A top Covid modeller has called on the Government to boost resources for South Auckland saying despite "extraordinary" work from the community it could remain the "ongoing frontline in the battle against Covid".
With majority of managed isolation and quarantine facilities there and a high number of essential workers living there the region has long been at the highest risk of outbreaks.
Covid modeller Rodney Jones told the Parliamentary Health Select Committee exacerbating these factors was inequality, which the highly-transmissable Delta variant thrived in.
"A number of our team members, including myself, were either born, grew up or currently live in South and West Auckland. So we've been quite felt quite emotional through this outbreak.
"This is the outbreak we feared as long ago as February 2020, because the different cultural and socioeconomic settings makes it a much challenging outbreak to deal with."
Jones said the outbreak in Sydney had followed a similar path, with case numbers rising rapidly in western suburbs where there was higher density housing and lower-socioeconomic conditions.
Jones said "extraordinary" work had gone on so far from the community in seeking to control the outbreak but there remained a "high positivity rate", and looking ahead the Government needed to be proactive and focus resources there.
"The concern with a high positivity rate is that there may be undetected background cases still circulating in the community. And we need to find them."
Extra resources included boosting vaccinations and increasing testing capacity, including rapid saliva testing.
"We need to support them in these vital steps to restore elimination. What we need to take away from this experience is that delta thrives on inequality.
"We must ensure that after this outbreak we now deploy spending and public health resources to South Auckland, because that is going to remain ongoing frontline in the battle against Covid."
Jones was also critical of a lack of transparency and data released by the Ministry of Health.
He compared what was released here, normally just when a case rested positive, with Singapore, where full details about cases were published proactively including when symptoms were present and if they were vaccinated or not.
"We need much more transparency, really detailed data online that people can access that individuals themselves can build models and access and start to understand.
"This is not something that should be elite... this is what we're going to have to live with."
Te Pūnaha Matatini modeller Professor Shaun Hendy also called for more widespread use of rapid testing technology.
He also spoke to recent modelling from himself and his colleagues that showed level 4 restrictions in Auckland were "working about as well as level 4 last year", and were on track to eliminate the outbreak in the coming weeks "provided we stay at level 4".
They were still estimating the outbreak to reach about 1000 case numbers in total.
Hendy said rising vaccination levels would mean in future the time spent in level 4 lockdown would be reduced.
Increasing full vaccination levels from about 30 per cent currently to 50 per cent could essentially see the time spent in lockdown halve, he said.
"As vaccination rates increase the time to elimination decreases."