Dad speaks out on daughter’s rough treatment by authorities

Golflands resident Eric Neal is very upset about the way his daughter Kim and granddaughter Hayley were treated when they arrived from the UK in Auckland after an exhausting 36-hour flight on March 26. He writes about the ‘shabby treatment’ of New Zealand citizens who have their home isolation plan well in place.   

Eric Neal’s daughter Kim and granddaughter Hayley are worse off than when they arrived from UK almost two weeks ago. Photo supplied

By Eric Neal

It seems that the paranoia around overseas arrivals is actually having the opposite of the desired effect. My daughter and granddaughter (three-year-old) arrived at Auckland Airport on Thursday evening with a perfectly good home-isolation plan in place.

After airport tests, where neither of them showed any symptoms, they were then, without any communication about what was happening, all herded into a crowded bus and dropped at hotel where they had to stand in a carpark for potentially 1.5 hours. No priority was given to them even though she was the only person there with a small child. They had been travelling for over 36 hours.

She went to the front to ask what was happening and explained she had accommodation arranged which had been approved by Immigration at the airport. They asked her how she planned on getting to the accommodation so she put that question back to them since they’d dropped her there. They contacted the Ministry of Health who advised that a family member could pick her up. She conveyed how ridiculous that advice was considering it puts them at risk and told them her father is 73-years-old! She then decided to stay for one night since it was getting late and my granddaughter needed food and sleep, and she did too.

The next morning she phoned downstairs to let them know she’d be leaving that day. Reception said it was unlikely and they would speak to the police. She reiterated that she would be leaving. The nurse called her and Kim explained about her situation, accommodation, etc. The nurse was happy with everything but advised her to stay in her room until contacted, as the Ministry of Health were arriving at 8am.

Nobody called and she heard from someone from another room that there was a huge queue in the lobby waiting to be tested so they could leave. As nobody from the hotel would help with her luggage, she moved it all herself and stood in a queue for an hour. The woman in front of her lived in Auckland and was with her husband who has cancer. They weren’t allowed to immediately go home from the airport to their own residence where they were going to self-isolate.

The woman behind Kim had cancer and was having huge difficulty breathing.

The thermometer they were using was one that had to be used under the arm or under the tongue and was being cleaned with alcohol each time. Kim opted for under the arm and both were cleared. No further checks were done with regards to where she was going, and she was free to leave.

The arrangement with taxis was that you have to sit 2 metres apart from the driver and the driver has to agree not to use the vehicle for another 72 hours. Instead, we opted to arrange to drop off a car to the hotel so that she could drive to her arranged self-isolation accommodation. Fortunately, she is able to drive.

Both my daughter and granddaughter have now developed a cough. It is sad that they were put further at risk by the authorities. Kim already knew the welcome home wouldn’t be as she imagined it two months ago, but this treatment was totally unexpected.

Let us keep safe, but please don’t exacerbate the problem with senseless procedures due to paranoia. Hopefully my granddaughter and daughter will get through it, but no thanks the authorities.