NZ health minister, director condemn critics who abuse covid-positive people

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Dr Ashley Bloomfield + Chris Hipkins
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield (left) and Health Minister Chris Hipkins ... "no shame or blame" in having contracted the covid-19 virus. Image: RNZ

By RNZ News

Both New Zealand’s Health Minister and the Director-General of Health have criticised critics who go online to abuse covid-positive people, Americold staff waiting for test results are getting more worried and experts are concerned for the welfare of those living in rural communities and in the Cook Islands.

Seven new cases of covid-19 have been reported in the community today, with all but one already linked to the South Auckland cluster responsible for all the previous community cases.

The new case that remains under investigation is in addition to the case yesterday that is also being investigated.

READ MORE: Al Jazeera coronavirus live updates – India’s cases top 2.5 million

“But in both cases we feel quite confident that they will be linked to the outbreak,” Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

The number of active cases in NZ is 56, of whom 37 are from the community outbreak and 19 are imported cases in quarantine.

Bloomfield unhappy with nastiness
Dr Bloomfield has slammed online abuse of people who have covid-19, reiterating his comment that there was “no shame or blame” in having contracted the virus.

He thanked everybody who had come forward to be tested and those who had responded rapidly to the contact tracing and testing efforts.

“We are hearing reports unfortunately of some online bullying and nasty comments directed towards people who have contracted covid-19, and to say that is a pity is an understatement, there is no shame or blame in having either this virus or any other infectious diseases.”

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said the reports of pockets of anger and blame were “completely unacceptable”.

He said this was not just disappointing, but also dangerous because people may not get tested if they are fearful of a backlash.

The managing director of the cool store company Americold said staff were becoming increasingly anxious at the delay in their test results.

There are now nine covid-19 cases linked to its Mt Wellington facility.

Test results still awaited
Richard Winnall said 16 results were negative, but eight people were still waiting to hear since being tested on Wednesday morning.

A community leader in the Cook Islands says they need more guidance from the New Zealand government on what to do in case of a covid-19 outbreak.

The country has closed its border due to the latest outbreak of the virus in Auckland and Air New Zealand cancelled a flight to the Cook Islands which was due to leave Auckland this morning.

Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran said the Cook Islands had so far had no cases of covid-19, so the airline wanted to do the right thing for both countries in terms of safety and well-being.

Cook Islands Private Sector Task Force head Fletcher Melvin said there was relief among the community that people were not allowed to travel and while they felt prepared for an outbreak of covid they would like their health system to be audited by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.

This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.

  • All RNZ coverage of Covid-19
  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP – don’t show up at a medical centre.
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