Community case of Covid-19 confirmed in Christchurch

From Morning Report, 8:16 am on 3 November 2020

A public health expert and epidemiologist says NZ needs to make changes to the way it handles the Covid-19 pandemic after yet another worker became infected with the disease.

The Ministry of Health confirmed on Monday night a  staff member working at the managed isolation facility where a large group of international fishing crew members tested positive for the virus.

It's the second community case in two weeks.

Professor Nick Wilson, a public health expert from the University of Otago with research experience in infectious diseases told Morning Report the current managed isolation system in hotels isn't good enough.

"Hotels are just basically not designed for quarantine. They have shared air space, not the appropriate ventilation. They are really not the ideal solution for what is turning out to be, you know, a very infectious pandemic disease."

Wilson said the fact multiple workers had picked up Covid-19 since the border closure proves the system isn't good enough. 

"We've had a nurse infected, a maintenance worker, a port worker. These are failures, they're system failures, because we should be stopping all cases at the border."

He said the government needs to view the incursions as failures and take them seriously.

"The government brushes over this by saying, 'we can control these occasional border incursions', but they have to see them as system failures, because it's completely unacceptable for workers to get infected."