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Two new COVID-19 cases arrived on Air NZ flight from Brisbane and were in quarantine at Novotel Ellerslie in Auckland before driving to Wellington

Two new COVID-19 cases arrived on Air NZ flight from Brisbane and were in quarantine at Novotel Ellerslie in Auckland before driving to Wellington
The Novotel Hotel at Ellerslie where the two women with COVID-19 stayed.

New Zealand's two new COVID-19 cases were women who were related to each other and travelled to Auckland from the UK, via Doha and Brisbane.

They arrived on an Air New Zealand flight on June 7, and went into isolation at the Novotel Hotel at Ellerslie in Auckland.

They were subsequently granted an exemption from quarantine to travel from Auckland to Wellington by private vehicle for a funeral that is due to take place next week. Their intention was to help the family member they were staying with plan the funeral. The funeral has now been postponed.

While in Wellington they were tested for the COVID-19 virus and that returned a positive result today (June 16). They remain in self isolation at a Wellington property.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said one of the pair had no symptoms and the other had symptoms but they were initially attributed to a pre-existing condition.

He said the rules around issuing quarantine exemptions had now been changed, requiring everyone applying for an exemption to be tested for the virus and to return a negative result, before an exemption would be issued.

The Ministry of Health is now contacting potential contacts of the pair who were on the same Air New Zealand flight from Brisbane or who were at the Novotel in Ellerslie while they were there.

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147 Comments

32
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How on earth are we suppose to get international travel up and running again if it's so easy for infected people to slip through medical screening???
Aren't all arrivals in New Zealand are tested for Covid-19 and have to go through a 14-day period of isolation or quarantine?

And yes, this has hit the international headlines. BBC New Zealand's first Covid cases in 24 days came from UK. "New Zealand has confirmed two new cases of coronavirus, ending a 24-day streak of no new infections in the country". https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-53059633

31
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Granting exemptions to quarantine without a procedure in place to minimise risk is bad. With respect to international travel we really need to think carefully about the UK and US leper colonies and how we handle their infected.

Unfortunately NZ is now a "leper colony" too.

We'll have to be really careful about all the larger countries too even the ones that claim the have the virus under control. We should also impose huge penalty fines for those individuals who risk bringing in the virus and are found to have Covid-19. Perhaps then they'll think twice before getting on that flight and putting everyone's lives at risk.

Won't work. What happens if you catch it on the flight? Who gets fined?

Unfortunately the onus won't be on the individual, given they are screened and given the all clear before boarding.

Understand what youre getting at though. It was bought into the country, and now has done so again.

even worse - will motivate anyone arriving with / developing Covid19 to hide from testing / tracing . BAD idea.

They can't hide if they're adequately scanned through customs on arrival. Thing is one of them was still allowed to travel even with symptoms of the virus but just dismissed it as an underlying health problem? Should they have been traveling in the fist place if they had a high temperature etc? Answer no they'll shouldn't have been allowed to move freely and drive from one large city to another!

Probably... (-‸ლ)

11
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Ok nz 'journalists', it's your time to prove your worth...hard questions, please.

Thanks FB (well, sort of). That answers one question I had. If that story is correct they are clearly isolating different cohorts (based on arrival day) in the same facility. If new arrivals are mixing with people just about to leave isolation that negates the whole 14-day theory. It should now be possible to find 14 empty hotels in Auckland so that we have a day one hotel, day two hotel etc. Does that make any sense?

In case it's not clear, I'm not suggesting moving everyone every day! Just starting each new day-cohort in a new hotel.

Will any heads roll for this? Or will it be treated as - put it down to experience. The person(s) responsible have promised not to do it again. Unbelievable!

The UK Government is to blame for this. We should declare a secret war against them and interfere with their relations with the EU.

From what I read one lady had been affected mildly and the other lady was symptom free. It looks like a case of the press going gangbusters busters again over a semi-serious matter.

I went through quarantine and very few people were tested (they had to be symptomatic). It was a shambles and the fact that multiple people, not granted exemption, didn't spread the virus (as far as we know) from the facilities is miraculous.

