1 Mar 2021

Covid-19 case: Manukau Institute of Technology asks for kindness towards student

7:09 pm on 1 March 2021

The Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) is asking for kindness as a student who tested positive for Covid-19 faces cyber-bullying.

Exterior of the Manukau Institute of Technology

(File image) Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

A 21-year-old was identified as one of the latest cases in the outbreak, after he attended classes at MIT's Manukau campus while potentially infectious last week.

The tertiary institution's student president, Micah Sili, said the student deserved compassion, not harassment.

"It's understandable why there is a bit of frustration on both parts, from the community outside of MIT and our student population as well," Sili said.

"And that showed up in some of the comments made on news articles and social media groups."

She said because of targeted messaging, this bullying had started to slowly decrease.

"We've reached out to both communities and all of South Auckland, just as a reminder to spread kindness during this time and he is just a student and his family so we need to be compassionate about their circumstances."

Sili said there was initially a mixture of anxiety and frustration among the student base when it was revealed the case had attended the campus.

"But I think today, we have been in touch with a few students and they feel a bit more reassured after a more targeted message from the Ministry of Health," she said.

"We just want to put that message out there to remember to be kind to everyone."

It emerged today that the student's mother had gone for a walk with the mother of another family who was a close contact of the first family involved in the February cluster.

That was when the family should have been isolating, and when Auckland was in level 3. Both mothers have since tested positive for Covid-19.

At a post-Cabinet briefing this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said such rule breaking was "not tolerable".

She asked New Zealanders to confront family members or colleagues who were not following the rules, while making it clear there was an independence between police and politicians.

She said it was not for politicians to decide whether to prosecute those who breached the rules around self-isolating, and the rule breakers in this case were already facing the consequence of having the full judgment of the country.

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