11 May 2020

Covid-19 positive woman jailed for refusing medical check at airport

From Checkpoint, 5:14 pm on 11 May 2020

Checkpoint can reveal a woman who tested positive for Covid-19 at the weekend had been in an Auckland jail for 10 days, after refusing to undergo a medical examination when she arrived at Auckland International Airport from the United States.

The woman in her twenties agreed to be tested when she appeared in court last Friday. She was bailed after it was confirmed she had been tested but before the result was known.

The Department of Corrections says during her time at Auckland Women's Prison the woman was quarantined and had no contact with other prisoners.

It says staff are required to wear full PPE, including eye protection, gloves and masks when dealing with someone suspected or confirmed to have Covid-19.

Corrections told Checkpoint the woman had her own exercise area and was provided with a phone in her cell for calls, and that was sanitised after each use. The cell where she was housed has also since been deep cleaned.

Corrections cannot yet say if any of its workers are being tested for the virus.

In a statement to Checkpoint, police say the woman was bailed on strict conditions. They will work with the Ministry of Health to ensure compliance with the self-isolation restrictions in place.

The police did not answer questions about whether they opposed bail. The woman is charged with failing to comply with a direction of person authorised by a medical officer of health under Section 70 of the Health Act - namely the requirement to undergo a medical examination.