The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by a storm. Massive economies like India, the USA, and the UK have been completely decimated by the virus. However, some small ones, like New Zealand, have been able to sail through the pandemic without sustaining much damage.
Earlier this month, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared the country to be coronavirus-free.
However, that statement does not hold true anymore.
WHAT HAPPENED IN NEW ZEALAND?
New Zealand has broken its 24-day streak to report 2 new coronavirus cases.
The government of the nation lifted almost all restrictions placed during the pandemic, with the exception of those on international travel. However, New Zealanders stranded in other countries were allowed to return.
Upon return to the country, these people had to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Two women, in their 30s and 40s, tested positive for the virus after having returned from Britain. However, they did not test positive immediately upon their return.
These women were given an exemption from the mandatory 14-day quarantine period to visit a dying relative in Wellington, under the compassionate dispensation policy. Moreover, they were allowed to leave quarantine without being tested for the virus.
This was called an “unacceptable failure” by PM Jacinda Ardern.
“It should never have happened and it cannot be repeated.”
On their drive to Wellington, the women also met 2 friends. Now, 320 of their “close contacts,” including passengers on their flight to New Zealand and other quarantined travelers at their Auckland hotel, hotel staff, and flight crew, are being tested.
Assistant Chief of Defence Digby Webb has now been appointed to oversee border quarantine operations.
“My view is that we need the rigour, we need the confidence, we need the discipline that the military can provide,” said Ardern.
New Zealand has since scrapped the compassionate dispensation policy.