Out of interest why did you go through quarantine? It seems odd to me that anyone is flying into the country right now, I just can’t think of a valid reason.

A New Zealand citizen returning from overseas. Whatever their reason, you can't deny a citizen entry into their own country.

Correct. I was an NZ citizen on a repatriation flight.

Surely we have the right to close the Airport? Why didn't we set a deadline after which we were no longer going allow international passenger flights to land?
I can't even imagine how there are enough people to fill a plane!

Because there are tens of thousands of expats overseas, and they have every right to remain overseas - and return home to NZ - whenever they choose. We would be in a much worse position if the Government chose to deny citizens their right to return home. Did you not notice the chartered repatriation flights or the military repatriation flights? Rome wasn't built in a day.

Also, all flights take cargo for trade - passengers are just additional.

24
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Staggering. Why is Bloomfield fronting this and not Ardern?

34
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Doesn't he have something to do with the health system or some line of work like that? I'll have to do some googling as to why he's relevant.

Would have thought the Health Minister would have something to do with it.

But he was off mountain biking the whole entire time.

Yes we should have got Todd Muller involved as he came out today and said there is a track record with this individual.
Yeah ,well, Todd you said there was diversity on your front bench which proved to be Wrong and then you said you were standing for the Labour party which was Wrong again. You, obviously, have a Track Record yourself which is totally negative to your advancement to become prime minister. Lets get Simon back on the front bench and see how many gaffes both of you can generate. Wong Key is very quite of late......

The only diversity in the current Cabinet can be shown by different levels of incompetence.

36
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Success! I've found the answer for you. Apparently he's the chief executive of the Ministry of Health and the country's Director-General of Health. He's also apparently been fronting the coronavirus response to date, who knew?

I guess we both learned something new today.

"I guess we both learned something new today."

I learned that snark is no substitute for an actual response, if that helps.

15
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Perhaps you should also learn that stupid questions get snarky answers.

For PM it's old news, like mentioned before.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300035945/coronavirus-...

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pre-empted new cases arising.
"This is going to be an ongoing campaign. New Zealand will have cases again in the future," she said.

Monday, Should had said there were a couple of suspected cases.....

15
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What a cynical move she made. If I didn't know better I would think that she thought we are all stupid.

If so, perhaps she has a point. Certainly this messaging - that COVID and the response are both ongoing - has been consistent and is not unique to this week.

(That said, agree these isolated cases should be managed better. Not bowing to social and mass media angst over "she's not even allowed to attend her ___'s funeral! It's heartless!").

Because he is a better spin Doctor??

Yes the Spin Doctors, loved them live.

https://youtu.be/yF4T3pH0ve4
Little Miss Can't Be Wrong.

Cindy doesn’t do bad news.

46
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Left the hotel without a test despite having mild symptoms ... what a shambles

Heads should roll. Absolutely no excuse for this. Look at the sacrifices that the country has made.

24
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I hope this government has learnt its lesson, DONOT UNDER ESTIMATE A VIRUS, the UK and Brazil and USA still are in denial and maybe Australia will pay the price for not taking this virus seriously.

You would have hoped they would have learnt this long ago.
I really think everyone that lands should be getting 2 weeks full isolation no exceptions. And I'm talking you are locked in your room and someone gives you some food 3 times a day. Hopefully the tougher they are the less people will come in. Surely any proper resident NZer is home by now?
As much as I will probably vote for Labour, they have been so lucky really, the luck has to run out soon.

And what about all those dual-national families, of which there are many in NZ. No right to visit dying relatives?

16
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I feel for the family who are undoubtedly grieving and will now feel the weight of NZ's media circus on their backs. But come on MoH...

17
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Unfortunately that family has potentially cost more people to lose their jobs, lockdown, mental health problems and everything we have achieved possibly to go down the toilet. This time to protect our house and while its unfortunate they have lost a loved one, this is no time to be feeling sorry but further tightening up the border. We have to protect NZ. We need to treat all arrivals from UK, US, Brazil, etc with utmost caution regardless of the arrivals personal situation.

It is not the family that is at fault - they were cleared to go. It is the officials who said they could go without being tested despite being symptomatic and regardless of whether the woman said it was an underlying condition.

