Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said no public health advice was perfect, after recently released documents show officials believed Delta’s outbreak was under control.
Health advice given to ministers on September 20 shows that the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, was convinced the outbreak had been contained in Auckland.
“It appears to have peaked on August 28, with daily numbers generally declining or remaining static at low levels as the epidemic’s expected tail emerges.
“Where there have been small daily increases, these have been linked to existing cases (eg, family contacts) or around scheduled testing requirements.”
The advisory said the risk in Auckland was rated medium.
On September 30, the advice to ministers changed.
“As of September 29, 2021, the seven-day moving average of Covid-19 cases in the community is 18, and that number has not changed since the previous public health risk assessment of September 18, 2021.
“There has been a persistent tail of cases in Auckland with continuous peaks.”
However, the risk was still rated medium for Auckland and low for the rest of the country.
By mid-October, the government had moved away from elimination.
Today, Robertson said that overall, the Delta outbreak has been managed well.
“The ministry gave us good, solid advice. Does that mean it’s 100% perfect? No it’s not, but that’s why we try to learn [Brian] Roche and the experience we have, ”he said.