COVID-19: latest news on the demonstration in Parliament, community outbreak of COVID-19 – Thursday 17 February

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8:40 am – Speaking to AM, journalist Nats Levi said there have been confirmed to be 12 cases of COVID at Auckland Starship Children’s Hospital.

Starship Hospital told Newshub the 12 cases came from Wednesday’s data and were a mix of six staff members and six patients, but the number could rise on Thursday.

Auckland DHB provider services director Dr Mike Shepherd told Newshub earlier on Thursday that the cases were linked to one who was in the general pediatrics ward last week.

Shepherd told Newshub that staff and the hospital immediately activated plans to prevent a further outbreak of the virus and are carrying out rapid antigen testing on staff and patients.

He said with record COVID numbers – 1,160 infections reported in New Zealand on Wednesday – it is not unusual or unexpected to see hospital staff testing positive for COVID or to see more COVID cases in the hospital. .

8:27 – Air New Zealand is helping bring tens of millions of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to support Aotearoa’s COVID response over the coming months.

The airline is operating nine charter flights until February 20, and Anna Palairet, managing director of Air New Zealand Cargo, says there are many more in the pipeline.

“Operating these charter flights was a no-brainer. There is a real urgency to introduce rapid antigen tests to New Zealand, and we are proud to play our part in bringing them here,” Palairet said.

“It was truly fantastic teamwork between Air New Zealand, the Department of Health and the freight forwarders.

“We’ve been operating charters for RAT kits since December, but things are really picking up speed now.

“In addition to charters, we have also used the capacity on commercial flights. Where we have space, we use it for RATs.

“While we are limited by available aircraft and operating crew for charter flights, the return to service of our 777-300 since last week will help increase cargo capacity across the network.

“We know the demand is there, and our teams are doing everything they can to try to meet it.”

Air New Zealand has seen its cargo business soar over the past two years, with around 200 million kilograms of product carried since 2020.

8:20 am – Speaking to AM, journalist Ashleigh McCaul said the protest in Wellington had been quiet as rallies stirred to a tenth day outside Parliament on Thursday.

She said she saw no signs of a tow truck around Parliament on Thursday morning.

Part-time protester and former leader of the New Conservative Party, Leighton Baker said Newstalk ZB an entire village had been built in two weeks.

He said the intent of the protest was to get New Zealand working together instead of the fragmented society we have today.

There have been reports of violent behavior from some protesters, with Labor MP Steph Lewis posting on Facebook on Tuesday night that some Parliament staff were ‘scared to come into work’ and that she had ‘feared “for his safety.

“I, my colleagues, Parliament staff, police, security personnel and public bystanders have all experienced harassment and abuse from protesters in Parliament,” she wrote on Facebook. .

Baker denied witnessing any abuse or threatening behavior and said it was the most peaceful, quiet and respectful place. “It’s like a big family reunion.

8:08 – Speaking to AM, journalist Nats Levi said there were reports of COVID cases at Auckland Starship Children’s Hospital.

The NZ Herald reports that there are 12 positive cases.

Auckland DHB provider services director Dr Mike Shepherd said the cases were linked to one who was on the general pediatrics ward last week.

He said the cases are a mix of staff and patients and not all are present and isolated in the hospital.

Shepherd told Newshub that staff and the hospital immediately activated plans to prevent a further outbreak of the virus and are carrying out rapid antigen testing on staff and patients.

He said with record COVID numbers – 1,160 infections reported in New Zealand on Wednesday – it is not unusual or unexpected to see hospital staff testing positive for COVID or to see a higher number of cases within the hospital.

7:35 am – Four Defense Force vehicles have arrived in Wellington with the potential to assist in the towing of anti-warrant protester vehicles.

The NZDF spokeswoman said discussions on the possible deployment of Defense Force assets were still ongoing and no decision had been made.

The four vehicles traveled to Wellington from Linton and Waiouru on Wednesday.

“They are pre-positioned should the need arise, but as noted no decision has been made on whether to use them to assist the towing operation,” she said.

7:25 – Hospitality businesses are crying out for help as data shows a 30% year-on-year drop in revenue.

They say Omicron is scaring off customers and the government’s COVID-19 modeling is only making it worse.

“The foot traffic is extremely low. We just don’t know when people are going to come back,” Cafe Hanoi manager Krishna Botica told Newshub.

Botica has four restaurants and was forced to close two. She says the two still open are struggling to reach 50% capacity.

In 35 years of career, she has never seen him so terrible.

“All government support has been tapped – we’ve all used it. We all have to start paying it back in May. We’re looking at four closures, bankruptcies. We’re going to be wiped out at this rate.”

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