Otago Daily Times

Five cases found, all in iso­la­tion

His­toric breaches come to light

- Infectious Diseases · Crime · Incidents · Coronavirus (COVID-19) · Health Conditions · Wellington, New Zealand · New Zealand · New Zealand Ministry of Health · Auckland Region · Christchurch International Airport · Christchurch

WELLING­TON: There were five new cases of Covid­19 in man­aged iso­la­tion and no new com­mu­nity cases in New Zealand yes­ter­day.

In a state­ment, the Min­istry of Health said three of the new cases were from the fish­ing crew at the Sudima Ho­tel Christchur­ch Air­port, which brings the to­tal num­ber of iso­lat­ing crew mem­bers who have re­turned pos­i­tive tests to 32.

Mean­while, of­fi­cial fig­ures show 32 peo­ple breached Covid­19 iso­la­tion rules dur­ing a 58­day pe­riod be­tween April and June.

The breaches oc­curred be­tween April 17 and June 14, for ei­ther ab­scond­ing, fail­ing to re­turn or at­tempt­ing to flee the man­aged iso­la­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

No­body was charged. Po­lice or health of­fi­cials were warn­ing and ed­u­cat­ing those who broke the rules.

Half of the breaches were peo­ple who failed to re­turn or were late to re­turn af­ter be­ing granted an ex­emp­tion to at­tend a fu­neral or tangi.

Seven breaches were peo­ple who es­caped iso­la­tion, in­clud­ing four peo­ple who fled the Ry­dges Ho­tel in Auck­land on May 10.

The in­ci­dent does not ap­pear to have been re­ported pub­licly.

The four peo­ple were later found at a rel­a­tive’s house.

Af­ter weigh­ing up the health risks, no charges were laid but those in­volved were warned and ed­u­cated.

The Min­istry of Health ran mo­bile test­ing of peo­ple they had been in con­tact with while away from iso­la­tion.

In a brief­ing sent to the po­lice min­is­ter on June 22 and ob­tained un­der the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act, they said the quar­an­tine and man­aged iso­la­tion op­er­a­tion, dubbed Op­er­a­tion Mercy, was run by the Min­istry of Health and De­fence Force, not po­lice.

But po­lice did aid in track­ing down and re­turn­ing peo­ple to iso­la­tion when called upon.

The re­port said ‘‘all of the cases . . . were re­solved suc­cess­fully by the agen­cies in­volved’’. — RNZ

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