17 Jun 2020

Auckland woman who had contact with new Covid-19 cases went to gym

10:47 pm on 17 June 2020

An Auckland gym says a woman who lent a car to the two new Covid-19 cases - and met them when they were lost - attended a "hands-on" training session at its facility yesterday.

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File image. Photo: 123rf.com

The two women who tested positive travelled from Auckland to Wellington after being granted a compassionate exemption to leave managed isolation and visit their dying parent, having travelled here from the United Kingdom.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has now confirmed that after leaving quarantine in a car provided by friends, the two women got lost on the Auckland motorway system.

The friends who lent them the car then met with them and guided them to the right motorway, and were in physical contact for about five minutes.

A Facebook post from the owner of Lioness - the Gym for Women said that the two women who tested positive were friends with a gym member who was in contact with them last Saturday, the day the pair drove from Auckland to Wellington.

The post said the gym member had lent the car to the pair and met them again to give them instructions when they became lost.

The gym member had not visited the facility again until Tuesday morning, when she had a training session and took part in group classes, the post said.

The post said fortunately, there were still 2 metre distancing marks in place in the studio, however, she said the sessions were "hands on".

RNZ contacted the gym owner but was told to call back tomorrow.

The Facebook post said the gym owner was advised by the MOH that she could continue her normal activities until she finds out the member's test results.

She was told it wasn't necessary for her to let other gym members know, but she did this anyway as a precaution.

RNZ has contacted the MOH for comment.

'A kiss and a cuddle'

Earlier today, the National Party's health spokesperson, Michael Woodhouse, told Parliament that the pair had hugged and kissed someone on their travels.

That was after Dr Ashley Bloomfield said they had no contact with anyone.

In its later update on the situation, the MOH didn't confirm if they hugged or kissed their friend, and said it received the update this afternoon.

Woodhouse told Parliament a "reliable but confidential source" had informed him that story was "not all as it seems".

"They did become disorientated and lost their way coming out of Auckland and needed help to get on the right road," Woodhouse said.

"They called on acquaintances who they were in close contact with and that was rewarded with even more close contact - a kiss and a cuddle."

The MOH says authorities have also been informed that friends made contactless deliveries of food or care packages while the women were in self-isolation.

The friends took all precautions to deliver the food while maintaining physical distancing.

The MOH says there is no risk to the community from the interactions.

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