Rumour about isolation hotel visit dismissed by Government

Author
Michael Neilson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 16 Aug 2020, 1:39PM
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

Rumour about isolation hotel visit dismissed by Government

Author
Michael Neilson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 16 Aug 2020, 1:39PM

The Government's Covid-19 response team has shut down a rumour widely circulating online about the origins of the latest outbreak.

It is in response to a claim that a member of the family at the centre of the new cluster had supposedly entered a managed isolation facility.

"There is no evidence to support this," the Covid-19 response team tweeted tonight.

"We ask people to stop circulating those rumours as they are counter-productive to our efforts against Covid-19."

Health Minister Chris Hipkins today reiterated that the rumours are false during the daily Covid-19 presser.

The minister called the rumour "troubling" and said it caused "considerable distress" for the family at the centre of the cluster.

Hipkins says rumours are nothing new but this "one piece of information spread like wildfire" and included "a number of vile slurs". He said it was "harmful, dangerous and utterly wrong".

"It did not happen," Hipkins said.

The minister added the rumour was "fully investigated" and the investigation found "it was fraud".

He also said this rumour in particular looks more deliberate and malicious than others and "smacks of orchestration".

"At a time when we're fighting a pandemic and we need all hands on deck to beat it down, this is deliberately designed to create panic, fear and confusion," he said.

He issued a plea to New Zealanders: "Please New Zealanders, think twice before sharing unverified information."

"We want everyone to accept some personal responsibility for the information they are out there sharing."

Hipkins thanked the media for the way it handled the rumours.

"I want to thank the media for the responsible way they reacted to these claims. They sought official word on truthfulness before reporting."

He added that people should trust the information given in the daily press briefings.

"Please take your information from official sources," he said.

"The information here is verified, the information that we share during these press conferences ... is in a formation that you can trust."

"If a mistake is made, it is quickly corrected."

A spokesman for the Government's managed isolation and quarantine team told the Herald they were aware of the rumour claims, and they had been investigated by the managed isolation facility manager and by the onsite security manager.

"There were no reported incidents and there is no evidence of such a breach occurring at the Grand Millennium during the time period mentioned," he said.

"There has been no link established between the community outbreak and a facility at this point."