23 Mar 2020

Students at Auckland school tested for Covid-19

5:26 pm on 23 March 2020

Several students at an Auckland school are being tested for Covid-19 after coming into contact with a confirmed case over the weekend.

Pakuranga College principal, and president of the Secondary Principals' Association, Mike Williams

Michael Williams, principal of Pakuranga College Photo: RNZ Insight/John Gerritsen

Pakuranga College principal Michael Williams said a man who had been in close contact with the students tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.

Williams said he had told the roughly nine students to self-isolate and get tested, but there could be other contacts.

"I'm hoping the Ministry of Health will identify all of them, or encourage them to isolate and get tested."

Williams said he was aware last week that the man had been in contact with another confirmed case, as well as some Pakuranga College students, but that the advice at the time from the Ministry of Health was that the man's risk was low and that he didn't need to take any precautions.

"On Friday, we were looking at isolating our students because of that contact. We pulled back from that stick because of the Ministry of Health advice.

"In hindsight, their advice was exactly wrong. The young people should have been in isolation and they should have been tested."

Williams said the man was a hero for getting tested on his own initiative.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said casual contacts of confirmed cases were not required to self-isolate unless symptoms developed, in which case they should be tested. "We understand that the man in this case did develop symptoms and was tested."

Earlier today, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said authorities were tracing "any contacts" of the man.