A man who flew out from Auckland to Rarotonga, has breached quarantine by handing over his phone to his daughter for a new SIM card.
The man and his wife flew out from New Zealand, arriving in Rarotonga on October 9, and went into quarantine.
But the man gave his phone to his daughter, who then took it to Vodafone to get him a new SIM card.
Cook Islands Secretary of Health Dr Aumea Herman didn’t hold back in expressing her frustration over the breach.
“Whilst it is easy to say this latest breach should not have happened, people can be selfish and it does appear that what happened this morning was a very contrived, thought out action.”
The properties where people are being quarantined for two weeks are being monitored around the clock. As well, returnees are given instructions on the quarantine order at Auckland Airport before leaving New Zealand as well as a briefing from police and the health ministry Te Marae Ora on arriving in the Cook Islands.
“Selfish behaviour like this undermines the good work of many and one day will result in a Covid-19 outbreak in the Cook Islands. This behaviour needs to stop,” Herman said.
The husband and wife have tested negative for Covid-19 twice in the past two weeks with the last test being on Thursday.
Te Marae Ora said the public health risk to Vodafone staff was extremely low.
“I am incredibly thankful for the prompt actions of the dilgent Vodafone staff who through their thorough questioning, and attention to detail, picked up the breach,” Herman said.
The two Vodafone staff who raised the alert tested negative and were allowed to return to work.
Prime Minister Mark Brown this month expressed hopes of the possibility of quarantine-free travel between the Cook Islands and New Zealand, once there had been no community transmission here for 28 days.
However, with the case on Saturday of a port worker who tested positive for Covid-19, Brown said quarantine arrangements would remain in place for those flying into Rarotonga from Auckland on Air New Zealand’s weekly flights.
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