New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has confirmed that out of the 514 Covid-19 cases to date, approximately 4 percent of those cases are Māori and 2.3 percent are Pacific people, Te Ao Māori reports.
In a media conference with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday afternoon, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said: “We’ve just been able to do that breakdown today and we will provide that on the website but off the top of my head Māori so far are 4 percent of cases and Pacific 2.3 percent.”
This makes the estimated number about 21 Māori and 12 Pacific people.
The Ministry of Health has now published ethnicity percentages of all cases on its website, with the latest figures as at 9am yesterday.
Ministry of Health figures provided to Te Ao state that of the 514 Covid-19 cases, Asian are 7.3 percent, European or Other 74.3 percent, Māori 4 percent, Middle Eastern / Latin American / African 2.9 percent and Pacific People 2.3 percent.
In number terms, the ministry says this represents: Asian 38, European or Other 382, Māori 21, Middle Eastern/Latin American/African 15, Pacific Peoples 12, Unknown 46, Total 514.
This is the first time we have seen specific numbers related to Māori and Pacific people.
When it comes to poverty, overcrowded housing and health issues, Māori and Pacific struggle at a greater rate than non-Māori.
Dr Matire Harwood, of Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā (National Māori Pandemic Group), says if Covid-19 was to enter any of these vulnerable communities it would have dire impacts.
Te Ao Māori video.
Ensuring these communities are prepared, protected and resourced is of the utmost importance, but so too is the effect of those in the Māori and Pacific communities living with Covid-19.
New Zealand had its first death linked to COVID-19 on the West Coast yesterday. The death was in a woman in her seventies who had initially been admitted with what was thought to be influenza complicated by an underlying chronic health condition.
“As we have seen around the world, Covid-19 can be a deadly disease – particularly for elderly people, and those with underlying pre-existing health issues,” the Ministry of Health said.
“This latest sad news reinforces the importance of our move to Alert Level Four, and the measures we are all taking to limit spread, break the chain of transmission and prevent deaths.”