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Advisory group to monitor govt‘s Covid-19 response

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Image: RNZ.

A independent advisory group is being established to ensure the government continues to improve its response to Covid-19.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the new group, chaired by Sir Bryan Roche, would formalise the ongoing approach to ensure the government continues to learn and adapt.

“Throughout our response to the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19 we have been committed to continual improvement, and independent advice has been a really important part of that process.”

Other members of the group are Rob Fyfe, Dr Debbie Ryan, Professor Phillip Hill and Dr Dale Bramley.

“Independent reviews of our contact tracing systems and the implementation of our testing strategy provided useful advice and recommendations. Implementation of those recommendations has left us better protected and better prepared,” says Hipkins.

“This new advisory group will formalise that ongoing approach to independent review and improvement. As well as continually monitoring the implementation of previous reviews, the group will be empowered to provide impartial advice on the performance and impact of the whole system and the strategic direction of the response.”

He says it will also provide assurances on the performance and settings of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, and on planning for an outbreak, and will review public communications and responses in the community.

“The establishment of this group builds on other recent changes such as our work before Christmas to reorganise how government agencies operationalising the Elimination Strategy work together to generate stronger alignment between border and health systems. That’s worked well.”

Hipkins says one of the group's first priorities would be reviewing the recent outbreak in South Auckland.

"I imagine as they look at this most recent response there will undoubtedly be things that can be improved for next time and that's exactly what we want them to do.”

The group will start work on March 15 with a term through to June 1, 2022.

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