Health workers want Alert Level 4 now

Dr Kelvin Ward has authored a petition asking the Government to raise the alert level to the...
Dr Kelvin Ward has authored a petition asking the Government to raise the alert level to the highest possible. Photo: Supplied
Almost 3,000 people, including front-line health workers, are petitioning the Government to activate Covid-19 Alert Level Four immediately.

The petition's author, Dr Kelvin Ward, said raising the alert to the highest possible level was the only way for New Zealand to ensure it survives the virus with minimal impact.

As of 3pm, 2,900 had signed the petition calling for:

• Quarantine, not self-isolation, of all Covid-19 positive patients

• Extensive testing and contact tracing

• Self-isolation of all asymptomatic contacts

• Mandatory social lockdown

"If we want to prevent this epidemic becoming exponential, we have to take some drastic measures," Ward said.

Bloomfield this afternoon said the alert level was staying at 2 as there was still no evidence of community outbreak, though two possible cases were still being investigated.

Alert level two means Covid-19 is "contained but risk of community transmission growing" and human contact must be further reduced - over-70s have been told to stay at home and everyone needs to limit domestic travel.

Ward, who is an urgent care physician, handed the petition to Bloomfield outside the Ministry of Health in Wellington this afternoon.

He said a wide-range of health professionals had signed the petition, including urgent care physicians, intensive care specialists, surgeons, nurses and pharmacists.

Raising the alert level to four would mean full lockdown of all non-essential businesses, rationing supplies, severe travel restrictions and major reprioritisation of healthcare facilities. Supermarkets will stay open regardless of the alert level.

Ward said community transmission was almost inevitable but New Zealand could limit it by activating alert level four.

"We know that there is a burden of disease in the community which hasn't been detected and we will not know that burden until days, or weeks, later."

Ward said there was a lot of evidence voluntary self-isolation didn't work and referred to the reports of tourists flouting the rules after coming to New Zealand.

"All it takes is one contact for it to potentially spread widely in just a few weeks.


These Health workers still have a job.This is paranoia.The financial fallout triggered by such a decision would be suicidal.

This guy and his colleagues are on the coal face of this. You and/or someone you care about may well find their lives in the hands of medical staff. Dr Ward would not be taking this stand lightly, he and others are very aware of what has happened overseas. Economies are being ruined, that is not paranoia, TheLoneRanger, that is fact. That same fact is banging at our door and crossing our threshold, Experiences in other countries are very likely to be experienced here. I hope you have a lot of savings, a freehold property, a full pantry, no need for a job, and find yourself in perfect health. The rest of us are somewhat nervous and would like some clarity in the direction our governance will take to preserve our economy and our way of life in this crisis. We have a very real chance of turning this around. Stating some belief that people and our medical profession is 'paranoid' is flying in the face of global reality. Sorry if that offends you, life is rarely fair.

Choice, now. Lives or jobs?

Then again, we could ramp up testing. Some degree of certainty and reducing the risks and potential hospital admissions for critical care. I really don't undestand what we are waiting for......we are a country in lockdown, which is a good move. We have an amazing opportunity in comparison to most other nations. Yet we do nothing but stay home. Where will this be in 3 or 4 weeks time? Just roll out and ramp up the possibility for testing. NZ needs some security. Handouts and benefits will only last so long. Jacinda says we have hope. Well, 'hope' won't help this situation. Focus on testing. The time has come.

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