Judith Collins ‘very hopeful’ Covid-19 alert level restrictions will lift today

Source: 1News

National leader Judith Collins says she’s “hopeful” Covid-19 alert level restrictions will lift today. 

“We’ll hear today whether or not there are any more positive cases. After all the testing that’s gone on, if there are no more positive cases, then I’m very hopeful that they might lift these levels,” Collins told Breakfast. 

She said she “presumed” the Government did the right thing by putting Auckland in Alert Level 3 and the rest of the country at Alert Level 2.

“We can’t sort of risk Auckland and also the rest of the country ending up with Covid-19 throughout the communities.”

The heightened restrictions were announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday, after three members of a South Auckland family were found to have contracted the more-contagious UK variant of Covid-19. The origin of the infections has not yet been determined.

As to whether New Plymouth and Taranaki, where two of the three community cases in Auckland visited, should go up to Alert Level 3, Collins said restrictions may be lifted “hopefully today or very soon after” anyway. 

She said the Government should consider purpose-build managed isolation and quarantine facilities outside of the country’s main centres so “we don’t end up with this total lockdown that’s really damaging”. 

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins appeared on Breakfast after Collins and revealed there were no community cases reported overnight ahead of Cabinet’s alert level decision this afternoon. 

Woman detained in Turkey 

Collins also responded to news yesterday about a New Zealand national who was detained at the Turkish border after reportedly attempting to enter from Syria. She was accompanied by her two young children.

Australian broadcaster ABC reports the woman is Suhayra Aden , who travelled to Syria "several years ago to live under Islamic State".

As Australia had revoked her citizenship, responsibility for her now only sits in the hands of New Zealand. 

Collins said New Zealand had “come out very badly on this” and that the woman “shouldn’t be our problem” given she had lived in Australia since she was six years old.

“I don’t have any sympathy for this person, and I don’t think that anybody in New Zealand really would," Collins said.

“I, however, am concerned for the two little children … This woman has brought this upon herself. Unfortunately, she’s done a terrible thing for her children as well.”

Yesterday, Ardern came out swinging against Australia, who she said “abdicated its responsibilities” by stripping her of Australian citizenship. 

"Our very strong view on behalf of New Zealand and New Zealanders was that this individual was clearly most appropriately dealt with by Australia.

"That is where their family reside, that is where their links reside and that is where the place from which they departed for Syria."

When asked about the situation, Scott Morrison said it was his job as the Australian Prime Minister "to put Australia's national security interests first ".