NZ omicron outbreak: Protest at Parliament now location of interest

The Parliament anti-mandates protest ... now a Health Ministry "place of interest" after covid-19 cases reported. Image: Angus Dreaver/RNZ

RNZ News

The two-week old protest at New Zealand’s Parliament has been added to the Ministry of Health’s covid-19 locations of interest website as new omicron cases soar in the country.

At least two positive covid-19 test results have been reported among the anti-mandate protesters in Wellington.

The protest site is listed as a close contact event on Saturday, February 20, from 11.55am to 11pm and Sunday, February 21, from 11am to 11.59pm.

People are advised to self-isolate for seven days and test on day five after being exposed at the location of interest.

They should also monitor symptoms for 10 days and test again if they feel unwell.

People are being urged to log their visit to the protest online so contact tracers can reach them.

There was a stand-off late last night between police and at least 100 protesters on Hill Street, alongside Parliament.

Infected people
Earlier, the Ministry of Health said the infected people from the protest had been told to self-isolate.

However, it would not say if the cases were among those who had been arrested in the past few days.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said earlier a team of staff working at the protest had caught covid-19 and while it had not been linked to protesters, it “stands to reason” the coronavirus is there.

He told Morning Report even if the virus had not been at the protest “it will be soon”.

Protest area ‘unsafe for families’
Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers said today: “Movements to shrink the protest footprint will continue in the coming days as our focus remains on returning the city back to normal as quickly as possible.”

He added: “The protest area is not safe for families, and it is still far from being operated lawfully.

“We will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any unlawful activity that is reported to us.

“This has been a difficult and disruptive time for many local residents and businesses.”

He said there would be a high police presence throughout the city this weekend.

“Police encourage everyone to enjoy Wellington for the right reasons this weekend.”

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

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