Tag Archives: risk

Government lobbied to accelerate Covid vaccine launch ‘before it’s too late’ | Instant News

New Zealand|Political

Each New Zealand will be able to get a Covid-19 vaccination with 15 million doses now guaranteed with launches planned to start in the second half of next year.

The government has been urged to speed up the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination, given the increased risk of the new variant destroying Britain and South Africa.

The National Party wants front-line workers, such as those working in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities, to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Party leader Judith Collins wants the Government to consider provisions for vaccines for emergency use for important border workers “before it’s too late”.

“New Zealand has fallen behind the rest of the world with its vaccine program and the Government needs to explain why,” said Collins.

The government has been approached for comment.

Yesterday, the Health Ministry revealed that there had been 31 new imported Covid-19 cases since Thursday – all in managed isolation.

He also revealed that so far 19 cases were linked to a new, fast-spreading strain that has spread in Britain.

“The number of cases reinforces the need for vigilance that is ongoing at the border, as Covid-19 continues to increase overseas,” the Health Ministry said.

But Collins said more than ongoing vigilance was needed to protect New Zealanders.

“It is imperative that we start vaccinating border workers and people working in managed isolation facilities as quickly as possible.”

He pointed out that the Australian Government recently launched a Covid-19 vaccine launch. Health workers, border personnel and elderly residents are at the front of the queue.

Collins wants the New Zealand Government to follow in Australia’s footsteps.

“The Kiwi is rightly asking why Australia plans to vaccinate four million people by the end of March while New Zealand won’t start vaccinating the general public until at least July.”

According to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Covid-19 vaccine will be freely available to everyone in New Zealand by the middle of this year.

But border staff and rescue workers are at the front of the queue and will get vaccines faster than anyone else.

He said the mass vaccination program would be New Zealand’s largest immunization launch in history.

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“We are moving as quickly as possible, but we also want to make sure the vaccine is safe for New Zealanders.

He said the government had reached agreements with a number of pharmaceutical companies.

The agreement guarantees access to 7.6 million doses of AstraZeneca, enough for 3.8 million people, and 10.72 million doses of Novavax, enough for 5.36 million people.

Both vaccines require two doses to be administered.


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Covid 19 coronavirus: More testing for GAM returning from high-risk countries | Instant News

The government has announced additional Covid-19 tests for people returning to New Zealand from high-risk countries including the UK and US.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins this morning announced that additional tests would be required for those returning upon their arrival in New Zealand from midnight on December 31.

And additional plans for pre-departure tests for those leaving the UK for New Zealand are in the works. The goal is to introduce them from mid-January.

New border protection measures have been driven by the emergence of new and more infectious variants of the virus around the world, and high disease rates in some countries.

Hipkins said from the information officials received, the latest strains spread more easily and were easier to catch.

“The consequences are no more severe than for other types of Covid-19. You can see the same symptoms, the same effects, and the vaccine will still work,” he said.

“The extra PCR test will be applied on ‘day one’, as returnees who have been in Great Britain or the United States for the previous 14 days go through New Zealand airport surveillance, or on the ‘first day’, after they arrive at an isolation facility and managed quarantines. “

The majority of cases initially came to New Zealand from either the UK or the US, the next tier being countries such as India, Pakistan and Mexico.

The new test will be in addition to the current third and 12 day testing.

“Returnees will also be asked to be isolated or quarantined in their allocated room at the facility until their initial tests produce results,” said Hipkins.

“This means that if the results are positive, they will be transferred to a quarantine facility effectively several days earlier than under the standard two-test regime.

“We have been monitoring developments overseas very closely, and, like many other countries, New Zealand has raised concerns about a new variant of the virus and its potential to spread more rapidly, and high infection rates in some countries.

“We saw people without symptoms coming across the border who were then picked up on the third day of testing, so this will pick them up as early as possible.

“It will also help us identify in advance who is seated close to them on the flight.”

Hipkins said while increasing travel restrictions were imposed in countries that host airport hubs and by the airlines themselves – which block routes to New Zealand for most travelers from high-risk countries – the Government is taking these extra precautions to “provide another layer of protection and to support our goal of making summer unstoppable”.

He said the additional requirements would provide extra security for those working in MIQ facilities, and the public.

Hipkins also announced there would be pre-departure testing for British arrivals to New Zealand from mid-January.

“Avoiding viruses remains our greatest protection and as we have done so far, we regularly review our settings and make changes that will make a difference,” he explained.

“Plans for pre-departure risk reduction measures, including testing for people leaving the UK for New Zealand, are currently in the works, with a view to implementing them from mid-January.

“This includes selecting the form of testing that is most effective in the situation. Additional risk measures for other countries are also being considered.

“The returning refugees still have to go through a 14-day managed isolation and quarantine process upon arrival in New Zealand.”

He acknowledged further processing “will present extra hurdles for Kiwis planning to return”.

“We don’t take this lightly,” he said.

“We are going beyond what we have done in the past, to stay ahead of what appears to be a worsening situation globally and, by doing so, we will reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 during transit and entering our managed isolation facilities. “

Hipkins said an “eventual safe travel zone” with Australia and real countries would ultimately mean fewer people from low-risk countries living in managed isolation facilities in New Zealand.

