Alert Level borders will be strictly enforced

31 Aug 2021

Keep doing the right things is the message to residents from the Coromandel’s Civil Defence Controller, Garry Towler, as the district moves to Alert Level 3 on Wednesday this week and more businesses prepare to resume trade.

Mr Towler said the response to the current outbreak from locals to date has been incredible with few issues of concern for Thames-Coromandel District Council to deal with. “We have had a few complaints about people not doing what they are supposed to, but there seems to be a lot less angst this time, people are calmer. I think we have all learned lessons from the last lockdown and we are more prepared,” he told The Informer on Monday.

While a Civil Defence emergency has not been declared, Mr Towler said he was among a team of three staff directly monitoring and responding to the needs of the community throughout the lockdown. “We are playing a conduit role if you like, keeping in touch with our community groups such as the food banks for example, with a particular focus on ensuring our vulnerable people, including our elderly, are being supported.”

While praising how the people of the Coromandel responded to the threat of a potential outbreak following the three-day visit of a Covid-positive Devonport man, Mr Towler said the same diligence would be required throughout Alert Level 3, including with regard to travel in and out of Auckland which remains at Alert Level 4. 

“The police have confirmed they will be conducting roving roadblocks and they will be strictly enforcing the rules around travel. If you are attempting to travel to or from Auckland it is highly likely you will be questioned by police and you have very little chance of being allowed through unless you have a permit from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.”

Looking towards summer, Mr Towler said it was important for the local economy that people did the right things now so as to avoid having to deal with restrictions during the busy holiday season.

“I take my hat off to the people of the Coromandel. They have done a phenomenal job so far. We didn’t just dodge a bullet, we dodged a missile. The numbers that turned out for testing were incredible and the vaccination rates are skyrocketing. Now we just need to keep going and we will all get through this.”

Sunday last week marked the final day of Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki’s pop-up Covid-19 testing clinic at the Woollams Avenue carpark in Coromandel Town. Day 12 swabbing is now complete for those who found themselves caught-up in the outbreak having visited a location of interest at the same time as the Devonport man.

All tests carried out on the Coromandel to date have been negative and no evidence of the virus has been found in wastewater samples.

In a message to the people of Coromandel Town and the surrounding communities, Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki’s CEO, Riana Manuel, who has been on the frontline each day delivering Covid testing, thanked all those who had been part of the response over the previous 12 days, including those who had come to be tested, vaccinated, the Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki staff, the Coromandel Family Health Centre team, Waikato DHB and Pathlab.

“It has been a massive turnout. It has been a real team effort, they say it takes a community and it really has been a community-wide focus,” she said.

Covid tests remain available from medical centres and GPs across the Peninsula. Please call ahead to make an appointment.

Pictured: Garry Towler, the Coromandel's Civil Deference Controller.