COVID-19: Independent group set up to advise Govt on response to pandemic

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo credit: RNZ / Dom Thomas

An independent advisory group is being established to ensure the Government continues to improve its response to the pandemic.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said 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.

"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," he said.

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

As well as monitoring the implementation of previous reviews, Hipkins said the group would provide impartial advice on the performance and impact of the whole system.

"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," he said.

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