Independent group to oversee NZ Covid response

A newly-established advisory group will ensure New Zealand’s Covid-19 response continues to learn and adapt with a focus on continual improvement, a Minister said here on Tuesday.

“Throughout our response to the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19, we have been committed to continual improvement, and independent advice has been a really important part of that process,” Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.

“Independent reviews of our contact tracing systems and the implementation of our testing strategy provided useful advice and recommendations.

“Implementation of those recommendations has left us better protected and better prepared,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as further saying.

This new advisory group will formalize that ongoing approach to independent review and improvement.

As well as continually monitoring the implementation of previous reviews, the group will be empowered to provide impartial advice on the performance and impact of the whole system and the strategic direction of the response, he said.

“It will also provide assurances on the performance and settings of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, and on planning for an outbreak, and will review public communications and responses in the community.”

The new group will start work from March 15, with a term through to June 1, 2022, Hipkins said, adding it is a group of highly respected and experienced experts, with strong connections across a number of fields.