2 Mar 2021

Covid-19: Prosecutorial approach would be 'counterproductive' - Bloomfield

From Morning Report, 7:37 am on 2 March 2021

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield isn't a fan of laying charges over people breaking lockdown and self isolation rules.

Criticism continues this morning about the government's Covid-19 messaging in the wake of Aucklanders breaching isolation rules.

The chief executive of the Pasifika Medical Association, Debbie Sorenson, says official terms such as "casual plus contact" are hard to grasp.

Manukau councillor Efeso Collins says popular social networks such as TikTok should be in the mix to reach the young.

Bloomfield told Morning Report there has been significant media around the current outbreak, and most of the families of people at Papatoetoe High School had been contacted by the time the school reopened.

He said the families who contact tracers did not get to had been called repeatedly.

"Our contact tracers, and community providers are very active in following up these people and using a whole range of channels to try and get hold of them."

As for what to do now that it has been revealed some of the families at the centre of the outbreak had broken lockdown rules, Bloomfield said he is reluctant to do anything that would deter people from being tested, such as prosecution.

"Taking a prosecutorial approach, and potentially taking people to court, could well have been counterproductive."