Leading epidemiologist: Border blunder the wake-up call we needed

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Jun 2020, 3:55PM
Heavy security presence at the Novotel Auckland hotel in Ellerslie yesterday, after two women who stayed there last week were confirmed as having Covid-19. (Photo / Dean Purcell)

Leading epidemiologist: Border blunder the wake-up call we needed

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Jun 2020, 3:55PM

A leading epidemiologist says we could stay at Level 1 indefinitely if we prevent outbreaks of Covid-19 on our shores.

New Zealand has two new cases today, taking the total number of confirmed and probable cases to 1,511.

Both are recent arrivals from overseas who were detected within managed isolation facilities.

It comes after a week where two British women tested positive for Covid-19 after being let out of Auckland's Novotel on compassionate exemptions.

Professor Michael Baker told the Weekend Collective it would be worrying if we had a case come from out of the blue.

"What would be really alarming would be if you saw a case that had no connection with someone who had been through quarantine, as then you'd be concerned about community transmission again."

He says that it is concerning how many people were let out of quarantine without being tested, but we will need to wait to see if they have spread anything. 

Baker says we should know the numbers of how many were released.

However, despite the pain and reputational damage this blunder has caused, he says that it was a necessary event. 

"You can see from the Government's response, additional ministerial scrutiny, the additional staff to oversee the process, in some way, this is the wake-up call we really needed."