Collins: Someone owes someone an apology

There are 11 close plus KFC Botany Downs contacts who worked at the same time as Case L. Photo @LauraJamesNZ -Twitter

The Botany Downs KFC worker who was vilified by the Government for not self-isolating deserves an apology from the Prime Minister if the Covid-19 Facebook post contradicting Jacinda Ardern’s claims is accurate, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins said today.

“The Prime Minister pointing the finger of blame at rule breakers was always a convenient way to distract from the confusing advice coming from her Government and the lack of urgency shown by the Health Ministry to follow up on unanswered texts and calls,” Collins said.

“It now appears the Health Ministry, via a Facebook post, has confirmed the KFC worker who was vilified for going to work instead of staying home was told not to self-isolate by health officials.

“The Prime Minister needs to explain whether the Covid-19 Facebook post is accurate. If it is, then she should apologise to the KFC employee.”

Collins also criticised terminology used regarding Covid contacts. “The communications coming from the Government has left a lot to be desired of late,” she said.

“The invention of new terms on the fly like ‘casual plus’ and ‘close plus’ contacts is confusing too many people.

“The Government needs to get its public messaging right. Communication breakdowns like this can be the difference between Kiwis living Covid-free and a lockdown that costs the New Zealand economy $500 million a week.”

The Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed at its media conference yesterday there are 11 close plus KFC Botany Downs contacts who worked at the same time as Case L.

Ten of those people have returned negative test results so far.

All other test results received so far have come back negative.

Detailed advice about the actions required for the different categories of contacts is provided on the Ministry of Health website, the MoH said.

Meanwhile at Kmart Botany, a total of 34 staff members have been identified as close plus contacts. All 34 people have tested negative, the MoH said yesterday.

“We have been contacted by 1855 people who reported being at the store at the times of interest. They have been provided with public health advice.

“These people have been asked to isolate for 14 days and be tested at day 5 and day 12 after their exposure to the case. People who have symptoms will be tested at the appropriate time.

“We currently have 1805 negative test results for this group.”

A MoH update is due this afternoon.