New Zealand’s deputy PM reveals the source of country’s shock coronavirus outbreak – a ‘breach inside our quarantine system’
- New Zealand’s deputy prime minister has theory about coronavirus outbreak
- He believes the virus was a ‘breach inside our quarantine system’ in hotels
- Jacinda Ardern’s office said no connection has been made yet
New Zealand’s deputy prime minister claims the nation’s shock second wave of COVID-19 spread throughout the community following a ‘breach’ inside the hotel quarantine system.
Winston Peters told local media a ‘reliable’ journalist made the shock allegations after the nation diagnosed a further 14 new cases on Thursday.
‘It wasn’t an official, I found out from somewhere else, but I think there’s been a breach inside our quarantine system,’ he told ABC 24 News.
‘I think, when that comes out very shortly, in a matter of maybe less than day, we’ll find out that was the case. But you don’t always find out from your officials.’
Mr Peters said he doubted the virus had been bubbling under the surface within the community undetected.
‘I don’t know where this quarantine breach may have happened, but I think you can eliminate it being some new strain of COVID-19 that hitherto my country hadn’t seen,’ he said.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s office refuted the allegations.
He said ‘no connection between managed isolation and these cases have been established at this point’.
Mr Peters, the leader of the New Zealand First party, did not suggest the virus escaped through any fault of the program or authorities managing it.
‘In Melbourne’s case, of course, it was – how shall I say it without being too critical? – pretty slack oversight and supervision, where it was put in the hands of private industry, which was a disaster.
‘In our case, we got the army in early enough to know that that wouldn’t have been the problem. But there’s been a breach, and we’ll find out in a matter of hours, or within a day.’
But Mr Peters was quick to reiterate that all information was currently speculative and still under investigation.
Of the new cases diagnosed on Thursday, 13 have been linked to the Auckland cluster which plunged the nation back into lockdown.
Just one is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.
There are now 36 active cases in the country – a massive spike for the nation as it had just celebrated 102 days without a single case through community transmission on Sunday.
Three of the cases are employees at Americold, a cold storage facility believed to be at the heart of the outbreak. Another seven are family members of these employees.
Ms Ardern made the drastic move to force New Zealand back into lockdown on Wednesday after the first new COVID-19 cases emerged.
More to come