. I’ll quote at size so you may see what I imply:

“The remarks on the Taiwan situation severely violate the One China precept. We firmly reject and deplore it. We now have lodged stern representations.”

Zhao Lijian added: “The speaking up of any suggestion of participation by the Taiwan province within the WHO and the World Well being Meeting masks a real intention of looking for independence underneath the pretext of the virus.” It was a “totally political manoeuvre” by Taiwan. “We urge the New Zealand aspect to abide by the One China precept and cease its mistaken deeds and phrases on the Taiwan situation, in order to keep away from undermining our relationships.”

A lady who arrived from the US has examined constructive for Covid-19, after spending greater than every week quarantining in an Auckland jail. Radio NZ stories she was held there after initially refusing to take a Covid take a look at – she had no contact with different prisoners in that point, and employees round her wore full PPE. Corrections has not but made it clear whether or not employees who got here into contact together with her have been examined.

One of many weirdest media tales of the 12 months performed out yesterday via the medium of articles on main information web sites, and the NZX announcement board. Duncan Greive has coated the announcement by NZME that they wished permission to purchase Stuff for $1 – Stuff’s mum or dad firm 9 responded by saying that they had terminated negotiations with NZME final week, earlier than NZME hit again once more by saying they nonetheless felt that they had unique negotiating rights. The ultimate phrase got here from Stuff – they printed this story late within the day noting that NZX regulators had been in contact with NZME about their authentic assertion. There was additionally the alarming suggestion on this Business Desk (paywalled) column, that 9 might be mere weeks away from closing Stuff down, which might be a nightmare situation for journalism on this nation.

7.45am: Yesterday’s key tales

From Thursday, New Zealand will start transferring into alert degree two, with outlets, cafes, eating places, cinemas, playgrounds, and gymnasiums capable of reopen. Bars will be capable of reopen from subsequent Thursday.

From Monday, all kids will be capable of return to high school or early studying.

Gatherings will probably be restricted to 10 folks throughout the board.

Three new instances of Covid-19 have been reported with two linked to the St Margaret’s cluster and the opposite linked to abroad journey.

NZME introduced a bid to purchase Stuff for $1. Then Stuff’s proprietor 9 mentioned it had withdrawn from negotiations with NZME final week. Then NZME rejected 9’s assertion.

SkyCity introduced plans to put off 700 employees. The job cuts have been on high of 200 redundancies introduced in early April.

Stats NZ figures confirmed the size of the financial losses companies took throughout lockdown. Retail spending was down $2.6 billion, or 47%, from March, with hospitality the toughest hit sector.

The NZ Nurses Organisation referred to as for pressing security enhancements at Waitākere Hospital. It’s understood that seven healthcare employees on the hospital have now examined constructive for Covid-19.

Tremendous Rugby Aotearoa, a home type of the Tremendous Rugby competitors, will begin on June 13.

Read more in yesterday’s live updates here.

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