NZ police chief says anti-lockdown protests ‘disappointing’

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NZ Police Commissioner Andrew Coster
NZ Police Commissioner Andrew Coster ... "the vast majority of people have been doing exactly the right thing." Image: Samuel Rillstone/RNZ

RNZ News

New Zealand police are out again today enforcing the rules of the level 4 lockdown concentrating on dealing with any illegal gatherings, ensuring all travel is essential and providing reassurance patrols at places like supermarkets.

Yesterday there were eight arrests at anti-lockdown protests in Auckland and Whangarei and drivers across the country were checked to ensure travel was for essential purposes only.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the delta variant was different and needed a firmer approach because any gathering was problematic.

He said so far police had been pleased with people’s compliance with the rules.

“Very good, we’re really pleased with the way things are going, you know it always takes a couple of days to settle down into the rhythm of this, but the vast majority of people have been doing exactly the right thing, so we’re very happy,” he said.

Coster said yesterday’s anti-lockdown protests were disappointing and although police respected people’s right to protest now was not the time to be gathering.

He said they expected that further protests could be a possibility and police would take a similar approach to yesterday when arrests were made.

‘We need to knuckle down’
“You know people are entitled to express their views but we really just need to knuckle down and get through this and the more we do that the shorter this lockdown is likely to be.”

Coster said about 40 percent of police staff were vaccinated but they would like that to be at 100 percent.

“Clearly they’re out protecting our communities and obviously their risk level is higher as a result of doing that.

“They’re all wearing protective equipment but we’re working as hard as we can to speed up that vaccination rate dependant on the ability to access vaccines and get it done.”

Coster said the police internal vaccination programme would start up again tomorrow and it looked like they should be able to speed up the rate of vaccinations.

He said today police would be focusing on any gatherings to ensure they were dealt with quickly, ensure that any movement on the roads was only for essential purposes and then reassurance patrols in areas such as supermarkets.

Infected cluster could reach 120
RNZ News reports the number of people infected with the delta variant could grow to 120 before the outbreak is brought under control, according to expert estimates.

New Zealanders are being warned to expect more cases of covid 19 over the next few days, but a mathematician says the numbers depends how long it has been spreading undetected.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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