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Not doing the right thing leads to another breach

A couple who arrived back in Rarotonga on Friday 4th September today breached their quarantine order by inviting Vodafone technicians into their property at Nikao to fix an alleged fault with their Moana TV.

Secretary of Health – Dr Aumea Herman – says, “I am incredibly disappointed that this has happened. Every passenger is provided a print copy of the Category Quarantine Order at Auckland International Airport. The Order is clear: Persons under quarantine must not permit any visitors to enter the quarantine area.This couple, both senior members of their community had been thought to be of low risk of breaching the quarantine order and as such had not been assigned 24/7 surveillance. This has since been rectified.”

Importantly, the public health risk for the technicians catching COVID-19 is extremely low. The couple have been asymptomatic and tested negative twice in the past two weeks, the most recent test was on Thursday. There was no physical contact between the technicians and the residents.

I would like to credit the quick response of the two Vodafone employees, who, upon being told by one of the couple that they had not long returned from New Zealand, realised that they were in a “yellow flagged” supervised quarantined property and phoned their manager for advice. Unfortunately they had not seen the flag on the road side on arrival at the property.

Their manager gave the appropriate advice and told them to stay put in their van until a public health officer arrived. The duo are now in a supervised quarantine residence and have tested negative for COVID-19 and will be released later this evening.

Te Marae Ora is working closely with Crown Law and Police to review the information relating to today’s breach as well as that which occurred a few days ago in Titikaveka.

“Two breaches in a matter of days puts this process in jeopardy. This is disheartening for Te Marae Ora and border agency staff including Police who are working tirelessly to ensure we return our people home safely. The supervised quarantine rules are in place to protect everyone from COVID-19 and is for everyone’s benefits.

Earlier today the results of 69 swabs sent to New Zealand last Friday for COVID-19 tests returned negative.

With the two flights that have arrived, there are currently 122 people undertaking supervised quarantine on Rarotonga. This Friday, all 82 persons from the first cohort will hopefully exit
this process having completed their 14 days of supervised quarantine, two negative COVID-19 tests and medical clearance.

At this stage we are expecting around 20 returnees on this Friday’s flight.
Members of the public should contact their local community health clinics on the free 0800 numbers if they have any questions regarding the supervised quarantine process in their area. Or call healthline on 20 066, 0800-1800, 0800-1801.

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ENDS: Enquiries to Jaewynn McKay +682 55486