Agree, I feel for the family too. Anyone in their position would do whatever they were allowed. They shouldn't have been allowed...

this was always going to happen..don't panic. We were the only country trying to fully eradicate it, and we can't isolate for ever so it was always going to find it's way in. Not matter what measures you put in place it will sneak in.

I don't mind we are getting more cases, but I do care how we get these cases. If we are getting these cases by breaking rules, then our country is in a great risk. I understand there should be exceptions, but there must be within the strict rules. By the look of these two cases today, if we dont learn any lessons and improve how we control our border, I can assure you that there will be another outbreak. Just look at Beijing in China, started with 6 new cases and quick turned into community spreading, within couple of days, beijing is sitting at more than 100 cases now.

35
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In other news, Air New Zealand has announced today theyre going to resume flights in 6 days directly to.....wait for it......CHINA.

You couldnt make this stuff up.

17
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Shockingly negligent

If it all turns to custard Luxton is dead weight come election time.

I get the feeling Jami-Lee is going to say "China" a lot over the coming months.

It's on the pathway of the 800 day plan.

Dont think it's a good idea as Beijing just had its 2nd outbreak.

12
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"To China" is fine, "from China" would be reckless.

Unless they're selling the planes to China, "to China" implies "from China".

This has made us the absolute laughing stock of the world.

No it hasn't.

10
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It has. Kindness trumped logic. Ironic you could even say.

NZ was clear only to let two people in from a country with 40,000 deaths, 300,000 cases and at the time the third highest amount of deaths in the world.

Yep, sounds kosher to me.

Can you point me to some of the articles in international media that ridicules NZ because of this incident?

Haha youve tacked! No one mentioned international media. It was announced all of two hours ago.

Go check out twitter and reddit mate. They are having a field day.

"absolute laughing stock of the world" - Surely this refers to the 'international' world, not just the Young Nats facebook group.

You're doing it again.

Reddit. Twitter. Nothing more to add.

Twitter and reddit..those bastions of lucid well thought out commentary. Perhaps we can add facebook comments, or the stuff and trademe comments sections?

25
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do I need to go buy more toilet paper?

10
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Might want to stock up on the sanitizer too. ┐( ͡ಠ ʖ̯ ͡ಠ)┌

21
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Yes two new "border cases" of Covid today; they were from the UK which is teeming with the virus, and apparently given dispensation to enter the country for a funeral!!! They entered NZ on June 7. This is not a case of 'who let the dogs out ' but who let these selfish B......s in; which corrupt or oafish officials let their guard down, or what special favour from which parliamentarian has allowed our fragile, hard-won Covid elimination to be breached. There are several who come to mind.....Winston Peters has been on about opening borders in the last couple of weeks?
Let's see how good our journalists are at getting to the bottom of this? This will be a real test for them.....something to get their teeth into. I throw down the challenge for them. Don't accept officialdom's excuses. This was always going to happen; the same thing happened with the 1918 Spanish Flue.
And by the way whose funeral was it?.....we don't have any important people that would warrant this breach.

22
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Sounds like a what we are being told and what is actually going on are two completely different things.

Thats only been going on since forever.

Lmao is this another example of our 'hard and early' approach?

16
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Kiwibuild on the border..

Sounds like a what we are being told and what is actually going on are two completely different things.

Perfectly well said. I could not agree more.
- There should be ZERO exemptions until a vaccine is found. Before then, NOBODY gets an exemption. Compassionate leave my balls: let's actually be compassionate towards the 5 million Kiwis who have struggled and sacrificed so much. If somebody from overseas needs to attend or organize a funeral, tough: they can do that via email, Zoom or Skype.
- The cost of quarantining should be completely and fully charged to the people being quarantined.
- A quarantine is a quarantine: no walks outside, zero contacts with the external world for the whole two weeks. If anybody is not happy with this, they can stay overseas, citizens or not.

Very simple really. And if somebody whinges about this, they can take this up with Donald or Boris in their current countries of residence where they have freely chosen to live.

13
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Oh great, just bloody brilliant.

