Papatoetoe High students line up for pop-up tests in NZ covid outbreak

Nonu Tuisamoa
Ōtara testing centre operations manager Nonu Tuisamoa ... "It's super crazy, super crazy." Image: Rowan Quinn/RNZ

By Rowan Quinn, RNZ News health correspondent

Nervous Papatoetoe High School students were lining up today in big numbers to get tested, saying they want to do their bit to stop covid-19 getting into the New Zealand community.

A Year 9 student is among the three cases which have sparked a level 3 lockdown in Auckland, level 2 for the rest of the country.

Hundreds of students and their families were at a pop-up testing centre at the school today.

Head girl Rhonda Nguyen said she wanted to set an example for the other students.

“Especially since we found out this morning it’s the UK variant which is much more transmissible so we want to do our bit to keep everybody safe,” she said.

Another student, Armaan, said he had been feeling very anxious since finding out there was a case at the school, particularly because he sometimes studied in the same maths space as the positive student.

“I’d rather stay vigilant and take as many precautions to avoid giving it to my family,” he said.

‘No drama, it’s easy’
“I’ve been through one – no drama, it’s easy. They’re a bit worried that – ow, it’s going to get right in there – but I said ‘nah, you’ve just got to go through the drill’,” he said.

Renay was in line early with his daughter.

“I’m nervous that we’re in this position again – I never thought it would be so close to us but it’s just around and I think we still need to take care and be vigilant,” he said.

Some students had already been through the nearby Ōtara community testing yesterday.

Its operations manager Nonu Tuisamoa said they stayed open til 9.30pm last night, an hour and a half longer than scheduled, to get everyone through.

Today they had double the normal number of staff on, with cars lining up all morning.

“It’s super crazy, super crazy. After yesterday, the public and the community have come up in their droves and it’s strong,” he said.

The Ministry’s of Health’s list of places where the positive cases has visited was helping drive demand, he said.

“There’s a sense of anxiousness and wanting to make sure that everything is safe,” he said.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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