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Still time to share your Covid-19 experience says inquiry chair

There is still time to share your experiences with the COVID-19 Inquiry says its Chair, Professor Tony Blakely.

“A really important part of the Inquiry is hearing from as many people, communities, and groups as possible about their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Professor Blakely.

Over the past six weeks the Inquiry has received over 7500 submissions detailing COVID-19 experiences, as well as making suggestions and providing insights about how a future pandemic could be managed. The submissions have come from people of all age groups, ethnicities, and locations, including New Zealanders living overseas.

Professor Blakely encourages all those yet to make a submission to do so before the consultation closes on Sunday 24 March.

The Inquiry has received fewer submissions from under-18s than any other category, and would value hearing more from young people, says Professor Blakely.

“We don’t want anyone to assume their experience was commonplace or that their insights won’t help inform our work. The many conversations we have had, and submissions we have received to date, all add to the work of the Commission. We really do encourage everyone to make a submission at www.covid19inquiry.nz“.

The experiences shared with the Inquiry to date have covered a broad range of topics and events, Professor Blakely says.

“We have heard about the impact of the pandemic on mental health, including the loneliness and isolation experienced by many.

“We have also heard a range of experiences such as the effects of lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and border closures, and how people’s experiences of significant life events, like births and deaths, were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In particular, the Inquiry has heard a wide range of stories from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, with over 25 percent of submissions coming from the Auckland region.

“Along with the many meetings we have held with organisations, individuals, and communities in Tāmaki Makarau, these submissions give us valuable insight into the COVID-19 experience in the region, including the effects of multiple and extended lockdowns,” says Professor Blakely.

The public can also provide feedback on an expanded terms of reference for the Inquiry, which determine which topics the Inquiry can investigate. This feedback is provided to the Department of Internal Affairs, who will then provide advice to the Government ahead of any changes it may make to the terms of reference.

“We would like to thank everyone who has shared their COVID-19 experience with the Inquiry so far. We feel honoured to hear these stories and receive these contributions to the work of the Inquiry,” Professor Blakely says.

Public submissions close at midnight on 24 March 2024. Submissions can be made at www.covid19inquiry.nz.

 

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