13
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Well that will push back any Oz bubble talk.

11
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Pre-existing condition???? Like what? I can't think of any non-viral condition that is similar to covid-19 in symptom presentation!

Asthma.

Yeah maybe, although covid 19 typically presents several more symptoms than a wheeze/ cough.

Typically, yes. But some people only get 1 symptom, sometimes it's a loss of smell, other times its a sore throat. Someone could just get a fairly mild sneeze.

Also hayfever is another.

35
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Having been infamously (on this site) against the lockdown, I meekly acknowledged the error of my ways.
Having gone to all the cost and distress of the lockdown, we just can't drop the ball now. This sounds sloppy.

21
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100%. Its like celebrating sobriety with a wine.

Fritz, You're ok.

14
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hate to be a told you so, I knew the border is not as strong as they were telling people
sharetrader | 15th Jun 20, 11:21pm

even up to a couple of weeks ago our border controls were still sub par, they only just started testing on arrival and before release after 14 days last week, that should have been the case months ago.
i can tell you up to before that started all that was done was every three days a health check and temp taken, what a joke, so if you had a person that showed no symptoms they would have got in and starting spreading, the only thing that has saved us up to last week is the checking before they boarded the plane.
not to mention border staff, flight crew, airport workers were not checked at all until they caught something
also the mixing of inbound people with locals or others nearly the end of isolation when they supposed to be separated so they can not come in contact
the whole system is not as robust as people think and it is not if, but when someone comes in will they catch that person early or let them infect others before they find it, i hate to be a negative nanny but what i know about the border, is it will get in again.

What you've described is not border control for limiting infection. The testing described would work for one of the previous pandemics but not this one. Seeing we have testing capacity why are they not being tested?

I can tell you from people that work there that is a question asked all the time why no testing? and the answer is because if you don't show symptoms its not worth it,
What AB stands up and tells us and the health people are doing at the border are miles apart.

16
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Does this mean we stop our self congratulatory back slapping?

14
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Yes please. It's nauseating, and only partly justified.

It's akin to applause for winning a spot prize after some sporting event. (i.e. we got lucky the first time round).

Rugby crowds need banning right now. No excuses.

Somehow I don't think the general public are going to have much respect for the authorities after this debacle

16
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Our Government's number one priority is the health of it's people.
I just cannot understand why they would risk our hard-won covid-free status to please a few foreigners.
Absolutely nuts.

17
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The buck for this stops with Bloomfield.Time for a pay cut.
Sheer incompetence; after 5 months warning, systems should be well in place.Learned nothing from the St Margaret's near disaster.When will they take this bug seriously??
From airport staff contact all the way to Wellington so much gone wrong another potential 40 billion dollar bill and lockdown.
Dreaming if they think they can reliably quarantine 50,000 students etc.

Hero to Zero

There is no way that this government can be voted back in to power. They are totally weak and infective. They have barely delivered on any of their promises; now this.

The travel from Auckland to Wellington was in a private vehicle, during which they didn't use any public facilities or come in direct contact with anyone else.

33
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Theres a turd on the side of the road somewhere contaminated with Covid 19.

Happy days.

Ha ha, comment of the month.

2nd that!

No bathroom stops?

12
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rental car, bet they are not to keen to get that back and when they do they will park it in the corner for 14 days to isolate

Wasn't a rental car, was a borrowed private car

15
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Show me the woman who can drive from Auckland to Wellington without a pit stop and I'll give you wonder woman. The buck shouldn't necessarily stop with Bloomfield-Cindy was very keen to take the credit when things were going well, she should front now that things could turn to custard.

And no doubt a stop for gas.

No.. most cars easily do akl to welly on a tank.

Auckland to Wellington on a tank is perfectly doable.

It is doable, but was it done?

that is the 40 Billion question.....

Let's hope that we have got away with it. But really now we face weeks of uncertainty. Depressingly lax given the history of the last 3 months is so fresh.

Haha true. What kind of hippies we just let in. Surely their hygiene standards are suboptimal and they are definitely not forthcoming with the truth.