That would then allow more people from high-risk countries to come.

“Additional offshore risk measures including pre-departure testing will help us prepare for such an increased risk of arrival to our facilities and to incoming flights,” he said.

Until yesterday, 16 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in New Zealand since Christmas Eve.

Fifteen cases are at the border.

Another case is a historical case in the community since seven months ago which has now been confirmed.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 50 after 15 recovered.

Our total number of confirmed cases is 1788.


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US, NZ trying to fend off the risky SolarWinds cyberattack – due to Trump’s bizarre fixation | Instant News

US President Donald Trump climbs to golf cart number 45 as he plays golf at the Trump National Golf Club on Dec.13. Photo / Getty

There have been many chaotic and convoluted power struggles during the Trump administration, but one of the strangest has occurred in its final days.

It goes like this.

The two houses of Congress have passed an annual defense policy bill covering US $ 740 billion in military spending.

This year, it includes dozens of provisions to support US cyber defense, including the creation of a national cyber director to coordinate the government’s response to digital attacks – a nod to a year that has seen a sharp spike in cyber espionage, including sweeping “SolarWinds” attacks on US government agencies and companies. private sector that is still ongoing.

US authorities suspect Russian hackers are behind the current attack, which has been labeled a “major risk” to public and private networks, as the perpetrators exploited a vulnerability in security software created by Texas-based SolarWinds to infiltrate computer systems.

Although the attack appears to be focused on US targets, our government’s Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert NZ) has issued it urgent advice that each local server protected by SolarWinds Orion software must be isolated until it is patchable, and passwords changed.

So New Zealand – has left behind Australia and others in strengthening cyber defenses amid the onslaught of attacks in 2020 – will benefit from US efforts to undo SolarWinds’ compromise efforts.

On the face of many things, you might think any US President would support – or even support – such an effort.

But US President Donald Trump is now threatening to veto a $ 740 billion defense bill, with his new cyber measures – for lacking the provisions he’s asked for on a completely unrelated topic to suppress major social media platforms.

Back in May, Twitter and Facebook began labeling some of Trump’s social media posts, stating that they violated their community policies by glorifying violence or, in other cases, that they made allegations about voter mail-in fraud and other related topics. . in a dispute.

Angry, Trump signed An Executive Order directing the Federal Communications Commission to take steps that would undermine the major legal shields for social media companies. Specifically, the 1996 law, Section 230 of the Communications Compliance Act, which basically prohibits people from suing “interactive computer service” providers for defamation if users post defamatory messages on their platforms because they are not considered traditional publishers. .

Trump gave the FCC two months to carry out its orders, but those efforts were unsuccessful. Law scholars and industry experts are not clear what the President really wants in his muddy words. However, the FCC is an independent body that is not subject to its control, and does not have powers to go beyond existing laws.

Hence, the President’s last-ditch attempts to cover Facebook and Twitter with “riders” on the Defense Bill, and his threat to use his powers to veto the legislation landed on his desk without such provisions.

The US president does have the power to veto (kill) certain recently passed laws.

But Congress can, in turn, bypass its veto by a two-thirds majority.

And it looks like that’s what happened here.

The defense bill has bipartisan support and is passed by large majorities in the House of Representatives (335 to 78) and the Senate (84 to 13).

So far, Republicans have given no indication that they will bow to Trump’s wishes and add any social media provisions he wants, so the final days of his administration could leave him suffering the shame of his excessive veto.

Meanwhile, Trump has been trying to play down SolarWinds’ attacks, contradicting Minister of Foreign Affairs himself. He also suggested, without any evidence, that China was behind the attacks, not Russia.

“This cyber attack most likely carried out by Russia highlights the glaring vulnerabilities of our federal cybersecurity system,” said Susan Collins, Republican senator from Maine, Friday.

“The president must immediately sign the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act], not only to safeguard our military strength but also because it contains significant cyber security provisions which will help thwart future attacks, “he added.

If Trump vetoed the law, it would continue Trump’s last questionable record of cyber defense.

Cyber ​​security boss fired

On November 18, he was fired Christopher Krebs, respected director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for making “inaccurate” claims about the election.

CISA issued a statement rejecting Trump’s claims that large numbers of the dead could vote or that someone could change the results without detection.

The 2020 elections are, “the safest in American history,” said Krebbs.

Democrat Adam Schiff said Trump’s move to fire Krebbs was “sad and predictable from a president who views the truth as his enemy.”


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New Zealand risks becoming a dumping ground for ‘dirty diesel engines’, warned automaker Toyota | Instant News


Toyota New Zealand says the feebate scheme will make electric vehicles more affordable for drivers in the country. Photo / 123rf


Toyota New Zealand says the feebate scheme will make electric vehicles more affordable for drivers in the country.

Chief executive Neeraj Lala said the country would not follow through on its net-zero carbon targets as part of the Paris Agreement if vehicle emissions were not reduced.

“New Zealand needs to immediately work on setting the right policies that encourage much higher uptake of electric vehicles through meaningful financial incentives,” said Lala.

