Concerns for New Zealand Pasifika community over Auckland church Covid cluster

Fears for New Zealand’s Pasifika community are growing, after the director general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, said this week that more than half of the country’s coronavirus cases were Pacific people who attended a church service in South Auckland.

ザ・ country is bracing for its biggest coronavirus outbreak yet as cases rise, the number of locations of interest balloons to more than 400 and the number of close contacts swells to more than 15,700 人.

火曜日に, the country recorded 41 new positive cases, bringing the total size of the outbreak to 148 – the majority of whom are Samoan and linked to a sub-cluster who gathered at the Assembly of God church in Māngere, Auckland, before the lockdown.

A nationwide, level-four lockdown – the highest setting – has been extended until at least the end of the week, as the country battles to contain the outbreak of the Delta variant. Auckland – the largest city, where the majority of cases have been detected – will remain in lockdown until the end of the month.

水曜日に, Prof Collin Tukuitonga from the University of Auckland’s public health department said he felt very concerned for the health and wellbeing of Pasifika people. “I think we will see more and more cases for some days.”

Low vaccination rates, socio-economic disadvantage and poorer housing situations worked against the Pasifika community and put people at higher risk of contracting the virus and suffering its effects, Tukuitonga said.

“There are a number of factors that continue to feed the cluster – they are not quite the perfect storm, but they are working against us.”

The Pasifika community has the highest rate of people living in overcrowded housing – roughly 40% その人口の. Tukuitonga said that was of serious concern, given the transmissibility of the Delta variant. “Often these dwellings are very small, so it is very difficult for people to isolate safely.”

Many essential workers, particularly in south Auckland, are Pasifika people, which puts them at further risk of catching the virus. And while the community has the highest Covid testing rates of any population in the country, the vaccination rate is the lowest.

The University of Otago’s Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu said that was of significant. “More work and support is needed to ensure Pacific and Māori peoples and communities are indeed being prioritised.”

Dr Debbie Ryan from Pacific Perspectives said there must a circuit-breaker to address unacceptable disparities for Pasifika health. “The policy statements about health equity as a priority need to be backed up with real action at all levels of the health system," 彼女は言いました.

In addition to carrying the burden of cases in the outbreak, the Pacific community is now “bearing the brunt of targeted racist vitriol from a few racist, small-minded keyboard warriors on social media”, said Dr Apisalome Talemaitoga from the Pasifika GP network and the Royal NZ College of GPs.

“Thankfully, a community where respect for each other is paramount, which practises reciprocity and communitarianism, and does things for the greater good of all concerned, has shown we will lead the way in testing rates to help the country – not just Pacific peopleto contain this deadly virus,” Talemaitoga said.

Tukuitonga said the level of abuse online was not helpful. “These people are not responsible for this. The virus got into the congregation. No one has done that deliberately. It is a time to work together. At the end of the day, when you are protecting the Pasifika community, you are protecting the nation.”

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