Covid-19: Clover Park residents roll up to new pop-up testing centre

3:45 pm on 22 September 2021

Claims of lockdown breaches are emerging from locals in the small south Auckland suburb of interest, Clover Park.

The queue at the St Lukes Covid-19 testing centre on 20/8/2021.

Residents are responding to encouragement from the prime minister to get tested even if they have no symptoms of Covid-19. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Residents are continuing to turn out in numbers for Covid-19 testing, as requested by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday.

But claims of lockdown breaches are emerging from residents concerned that the mass testing drive is a direct result.

A new pop-up testing centre at the Manukau Sports Bowl has been busy since opening yesterday, with the first people showing up to get tested at 8am.

On Tuesday, Ardern took the unusual step of calling on an entire suburb to get tested for Covid-19, whether symptomatic or not.

Ardern said Clover Park was not a large geographical area, but enough cases had been reported in the area to encourage officials to take a different approach.

The suburb is home to a number of locations of interest, including some businesses in Dawson Rd.

Local resident Tracy McManamara was asymptomatic and turned up to get tested on Wednesday with her two children Eterei, 9, and Anita, 6.

She said she had heard about the prime minister's comments on decided to get swabbed.

"It was a bit of a shock," she said. "I've been working from home and I've been trying to do all the right things.

"Maybe people just haven't been staying home when they were supposed to, or going out when they shouldn't. But we've all got to play our part in some way."

Brian Herewini was at the testing station on Wednesday. He works in south Auckland and said he has to get tested weekly for his job in freight, as he has to regularly cross the border.

Herewini said he thought the targeted testing in the area had to be done.

"The sooner we get this stuff out of the way the sooner we can get back to normal."

Kieran Jury arrived with his wife, Evelyn-Anne.

"We heard through friends that we needed to get checked, even though we've both been vaccinated."

He said some people in his street held a party the other night and police had to attend to shut it down.

Manukau Ward Councillor, Alf Filipaina

Alf Filipaina Photo: Kethaki Masilamani

"People just aren't taking this seriously," Jury said.

Manukau ward councillor Alf Filipaina said news that Clover Park was the subject of targeted testing was par for the course.

"For me it's just good that there is a testing station up and running in Clover Park," he said.

"If it's been identified there must be an issue and I'm trying to get the word out that people need to get tested and vaccinated."

He said he has heard about low rates of vaccination in areas like Ōtara and people need to put their reluctance to one side and do the right thing.

"Let's just get it done."

The Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC), which is handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the Auckland region, couldn't provide exact figures for how many people had been tested at the new Clover Park testing centre.

But a spokeswoman said it had been busy on Tuesday afternoon and she was pleased with the response from the community.

The testing centre is located at the Manukau Sports Bowl in Boundary Road and operates from 8.30am to 4pm and it has walk-in and drive-through access.

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