Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive •

Mike Bush claims six people have absconded after being granted compassionate leave

Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive

Former police commissioner Mike Bush says six people absconded after being granted compassionate leave from Covid-19 quarantine to attend a Hamilton funeral.
Two of the people - aged 8 and 18 - were yet to be "rounded up".
It comes after media were yesterday told it was just two teenagers who ran away from authorities after being allowed to go to the funeral.
Bush today told Newstalk ZB presenter Heather du Plessis-Allan that he was not ok with the fact six people were granted leave and two had not been rounded up.
"This situation cannot be repeated.
"I understand that authorities are working on the last two, to get them back into managed isolation, but the important thing is that they tested negative," Bush said.
Police were notified very quickly that the people who had been granted exemptions to go to that funeral had not returned.
"They had been missing for quite some time," Bush said.
Four of them had been tracked down and the other two were located and tested but had not been rounded up.
The Ministry of Health clarified that the family of six originally came to New Zealand from Australia to attend a family member's tângi.
The six members were staying at the Pullman Auckland in managed isolation and were granted exemption on compassionate grounds to attend the tângi and return on the same day. Four members of the family returned, but a teenager and a child did not. 
The child was returned to the hotel managed isolation and quarantine facility in Auckland.  The teenager remains in self-isolation at a family property.
The five family members' request to join the teenager has been declined and their will complete their isolation at the managed isolation and quarantine facility in Auckland.
The teenager in self-isolation in Hamilton has had a COVID-19 test and tested negative.
Yesterday, Health Minister David Clark did not seem to know about the runaway pair when talking to du Plessis-Allan.
"I'm not aware of the details of that case...I have not had a briefing on that, I will seek a briefing on that."
Clark said he was disappointed that measures he thought were in place to prevent another outbreak didn't appear to be.
"If it is as you described it, then it underscores my request to suspend compassionate exemptions until we ensure that the system is working as intended."
It follows revelations that the nation's two new cases of Covid-19 were given a special exemption to travel to Wellington on compassionate ground after their parent died, before being tested.
Strict border controls remain in place in New Zealand because Covid-19 is not under control overseas.
All arrivals into New Zealand go through health screening, are tested for the virus and are forced to spend 14 days in quarantine or isolation.
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