Auckland sex workers in Blenheim without exemptions

Sex worker prostitute getty
Stock photo: Getty
Two sex workers have been arrested at a Blenheim motel after travelling from Auckland without any exemption.

The pair also failed to produce a negative Covid-19 test before departing Auckland, where the Delta variant continues to spread.

A source told The New Zealand Herald police were alerted to the women being in Blenheim on Tuesday.

Officers located them at a local motel and arrested the pair.

Neither had any exemption to travel, nor had they had a test for Covid-19.

They were charged with failing to comply with the current Health Order.

The source said the women did not resist their arrest but have since refused to provide any details about their movements since leaving Auckland and who they have had contact with.

A police spokesperson confirmed the women had been charged.

"The women, aged 48 and 49, have both been charged with failing to comply with the Health Order and are due to appear in the Blenheim District Court today," police said.

"Police and the Ministry of Health continue to investigate the women's movements, including when and how they have managed to travel to Blenheim.

"The women have been tested for Covid-19 and are awaiting test results."

All police staff interacting with the women wore full PPE.

"The six officers who dealt with this woman were initially stood down as a precautionary measure, however following advice from health officials, police have subsequently been advised the staff are not required to isolate," said the spokesperson.

The Ministry of Health has also been contacted about whether either of the women have tested positive for Covid-19 since their arrest.

Auckland, Northland and parts of Waikato remain at alert level 3 as cases of Covid-19 continue to be found in the community.

The rest of the country is at level 2.

There are strict rules in place for anyone crossing the border out of the level 3 area, including having a formal travel exemption and a negative Covid-19 test.

As of 5pm yesterday 20 people had been charged with a total of 21 offences in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), Northland, and parts of Waikato.

Of these, 16 were for failing to comply with the Covid-19 Order, two were for failure to comply with direction/prohibition/restriction, two were for assaulting, hindering, obstructing or threatening an enforcement officer and one was a Health Act breach.

In the same time period, 24 people were formally warned.

Police have received a total of 3581 105-online breach notifications relating to businesses, mass gatherings or people in Tāmaki Makaurau, Northland and parts of Waikato.

Auckland University epidemiologist Rod Jackson said yesterday the time has come to "stop being soft" on people breaking the Covid-19 rules.

He was responding to comments from Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins there still wasn't confidence in the Covid situation in Northland, due to the reluctance of two women travellers on sharing information.

Hipkins said it was difficult to know how responsible they were in their travels because there was limited information on their travel.

Jackson said Auckland got to quite low numbers a couple of weeks ago as a result of people following the rules, but there are a group of people not following the rules and we need to go really hard on them.

"Softly, softly is over. It's time to go hard," he said.

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