Mayor wants assurances over security

Aaron Hawkins. Photo: supplied
Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins. Photo: supplied
Dunedin's mayor will be seeking assurances about security at quarantine facilities from the Government after a series of escapes.

Mayor Aaron Hawkins will meet Minister in Charge of Isolation Facilities Megan Woods when she visits the city on Friday to discuss the potential for a facility to open in Dunedin.

Dunedin is the Southern District Health Board’s first choice should managed Covid-19 isolation facilities be set up in the South.

It comes after several instances of people breaking out of facilities in the North Island, including a Queenstown man who left the Distinction Hotel in Hamilton to go to a nearby liquor store.

Mr Hawkins said he would need assurances around security that the community would not be at risk should a facility open in the city.

"Certainly it’s sharpened the focus on how rigorous and how secure managed isolation facilities need to be to keep both our returning New Zealanders and our local communities safe.

"It’s illustrated the need for greater security in these facilities."

There was also a common theme of alcohol links to many of the reported breakouts.

There were limits on how much alcohol could be purchased and consumed and, while support was available, that required people to acknowledge they had a problem, Mr Hawkins said.

"You don’t want people to be ordering in cases of gin to their hotel rooms. In a managed isolation facility that would be a disaster."

But people were in a stressful situation and it was not the time to be moralising, he said.

"I would hope there is some clinical input going into deciding how those things are managed, because it’s hard."

One new case of Covid-19 was reported in New Zealand yesterday, a woman in her 20s who arrived in New Zealand on July 4 from Rome, via Doha and Sydney.

She had been in managed isolation at the Christchurch Commodore Airport Hotel and was now in quarantine. The woman had previously been identified as a close contact of another case.



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