Why the Auckland cluster is being kept secret

Details of a private function in Auckland that has left 35 people with Covid-19 remains a mystery.

 

Health officials will only say the cluster is linked to a "private party to celebrate an event", and there are 35 confirmed and probable cases.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield today defended the lack of public information released about the Auckland party cluster, saying it was a "private event" which was "well-bounded" and everyone involved had been contacted.

In contrast he said clusters like the wedding in Bluff had many guests who were from all over the country.

The origin of the cluster is unknown, although yesterday the Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said the event was held before the lockdown.

"There is ongoing transmission happening from some of the people who were at the function ... that infection has passed within household bubbles during lockdown."

McElnay was unable to give more details, other than that the event was not linked to a workplace.

"What we are seeing with these private functions - and we see that particularly with the Bluff wedding function - is that social events, like weddings, like parties and other social events, really act as a mixing bowl for infection to be spread.

"We are seeing that in New Zealand and other parts of the world as well."

The case is being treated differently to other clusters, such as a wedding at Bluff in Southland, a St Patrick's Day party at the Redoubt Bar and Eatery in Matamata and the World Hereford Conference in Queenstown, which have been made public.

A spokeswoman for the four district health boards in Auckland today said it was not planning to add anything to the information provided by the Ministry of Health.

"We have to balance the privacy of those who are affected with public interest on a case-by-case basis.

"In this case everyone who is connected to this cluster and may have been exposed is being contacted directly by public health staff and provided with information directly through the usual public health contact tracing processes," the spokeswoman said.

The cluster is the fourth largest in New Zealand. The MoH said today there was one new case connected to the Bluff cluster in the last 24 hours taking the total for the event to 86.

This means once again the Bluff wedding cluster is the largest of the 13 clusters in the country, followed by the Marist College cluster at 85 and the Matamata bar cluster at 70 (both had 0 new cases in the last 24 hours).

The Ministry of Health defines a cluster as a group of Covid-19 cases who are linked together because they have been in the same place together.

Comments

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There is no concern for 'Privacy' with Marist AK, Rosewood Home, Bluff.

I don't see any justification for this secrecy, it smacks of exceptionalism, obviously it involves rich and powerful people, there is no other probable explanation.

More to be concerned about than knowing anymore about a group of unfortunate people in Auckland

My guess is that it's connected to high-profile rugby or politics, as these people are always given priority in NZ.

Sounds like a sex party and to hush it up to protect the infected people who were not involved would be realistic.

Why are they so secretive about the Bluff Wedding Cluster? And who was involved in Rosewood Home? Why all the privacy?

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