WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – The woman who took the return flight to New Zealand was supposed to avoid all physical contact with others for the 14 days as she went into mandatory quarantine. The man working at the quarantine hotel was supposed to be the last line of defense.
But the two started passing notes to each other, including one written on the back of the face mask. Then she ordered a bottle of wine, and he brought it to her room. When he did not return after 20 minutes, the security director sent to investigate and found the couple together in what authorities describe as an inappropriate encounter, as the physical distance was not maintained.
The incident that occurred earlier this month, which appeared on Friday, highlighted a very human weakness in measures to eliminate the Corona virus in New Zealand, in a country that has eradicated the spread of the virus in society. It is similar to the lapses in Australia that may have contributed to a major outbreak last year in Melbourne.
“We are dealing with humans,” said COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. “We ask everyone to adhere to the standards we set. I cannot control everyone’s actions.”
Hepkins said the husband’s behavior was completely unacceptable and requested a thorough investigation.
Brigadier General Jim Bliss, head of the managed isolation and quarantine department, said the worker was promptly taken home and asked to self-isolate. He was fired later. Meanwhile, the returning traveler received an official written warning from the police. The authorities breathed a sigh of relief after he returned both negative tests for Coronavirus.
“The actions of the two people involved in this incident are incredibly irresponsible and extremely disappointing,” Bliss said. “There is no room for complacency at all.”
Bliss said the employee’s actions at the Grand Millennium Auckland did not reflect the 4,000 people working in quarantine hotels who “put themselves every day between us and this virus.” He said that investigations are underway to look into whether additional security measures are needed.
The authorities did not reveal the identities of the two persons involved.
New Zealand’s successful response has resulted in only 25 deaths from the virus in a country of 5 million people. The only new cases are those arising from returning travelers, of which 100,000 have traveled in the past year. Authorities and people across the country remain fully prepared for any breaches at the border.