They also drove Auckland to Wellington on 1 tank of fuel and no stops other than side of road. If they are lying there needs to fines, etc as we cant contact trace effectively

If the authorities discover that they are lying they should both be charged for jeopardizing public safety, publicly named and put in jail as soon as they are Covid-free.

Knighthood..

11
up

I guess what about all the people on the flights they took. What about the bathrooms in the airports where they would have touched taps etc. I wonder how many people touched the same surfaces as them between the airport and the hotel.

For months now we have had returning NZers coming through airports from virus-riddled countries. A sizeable number of these (hundreds?) have been infected. I am yet to hear of an airport employee being infected due to this or indeed any infections occurring at airports (I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong). That infected people will turn up at our border has been a certainty from the start. I would hope, and assume it's the case, that appropriate cleaning and work procedures have running at the airports for months.

Agree - yes we should hope so.

a couple of people have gone public about being infected at Auckland airport
https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/first-up/audio/2018749829/nz-s...
Ministry of Health staff haven't confirmed where exactly Tofiga contracted the virus, but his family believe it's likely that he got it at Auckland's International airport where he works.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/prosper/your-stories/121658205/how-covi...
Orr is still unsure exactly how he contracted the virus, and has questioned authorities several times, but he understands he likely picked it up while waiting in the international terminal.

Thanks for those. Useful info.
Kind of backs up my point though. Both those cases picked up the virus mid-March, pre-lockdown when, I would hope even the most ardent government supporter would agree, the situation at the border was ridiculous. I remember watching a video of someone returning to Auckland from China and walking straight through the terminal and being given a covid leaflet by people with no PPE.
However, since they got their act together it has been a different story.

12
up

Why cannot the Health Department focus all its attention on these new arrivals as they are the ones who will spread Covid again in NZ. They should be tested at the airport, daily in the hotel and if showing symptoms removed from the hotel ASAP and put in quarantine. They infect the whole staff and the security personnel working there who can potentially carry the virus to their family and friends. It’s terrible. They are taking walks in the City and infecting everybody. The choice of hotels by the Govt is also bad. Should be in isolated place and not in the heart of the cities.

Exactly!!! I favor Linton army barracks

I hope they wore masks while they were out and about. Incredible selfishness.

27
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To add to my above post I would add the following:

THERE SHOULD BE ABSOLUTELY NO CULTURAL OR ETHNIC FUNERAL RITES WHICH OVER-RIDE THE HEALTH OF THE NATION OF NEW ZEALANDERS if this was indeed the case. If the person has died then the body can be buried or cremated as the case may be under the guidance of a funeral director and respects can then be paid and funeral rites attended to at a safe later date.

20
up

'rules now changed, everyone applying for an exemption to be tested' .... As if the need for this wasn't already blindingly obvious. Stunning incompetence.

12
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remember months ago JA standing up and saying test test test, and stories of people saying they could not get test and later proving positive. looks like we still have that culture inside the DHB's where people are not tested as a matter of course but when a health profession deems it necessary. AB stood up two weeks ago and assured us all people coming in now would be tested and still they are not. there is a disconnect between the health department and the DHB's

the rule was test after 12 days, not when they arrived but at the end of isolation, tonight they have put in place also test on the third day but again you have the DHB doing that part so he needs to make the health order water tight so they dont wriggle out of testing people

"the other had symptoms but they were 'initially' attributed to a pre-existing condition" .... what does this little weasel word 'initially' mean? Attributed by whom ? The person themselves ( oh, OK, I'm sure you have it all sussed dearie, off you go) or someone else? If by a MOH staffer or doctor why was the very obvious risk not quickly identified (and acted on) that this traveller from C19 ground zero just could be, you know, the teensiest little chance, INFECTED and a carrier.

The only way we can have confidence in quarantine procedures is for those procedures to equate with solitary confinement - meals under the door and so on. The whole world is full of covid, and every returnee to NZ should be treated as infectious until time and testing proves otherwise. There is also the small matter of cost.

The cost should be 100% charged to the returnees and fully paid prior to them disembarking at the Airport.

14
up

Did Jacinda do a little dance for the news? But she said they acted hard and fast though??