The government’s previous plan to launch a feebate scheme was indeed beneficial, he said.

“It incentivizes private buyers and fleets of low-emission vehicles by adding a fee to high-emission vehicles and using that income to reduce the price of low-emission vehicles of less than $ 80,000.”

However, the proposal was canceled by the coalition partners of the New Zealand First Government.

“The feebate scheme must be discussed again,” said Lala.

The feebate scheme needs to be revived, said Neeraj Lala.  Photo / Toyota NZ
The feebate scheme needs to be revived, said Neeraj Lala. Photo / Toyota NZ

He said he had contacted Transport Secretary Michael Wood about the need for financial incentives because low emissions come at a cost that the manufacturers themselves cannot bear.

Lala said if the government wasn’t careful, New Zealand could become Cuba in the South Pacific because European countries would dump their “dirty diesel engines” and petrol-fueled vehicles here.

“The UK move to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel powered cars by 2030 is a boost for New Zealand policymakers and a red flag that the country could be inundated by used internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by the end of the decade.”

The Sustainable Business Council and the Climate Leaders Coalition have also urged Governments to consider implementing fuel efficiency standards.

The proposal during the last Government was supported by the Greens, which supported Toyota’s call.

The party’s transportation spokeswoman, Julie Anne Genter, said pairing the price incentive with the new Clean Car Standard would be the best way to clean the streets.

“It’s been a long time since New Zealand has implemented a policy like this. Every other developed country in the world has a policy like this and I know New Zealanders are eager to be able to buy more efficient vehicles.

“So, I really hope the Government will follow up on this.”

Genter said Toyota championed policies that were not strictly in their commercial interests.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared that New Zealand was in a state of climate emergency, and pledged that the public sector would be carbon neutral by 2025.

“Such leadership is welcome, but the government also needs to put financial resources behind its policies,” said Lala.

A spokeswoman for Lala said she owns the Toyota Supra, which has a 3.0L twin-turbo engine, but she also cycles through other Toyota vehicles.



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These are the most dangerous places in America | Instant News

Thanksgiving trips are dangerous this year. Here are the places to avoid. getty If you have any doubts about your vacation travel plans, you are in good company. Many Americans have already canceled Thanksgiving trips after harsh advice from the CDC. Those who didn’t want to know: how dangerous is it, really? It depends on your destination. Some destinations are more dangerous than others when it comes to COVID-19 infections. I got an exclusive list of America’s most dangerous places that might help you make up your mind. Kinsa, a public health company, predicts COVID-19 outbreaks on average 10 days before they occur. It uses data from a network of more than two million smart thermometers and associated mobile apps, along with publicly available COVID-19 case numbers, to make its predictions. The latest projections from Kinsa suggest that next week there will be “critical” hot spots in Colorado, Michigan and Illinois. I also asked the company for the safest places (which it calls “moderate” risk areas). And there’s good news if you find yourself in parts of California. The Red States of America Most of the United States is a high risk red zone for the next 10 days. The card has changed in the last 48 hours. This is what it looked like on Thursday morning, which I reported in my newsletter, Elliott Confidential: Map of Kinsa of high risk areas in the United States as of November 19, 2020. Kinsa And here it is now: Map of Kinsa of high risk areas high risk risk areas in the United States as of November 23, 2020. Kinsa Unless you are in Virginia, Vermont or Maine, you are in a red zone. By the way, you can see the risk in your county on Kinsa’s HealthWeather. (Even though the pandemic has positively changed travel, you may still need help canceling your Thanksgiving travel plans. I run a nonprofit consumer advocacy site that can help. how to contact us.) I asked Kinsa to remove data on the highest risk countries from the US And here’s where it gets interesting. America’s Most Dangerous Counties for Thanksgiving Travel These counties are considered a “critical” risk for COVID-19 infection. Denver County, which was ranked 7th just 48 hours ago, is now the most high-risk area. Chicago’s suburbs (Will County and Cook County) are also problematic. Of the cities, Grand Rapids, El Paso and Salt Lake City are also in bad shape. If you are planning to go there for the holidays, you might want to consider a delay. America’s Safest Counties for Thanksgiving Travel These counties are considered to be at “moderate” risk for COVID-19 infection. This does not mean that they are safe and this list should not be taken as approval to travel. Several counties in northern California are relatively well placed. Still not great, with cases expected to increase by 53%. But less horrible than in parts of the Midwestern United States. What This Means to You Kinsa says people should think carefully about whether to travel for Thanksgiving. “We urge all of your readers, and especially those planning to travel on vacation in these uncertain times, to check out the local health risk for their intended destination and make a decision that is in their best interest, to their families and their community, ”Kinsa spokesperson Nita Nehru told me. And after Thanksgiving? Officially, Kinsa does not offer screenings for the coming month. But Nehru checked with data scientists in Kinsa and they identified two problematic areas. “Right now, we’re showing that Louisiana and Georgia are at risk of a continuing outbreak over the next few weeks,” he says. Bottom line: If you are thinking of traveling for Thanksgiving, think again. It’s dangerous there. .

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