Covid 19 coronavirus: Sir Brian Roche, Rob Fyfe among team brought in to oversee review of NZ’s pandemic response

The Government has appointed a special advisory group, led by business executive Sir Brian Roche, to help ensure it “learns and adapts” when it comes to the Covid-19 Response.

Former Air NZ chief executive Rob Fyfe is also on the new group.

In a statement this morning, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said this new advisory group would formalise its ongoing approach to independent review and improvement around Covid-19.

“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 group consists of:
• Rob Fyfe,
• Dr Debbie Ryan,
• Professor Phillip Hill, and
• Dr Dale Bramley.

“This is a group of highly respected and experienced experts, with strong connections across a number of fields,” Hipkins said.

The establishment of the advisory group comes after the Government came under fire for the most recent outbreak in Auckland.

The group will be focused on continually monitoring the implementation of previous Government reviews, as well as providing impartial advice on the performance and impact of the whole system and the strategic direction of the response.

According to the terms and reference, The group could;
• Consider the current Covid-19 response efforts across the Government’s systemwide response, encompassing border, managed isolation and quarantine, and public health response

• Provide an ongoing independent perspective on the robustness of the Covid-19 response system and opportunities for continuous improvement on specific aspects of the response to give the minister assurance that the necessary learnings have been recorded and implemented by agencies

“I’m pleased with the make-up of the group and thank the members for agreeing to provide their expertise, as the Government continues to learn and sharpen its response as we enter the second year of Covid-19,” Hipkins said.

The terms and reference for the group, who will report to Hipkins, was also released today and sets out what its objectives are.

“The purpose of the group is to provide advice to the Minister for Covid-19 Response on specific areas of the response where improvements could be made with the benefit of alternative and independent perspectives.

“It is expected that the group will advise the Minister for Covid-19 Response on the extent to which the Government response is performing efficiently and effectively and is based on best practice and technical advice.

“The group will provide advice to the Minister for Covid-19 Response on priority areas for improvement and learning. The group will also provide advice on forward scenario planning, readiness and preparedness of the system.”

In the past, after community outbreaks, the Government made moves to strengthen its defences against Covid-19.

Earlier this year, the Government mandated pre-departure testing which means anyone who is travelling to New Zealand needs to test negative for Covid-19.

Before that announcement, only travellers coming from the US and the UK were required to produce a negative test.

But those rules were broadened in January to provide another line of defence for New Zealand against the pandemic.

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