University of Auckland professor of medicine Des Gorman slams Government over handling of COVID-19 pandemic after truckie case

A leading medical professor is slamming the Government over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic saying "they should get out of the job of running day to day complex operations".

University of Auckland professor of medicine Des Gorman has told Newshub the essential worker that tested positive for COVID-19 after travelling to Palmerston North from Auckland on Saturday isn't surprising and is surprised it hasn't happened more. 

"I think every time there is a border breach the people involved should be concerned and as you can see from one small breach you can grow a whole epidemic, so I think there is every reason for concern," Gorman tells Newshub. "I'm surprised it hasn't popped up more often, to be honest.

"Essential workers should be tested every day, not every so often, not several times a week, every day. Testing once or twice a week with a very abrasive, uncomfortable test is never going to lead to high levels of compliance or the testing frequency that you need. 

"Using saliva-based test means you can test every day and you can do PCR tests with the same sensitivity as the nasal swabs but the beauty of the rapid antigen test is that the workers can test themselves on a daily basis and that is the only real way to keep the essential workforce free from the disease. 

"So this sort of thing is absolutely inevitable." 

The University of Auckland professor says the Government's handling of the entire pandemic over the last 18 months proves it "thinks it owns all the good ideas".

"I think it reflects that the pandemic management has been politicised," Gorman tells Newshub.

"It's true in many parts of the world, it's not just true of our Government but unfortunately politicians should be focused on their day jobs which are in Parliament passing laws when they should get out of the job of running day to day complex operations.

"They don't have the experience, they don't have the skills for it and over the last 18 months, you would have to say they don't have the track record for it.

"The general point that somehow our Government thinks it owns all the good ideas, whereas I think smart Governments invite industries, businesses and all other walks of life to contribute and they act as a coordinator and a manager as compared to the owner of everything that is smart."

Gorman's comments came before two people in Waikato tested positive for COVID-19 in the community, bringing infections outside of Auckland to three.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield are holding an unexpected press conference at 1pm following revelations the new COVID-19 cases in Waikato.