Bombshell claim: Woodhouse says Covid pair stopped for directions

Two women who tested positive for Covid-19 got lost on their drive from Auckland to Wellington and required help, Parliament has been told.

National MP Michael Woodhouse claimed today that the pair had to meet someone for help with directions.

He said a source told him the two women were in a borrowed car and got lost on their way from Auckland to Wellington so stopped and asked someone for directions.

The women thanked their helper with a "kiss and a cuddle", Woodhouse claimed in the House.

Health Minister David Clark replied saying he would be "deeply concerned" if that were the case as he had been assured the women had no contact with anyone during their journey.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says neither she nor Clark are responsible for the failings at the border that allowed two women with Covid-19 to leave their hotel room without first being tested.

She said ministers understood that the proper protocols were being applied to the women, who are now in isolation, including being tested before being allowed to leave on compassionate grounds.

Instead director general of health Ashley Bloomfield has taken the blame, but whether any heads will roll is still unclear.

"As Director-General of Health, I have overall system responsibility for the health operations of our self-isolation facilities and exemptions," Bloomfield said in a statement today.

"In this instance, these individuals should have been tested prior to leaving the managed isolation facility.

"I am taking responsibility for ensuring this does not happen again."

He added: "We have always expected that New Zealand would get more cases of Covid-19, especially with more people from overseas coming into the country.

"The risk of spread of Covid-19 from these two cases while they were travelling to New Zealand and in the managed isolation facility they were in is low but not impossible, so we are ensuring all steps are in place to mitigate the risk."

He announced that there were no new cases of Covid-19 today, and authorities have traced 320 close contacts of the two women.

Most of their contacts will be contacted by the end of the day and will be encouraged to be tested, Bloomfield said.

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