New Zealand’s pivot from Covid elimination ‘surprised’ top health experts
A number of epidemiologists and public health experts who have been central to helping chart and communicate New Zealand’s Covid response thus far say they were taken by surprise by its new direction, and not consulted by the government as it pivoted away from elimination and outlined a controversial set of “steps” out of level 3 restrictions last week.
“We were obviously surprised on Monday last week when the government seemed to say that we were moving away from elimination,” said prof Michael Baker, one of the country’s most prominent pandemic communicators and a member of the ministry’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory group. “A decision of that size – changing your major strategy – you’d think you would consult with [the] quite small batch of scientists and other advisers who work very hard to support the government … explaining things to the public.”
“That was very unusual. I think the government’s done a great job generally with consultation and getting us all to at least understand the rationale for change.”
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