MBIE confirms Australian woman who refused swab will leave MIQ and has filed lawsuit

Author
Katie Harris, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 23 Feb 2021, 2:06PM
Lucinda Baulch will leave MIQ today after 28 days in the Wellington facility. Photo / Supplied
Lucinda Baulch will leave MIQ today after 28 days in the Wellington facility. Photo / Supplied

MBIE confirms Australian woman who refused swab will leave MIQ and has filed lawsuit

Author
Katie Harris, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 23 Feb 2021, 2:06PM

The Ministry for Business and Innovation have confirmed the Australian woman who refuses to take a Covid-19 test will leave MIQ today.

Lucinda Baulch has now been in the Wellington facility for 28 days.

A managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson told the Herald Baulch brought a habeas corpus application to challenge the lawfulness of her managed isolation, but withdrew the application at the hearing on February 18.

Instead, she has indicated that she intends to bring judicial review proceedings.

Today the National party leader slammed the Government's "soft approach" in allowing arrivals into the country to refuse Covid tests, and suggested that the woman be deported back to Australia.

This isn't the first time Baulch has challenged Covid-19 rules and, back in Australia she has participated in an anti-lockdown protest.

In Victoria, Baulch said she did a lot of "research" that brought up "a lot of concerns that were going on in that time".

She told the Herald she looked up ways to get mask exemptions and participated in a "freedom event".

Everyone entering an isolation or quarantine facility is provided with a welcome pack, which includes information about the tests they are required to have, when and how they are taken, and what happens if the results are positive or negative.

"The legal basis for returnees entering isolation or quarantine when entering New Zealand is included in the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Isolation and Quarantine) Order 2020," said a Ministry spokesperson.

In almost all cases a negative Covid-19 test and confirmation from a Medical Officer of Health or a Health Protection Officer that they are medically "considered a low risk of having or transmitting Covid-19 are needed before they can leave the facility.

"If a person does not have their final day 12 test, they will be required to stay in isolation or quarantine until they meet the low risk indicators, up to a maximum of 28 days."

Baulch told the Herald yesterday she flew into New Zealand almost a month ago to drop off children she had been fostering to their new home in Aotearoa.

"I put my hand up saying I'll take the children on the plane, I'll stay with them during managed isolation."

She claims that while she was in Australia, she was told by officials there she wouldn't need to take a Covid-19 swab because she flew in from Australia, but once she arrived she was informed that this was not the case.

Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment managed isolation deputy secretary Megan Main said she was aware a person at the Wellington facility who has refused to take the Covid-19 test, but there is the Covid-19 Act which requires them to have the day 12 test.

"I think we've had a couple of instances where people have reached the 28 days, are asymptomatic and leave at that point."

She said returnees are given a detailed information pack about the testing that people will be required to undertake.

In a statement to the Herald, the Ministry of Health said the nasal swab was considered the gold standard for the detection of Covid-19.

"Since 8 June 2020, testing has been required of everyone (other than babies) entering an isolation and quarantine facility on day 3 and day 12. This has also increased to a day 0/1 test for almost all returnees other than those from Australia, Antarctica and most of the Pacific Islands."