She also said her governments response was 'gold standard'. This was quietly dropped when the penny finally dropped that it was tosh.

PM is frustrated, but more about something else.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/121843524/prime-minister-jacinda...

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she's "frustrated" that pay cuts for ministers and state sector heads are yet to begin.

Ardern in April promised she would take a six-month 20 per cent pay cut, along with ministers and public sector heads, a symbolic gesture as workers suffered the effects of an economic recession caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Two months later, the pay cuts have not begun. Ardern on Tuesday said Parliament had passed the law to bring about the pay cuts in May, and they were now waiting for the Remuneration Authority to make it happen.

There is nothing to stop her from donating 20% salary back if she really insist.

She's frustrated that she doesn't have the will to do that

12
up

Hosking will be salivating at this news (and rightly so).... what a giant male rooster up...

10
up

And tonight on the news we have the bureaucrat under whose management said cock up occurred, smoothly avoiding examination of how this happened. The minister we elected and pay to be publicly accountable is being shielded. Clark may be incompetent but that is not justification for him being allowed to hide in abdication of his responsibilities to us. When a CEO stuffs up it is the chair of the board who publicly fronts up, not the erring manager.

on the radio tonight he did not know about the two teens that got an exemption to attend a funeral then ran away instead of returning to isolation
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12340406

12
up

Looking at the even bigger picture - those near and at the top are plotting our economic recovery. Party and brewery come to mind.

We expect new cases here and there BUT we weren’t expecting new “imported” cases. Totally unacceptable, thinking of cancelling our accommodation and stock up some vitamins and supplements....

Just great, how many people have they been in contact with? Way to start a second wave as first wave didn’t do enough damage?back to level 3....

It is unrealistic to expect that there would not be any new cases at all. We still are exposed like this in many ways. What is the sanctity of the 14 days isoloation ? Does the virus know that after 14 days it is not supposed to bite ?

Does anyone know what sort of events trigger a move to level 2?

Multiple confirmed cases a day? Community transmission?

Here is the PM from the bunker. Taking a break from usual "doing the social media".

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12340508

The problem here, is here is something folk have strong views on, yet PM comments, one way & stage managed.
No, even MSM reporter to ask any obvious question, or even an Easter Bunny question.
"PM are you sure the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are safe to assume a base level of competence in frontline activities and in truthfulness in MoH & PM Dept. reporting of activities"..

Why all this talk about did they stop to fill up on Petrol on the way down to WGTN....

If they arrived Empty in WGTN then they must have Filled Up in WGTN

Even more dangerous due to larger population! ???

The version of events we were given yesterday does not pass the sniff test. Too many weasely words and statements to be credible. I would say they have adopted a don't ask and we won't have to know policy. And if we don't know then we can't tell the public what we don't know. It is like a cross between two great comedies. Death of Stalin (also dark and disturbing) and Yes Minister.

There is a special kind of stupid within Govt. that allows this to happen.

From the MOH recommending no returning NZ be allowed back into the country, to the having the target of elimination as a goal.

It's like having no ability to crack a walnut except with a sledgehammer.

Case study: New Zealand; 1 case = mass hysteria, media coverage army called in to help... what the..?

Germany: My girlfriends colleague, who was skiing in Ischgal, tests positive two days after a 4 hour board room meeting. My girlfriend gets it, I get it, half of her company's Munich office gets it. We all get over it. Nobody cares. Everyone's working again. We're all immune now.

But can you be sure? I remember reading that sailors on the American battleship ( the one whose captain was sacked when he called for help ) were getting reinfected.

Reinfection in the short term is very unlikely. Re-positive COVID testing is clearly explained here -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01Rftnxbi6w

But can you be sure? I remember reading that sailors on the American battleship ( the one whose captain was sacked when he called for help ) were getting reinfected.

I read exemptions before this happened and questioned why there is an exemption exist when anyone could infected?
Whole reason why we all stayed home, went through lockdown is because no one is safe.
I think they really should consider halt all the exemption.

FYI,
Coronavirus: Covid-19 isolation broken at Mongrel Mob tangi

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121865460/coronavirus-covid19-isolation...

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