Scanning with the contact tracing app is “our strongest form of defence” against going into another lockdown, according to Professor Shaun Hendy.
Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast the University of Auckland data modelling expert warned a potential two week period of new community cases of the coronavirus, which authorities can't get on top of, could put New Zealand into lockdown.
Hendy said he believed Auckland particularly had become complacent before a woman who lives, studies and works in the central city was confirmed as having Covid-19 last week - a case of community transmission.
The woman has been linked to the Defence Force cluster and one of her close contacts was confirmed as having contracted the virus yesterday.
Hendy said usage of the tracing app had increased over the weekend following news of last week's community case, but that was too late. He says people need to regularly use the app as matter of course rather than in reaction to new community cases.
“When we see a case like this, we want to see back a week or two,” he said.
“If people haven’t been scanning two weeks ago, then actually there’s not a lot of point scanning after we hear about these cases.”
He said the size of the latest cluster in Auckland had been established quite quickly compared with the cluster in August.
“In two to three weeks, there were around about a 100 cases out there in the community [in August], that meant we had to lock down,” Hendy said.
“If we’re not catching things in that two to three week period, that means we’re looking at a lockdown.”
“That’s the challenge with battling this disease.”
Hendy also supported any moves to make mask use compulsory on public transport.