Medical Officers in New Zealand have confirmed two new cases of Covid-19 after two women who returned from the United Kingdom test positive for the virus. After 24-days of reporting no case of the condition, and less than two weeks of declaring the country, corona-free. Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, described the event as an “unacceptable failure” on the part of the country after the two women identified in the new cases were allowed to leave an isolation centre without being tested for the condition.
“It should never have happened, and it cannot be repeated,” the Prime Minister said. The event is a worry situation because the women have turned out to test positive to the condition after leaving the isolation centre. Officials of the country are trying to come into terms on reasons why the women were allowed to leave their isolation centre without being tested for the condition after they had arrived in New Zealand from the United Kingdom on the 7th of June, 2020.
It is reported that the women moved out of their isolation centre, Auckland hotel, and travelled to Wellington to visit a dying relative of theirs about 400 miles away. Reports indicate that the two women received a compassionate exemption to the mandatory 14-days (2 weeks) isolation period, and that allowed them to leave the centre to visit their relative.
Following the declaration of the country as free from the global pandemic, Dr Bloomfield (Director-General of Health of New Zealand) said at a news conference on Monday, the 8th of June 2020 that the country would take steps to remove all Covid-19 related restrictions on shops, restaurants and offices while social distancing protocol wouldn’t be mandatory going forward even though it will remain encouraged. Currently, only New Zealanders and their families, and essential workers are officially permitted to enter into the country.
However, this category of exempted individuals are required to undergo a mandatory 14-days (2 weeks) quarantine or self-isolation and would be tested twice for the condition during the period. A statement released by the health officials on Wednesday night debunked earlier reports that the two women had done everything right after they were allowed to leave the isolation centre and hadn’t made any contact with the public. New claims, however, suggests that the two women met two other friends of theirs.
Meanwhile, the Government has taken steps to scrub the compassionate dispensation policy, which allowed persons in quarantine to visit their family members. Before the scrub, the Government had received backlash for disallowing people the chance to pay visits to their dying relatives. Contact tracing has begun, and 320 people are targeted as close contacts to the two women reported in the new covid-19 cases of the country.
The figure includes passengers on the flight that brought the two women from the UK to New Zealand, flight crew, quarantined travellers at their isolation centre (Auckland hotel) and hotel staff. Meanwhile, the two women are currently being held in isolation. Health officials have urged persons falling within the close contact description to make themselves available for testing.
The Prime Minister has stated emphatically that the new cases reported doesn’t change the country’s status because they knew potential cases could arise from their borders.