“Two new Covid-19 cases have revealed grating Government incompetence on managed isolation,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“New Zealanders are bearing enormous costs to comply with the Government’s softly-softly approach. People give the benefit of the doubt when the Government says sacrifices are necessary. What they don’t see is that sacrifices are necessary because of Government incompetence.
Two women who travelled from the UK tested positive for Covid-19 after being given a compassionate exemption to leave a managed isolation facility.
“It’s remarkable that travellers in managed isolation who have applied for compassionate exemptions were not being tested for Covid-19 before being allowed to leave.
“New Zealanders will be disappointed that the Government has let them down with its public health response.
“The Government implemented one of the most severe lockdowns in the world which has seen businesses go under, workers laid off, tens of thousands more people on welfare, and economic growth plummeting.
“Given the severity of the lockdown, the Government had to get its public health response right.
“But testing was slow to ramp up, contact tracing has been inadequate, and there’s still no sign the Government is willing to engage with the private sector and use innovative technology at the border.
“New Zealanders have made enormous sacrifices, but the Government has let them down. It has consistently been behind the eight-ball.
“We spent an additional week in lockdown because the Government could not do adequate contact tracing.
“We had a phased introduction of Alert Level 2, even though just eight of 28,000 tests had been returned positive in the preceding four days.
“The Government could be using innovative technology like Datamine’s ëlarm at its managed isolation facilities.
“ëlarm is an early warning system for Covid-19 infection designed to be used with wearable devices like Apple Watch. It detects Covid-19 in the 48 hours when a person first becomes infectious but does not have symptoms.
“A person wishing to enter New Zealand could submit the output of their wearable device for the preceding days and undertake to continue to do so for several days after entering the country.
“A negative result would all but guarantee that the person was not infected. A positive result at any time after entering the country would allow a person to be rapidly isolated.
“The Government must be open to using private sector technology if it is to create the world's smartest border and reopen our economy to the world.”