WELLINGTON – A woman taking a flight back to New Zealand should avoid all physical contact with other people for 14 days while she is under mandatory quarantine. Men working in quarantine hotels should be the last line of defense.
But the two of them started giving each other notes, including the ones written on the back of the face masks. Then he ordered a bottle of wine, which was delivered to his room. When he did not return 20 minutes later, a security manager sent to investigate found the couple together in what authorities described as an inappropriate encounter, where physical distance was not maintained.
The incident earlier this month, which came to light on Friday, has highlighted a very human soft spot in New Zealand’s coronavirus elimination procedure, in a country that has already eradicated the spread of the virus in communities. This is similar to the drift in Australia that may have contributed to last year’s major outbreak in Melbourne.
“We are dealing with humans,” said Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins. “We ask everyone to comply with the standards that we apply. I can’t control the actions of each individual. ”
Hipkins said the couple’s behavior was completely unacceptable and he has called for a thorough investigation.
Brigadier Jim Bliss, head of the administered isolation and quarantine, said the worker was immediately sent home and told to self-isolate. He was later fired. Returning travelers, meanwhile, are given formal written warnings by the police. Authorities breathed a sigh of relief after the two returned negative coronavirus tests.
“The actions of the two people involved in this incident are very irresponsible and very disappointing,” said Bliss. There is absolutely no room for complacency.
Bliss said the actions of staff at Grand Millennium Auckland hotel do not reflect the 4,000 people working in quarantine hotels who every day “selflessly put themselves between us and the virus.” He said an investigation was underway to consider whether additional security measures were needed.
The identities of the two people involved have not been disclosed by authorities.
New Zealand’s successful response has resulted in just 25 people dying from the virus in the nation of 5 million. The only new cases are those from returning travelers, 100,000 of whom have flown over the past year. Authorities and people across the country are closely monitoring any violations at the border.
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