“Today’s KFC COVID case in the community is incredibly concerning and begs the question whether the Ministry of Health really has the South Auckland cluster under control,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“We are seeing a rolling maul of cases and will soon be at risk of running right through the alphabet.
“What’s becoming apparent is a whole lot of testing has been done but our so-called ‘gold standard’ of contact tracing may not have been good enough to target the right people for testing at the right time.
“What’s also clear is that as a household contact of cases I, J – the Kmart case – and K, case L clearly should not have been at work on Monday and Tuesday this week.
“Case J was revealed on 23 February, which suggests today’s positive member of the same household must have known case J was either symptomatic or having a COVID-19 test around the same time they went to work at KFC.
“We can’t use the word sibling for case L or identify whether case L is male or female; for some reason the Ministry of Health hasn’t revealed that information.
“Whatever the situation, this sounds like it has the potential to be much more serious than the Kmart case, where for most of the time case J was folding clothes and not interacting with customers.
“We know case L has 11 close contacts from KFC Botany Downs, all of whom would have been working in relatively close proximity to one another over case L’s nine hour shift.
“It’s hard to have any confidence things won’t get worse from here.
“There are too many obvious failures and breaches of public health advice occurring, and contact tracing is proving ineffective.
“An unwillingness to adopt better contact tracing technology or to ensure people are properly using what we’ve got is leaving us vulnerable.
“In reality contact tracing is no better than it was last August.
“Ideally the media would have had an opportunity to ask these and other questions of Health officials today, but despite the gravity of today’s news the Ministry of Health has chosen to relay it by press release.
“This isn’t good enough. Officials and the Government need to front to answer questions on the state of the South Auckland cluster today.”