NZ should 'have goal of no Covid-19 positive people' arriving into country – Michael Baker

Source: 1News

A top epidemiologist thinks the New Zealand could drastically reduce its rate of Covid-19 infection at the border if more focus is given to the period before and after returnees stay in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

The epidemiologist says the Government needs to focus on tightening up the border system.

“It’s so much better to reduce the flow of infected people in to our MIQ facilities and I have to think New Zealand could have a goal of no positive people turning up in New Zealand," Professor Michael Baker told Breakfast.

His comments come after two returnees were confirmed last night to have tested positive for the virus following their stint in managed isolation at Auckland's Pullman Hotel. The Northland woman who tested positive for the virus on Sunday was at the hotel at the same time as the pair.

“No one wants to bring this virus in, so it’s about working with those travellers to say, 'how can we minimise your risk of being infected?'”

Rapid testing passengers before they board their flights to New Zealand or spending a week self-isolating at home before they venture out in to the community are some of the ways he thinks the Ministry of Health could prevent a similar situation occurring again. 

"There are things we could do and we'd get instant feedback on this because we can look at the positive people turning up in New Zealand".  

Baker says the changes need to involve working closer alongside the "community of travellers" coming in to New Zealand.