Covid Watch

Covid Watch

Covid Watch is the home of the latest Covid-19 news from New Zealand and around the world, with the conversations Newstalk ZB is having with all the newsmakers and experts to keep you informed.

Episodes

September 21, 2021 9 min
An important day not just for Auckland businesses, but businesses around the country. 
Auckland is now in Alert Level Three, meaning more businesses can begin operating in some capacity. 
Heart of the City Chief Executive Viv Beck joined Kerre McIvor.
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Ever since the first instance of lockdown, we have been fascinated with working from home and flexible working.   
In the UK, ministers are set to confirm laws that would allow employees to request the right to work from home from day dot.  
Currently they have to wait at least six months.  
But is there an argument to be made that, while convenient, the downsides could unbalance the scale?  
General Manager of Wellbeing at Skills cons...
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It's been a crushing week for the so-called commentators and Covid experts. 
These are the voices of the Government that really weren't supposed to be the voices of the Government, but ended up by in large being Government parrots. The modellers, the predictors, the science and medical brains that have become household names, and the go to voices a thousand times to tell us what's going on and what happens next. 
But if y...
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On the surface level 3 doesn't seem to change much for Aucklanders. 
Few more people back at work, takeaways back on the menu but plenty of limitations still. 
But it does provide huge relief for the construction sector. 
Chair of the NZ Construction Industry Council Graham Burke joined Mike Hosking. 
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Bit of a double-edged sword today, and I’m not sure what we should be worried about more. The hundreds of thousands of extra Aucklanders back at work today all mingling in kitchens, cafes and businesses, or the absconders who continue to flee the border. 
We’ve had the Hamilton Maccas run cowboys, the gang with the boot load of KFC, the Northland sisters skipping the border, the drug taker running along train tracks to avoid a borde...
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We know the medical side of the equation, why the Government is still pursuing elimination.  
But what about from a business perspective? How much business advice is being taken on board? Is business advice part of the equation when it comes to figuring out a vaccine rate? 
Former Air New Zealand boss and Government Covid-19 business advisor Rob Fyfe told Mike Hosking he is frustrated at support for businesses. 
“I talk to businesses ...
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Employment specialist Max Whitehead has been talking with small businesses about mandating vaccines. 
He says told Mike Hosking for some it would mean extra legal hurdles and the potential loss of crucial highly-skilled staff. 
"I think it's going to be even tougher on employers, because they've got a real, real difficult decision to make here. It's going to be very difficult for all employers right across New Zealand...
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Wellington's mayor isn't entirely sure why the capital's MIQ facilities are being halved. 
MBIE has decided to stop using one of Wellington's quarantine hotels, leaving just one in operation. 
MIQ officials say Wellington Airport is not set up to easily cater for red zone flights 
Andy Foster told Kate Hawkesby he's not sure why returnees aren't being shared around the regions.  
"Question marks about why a ...
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Despite hundreds of thousands of Covid cases every day, and an average of 2000 deaths a day, the US is opening up again. 
They're opening their borders to vaccinated UK and EU citizens in November.  
The ban has been in place since March last year, and our tourism industry here will be watching with keen interest. 
But with the international tourism market opening up, will New Zealand get left behind? 
Grant Webster, Tourism Holdin...
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Incentives could play a part, in getting at least 90-percent of the country vaccinated by Christmas. 
In the latest BusinessNZ Covid Pulse survey the question was asked whether a business was currently or planning to incentivise workers to get the jab. 
55% said no and 27% said they were unsure. 
Westpac has become one of the first major corporates to offer incentives in offering staff leave to get themselves and their family members ...
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Increasing the fines for breaching covid rules is a nonsense isn’t it?   
The PM cannot seriously expect us to buy this.  
This is clearly designed to make it look like her government is cracking down on lockdown rule breakers when they’re doing nothing of the sort.   
   
The Prime Minister announced this afternoon that fines are going up   
On-the-spot fines for individuals who break the rules will go from 300 dollars to 4000 dollars....
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How about KFC with the side of vaccinations? 
Auckland councillor Josephine Bartley has floated the idea of taking the vaccination buses to the takeaway queues from tomorrow to offer people the jab while they wait. 
She spoke to Heather du Plessis-Allan about whether the idea might take flight. 
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Alert Level Three is a welcome change for Auckland businesses -- but there's still a tough road ahead.
The region moves down alert levels from 11.59 tonight -- and with it comes the introduction of click and collect services.
Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett says businesses are over it.
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The elimination strategy is looking less and less viable.
There were 14 new cases in the community today, one not yet linked.
Experts agree the decision to ease restrictions in Auckland was a line call and fear numbers will track back upwards.
Melbourne Epidemiologist Tony Blakely says New Zealand is echoing events in Melbourne and New South Wales.
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Correction's top boss claims staff couldn't have stopped a remand prisoner being picked up with three people in the car.
The man was collected at Auckland's Mount Eden Prison and driven to his bail address in upper Waikato.
He later tested positive for Covid and has passed the virus onto four household members.
The Corrections Minister says the court rules were for one, specified family member to pick him up, but Parliamen...
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So not a great time in the old lobby for my daughter yesterday. Needless to say, the predictions on the new MIQ system were right.
Call it anything you want, tinker with it, paint it, spin it, it remains what it always was. It's a mess that never really got set up, properly bogged down, and a classic supply-demand issue 
She started out 17,815th in the line. I suppose is the upside, or is it? Previously, you didn’t get a spot, a...
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So they did it, they dropped us to level 3, which they were always going to, despite case numbers and mystery cases looking pretty much the same, if not worse, than they have the past two weeks.  
Which begs the question, what the hell have we been doing in level 4 all this time if that was the case? Have they suddenly woken up to the fact elimination is out of reach and we are changing tack? If so, why aren’t they just honest about...
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Hopeful kiwis both here and abroad logged on early in the morning to register to go in the lottery only to see their number put somewhere in the 20 thousand range for only 3200 available MIQ spots. 
And only another 7000 rooms will be released before the end of the year.  
The queue got as high as 31,800, a pretty quick way to demoralise anyone who had any hope of getting home in the next few months when you see that number pop up on...
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Out in the big space that is the internet there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to Covid-19. 
But an investigation has revealed dozens of the world's biggest brands including Amazon, Nike, Ted Barker and ASOS have been advertising on websites that spread Covid-19 misinformation and conspiracy theories. 
The ads are helping fund these websites that include claims powerful people engineered the pandemic, and that vaccines ...
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Auckland University's Des Gorman believes there has been a change in thinking. 
He says told Mike Hosking there's been a change in public opinion, and the Government has followed suit. 
"I think what we're seeing is a shift from a zero tolerance for cases to a shift zero tolerance for deaths, and I think that's going to shift even further still." 
Northern Hauraki is now under new restrictions, after three case...
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