A lack of planning by the Government for a Delta outbreak has meant as of 1pm yesterday 78 Covid-19 positive people were isolating at home, having not yet been moved into quarantine, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins revealed in Parliament yesterday that more than 78 people had tested positive for Covid-19 but were still awaiting transfer to a quarantine facility.
“This is concerning, especially in light of reports yesterday that Covid-19 positive escapee had allegedly absconded from his home isolation before being moved to quarantine.
“Covid cases should be moved to quarantine as quickly as possible and we should minimise the time spent at home self-isolating.
“At the heart of this is a lack of planning. It is plainly obvious that there was not sufficient planning in place to quickly stand up effective additional quarantine facilities and to quickly move Covid-19 cases into those facilities should we have another outbreak.
“The lack of planning for effective quarantine is also obvious by the fact that officials have had to scramble to quickly stand up two new quarantine facilities. There doesn’t appear to have been contingency planning in place in case the Jet Park filled up, which it now has.
“A Delta outbreak was always going to have a large number of cases and there should have been proper preparation in place for additional quarantine.
“Was it the lack of proper planning for quarantine that helped create a situation where the Covid positive man could escape from the Novotel? The investigation of the escapee needs to cover off the planning, or lack of planning, around additional quarantine facilities.
“Public health experts, and National, said for months New Zealand was a sitting duck for Delta. It’s increasingly clear the Government ignored this and as a result has done little or inadequate planning.
“It took the Government six days to get more public service workers onto contact tracing; repeated expert reviews of contact tracing have been largely ignored; people have waited hours upon hours for Covid-19 tests; and no use has been made of saliva or rapid antigen tests.
“Behind all the numbers at the 1pm press conference each day is a Government that has failed to vaccinate enough people, failed to take the right steps to protect New Zealand from Delta, and failed to be ready when it did arrive.”