10:20 a.m. – Wellington City Council has increased its safety and security presence in the city center in response to increasing anti-social behavior towards members of the public, hospitality and retail workers.
In a statement, the council said:
“We have also put in place a dedicated advisory team to address large-scale operational issues that emerge.
“Over the past week, the Council has received increasing reports of anti-social behavior, including verbal abuse and assaults directed at members of the public, local hotel organizations and retail workers.
“Store workers have reported an increase in incidents of people refusing to wear masks in stores, coupled with aggressive behavior when asked to meet mask requirements.
“The Council has increased the presence of Hāpai Ake/Local Hosts in hotspots across the city, partnering with Maori Wardens across the district to provide more frequent patrols and greater visibility.
“Presence and patrols will continue over the weekend.
“Teams work with our City Safety team who operate the city’s 24-hour CCTV network and share data, information and incidents with the police as needed.
“If anyone feels threatened or in danger in any way, they are encouraged to contact the police immediately by calling 105 for non-emergency reports or 111 if it is an emergency.”
10:00 a.m. – Early learning centers have joined the call to receive rapid antigen tests to avoid being forced to close.
Simon Laube, CEO of the Early Years Council, said he hoped the government would provide more RATS.
“At current rates, it won’t be long before we’re looking at mass ECE closures. Small centers only need one or two teachers to be positive and they’ll have to close for long periods of time. A university study published in January showed that education closures have a massive beneficial impact on children: growing inequalities in education, poor mental health, behavioral difficulties, social isolation, family stress, family violence and food insecurity.
“The ECC encourages the government to redouble its efforts to secure supplies of RATs well before the winter months arrive. We believe that greater access to RATs will allow more centers to operate as children and parents are looking to go through Omicron.” said Laube.
09:40 – COVID-19 test results are taking longer to process due to increased demand at community testing centers in the Auckland region.
The Northern Region Health Coordination Center (NRHCC) is telling Aucklanders to expect delays and not to call Healthline or the labs to check on the status of a test result.
Matt Hannant, director of operations at NRHCC, said: “There is still high demand at community testing centers in Auckland as the number of cases increases, and we understand that some people are anxious at the moment.
“However, this puts a significant strain on laboratories and means that while some results are returned within 48 hours, an increasing number take up to 5 days.
“We advise people who have not yet been notified of a result to stay home until they receive a negative result. Healthline and the laboratories are unable to provide information on the status of test results.
“We ask everyone to follow health advice and help us ensure the right people have access to testing. If you have no symptoms of COVID-19 and meet no other criteria, you have no you don’t need to be tested and you can be sent away from the testing services.”