Hipkins backs PM, details 'very clear' guidance given to KFC worker who went to work while 'symptomatic'

Source: 1News

Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins today backed the Prime Minister, as he detailed the "very clear" guidance given to the family of a Botany Downs KFC worker who went to work while "symptomatic" then later tested positive for Covid-19.

It comes as the woman, known as Case L, this week claimed she was never told to isolate at home in Auckland despite health officials and the Prime Minister stating otherwise.

At the 1pm Covid-19 briefing today, Hipkins said the family had enough information to know they should have been tested for Covid-19.

"The instructions to the student in the family who had been symptomatic for a few days were very clear that they needed to seek a test, which they didn’t do until Monday last week," he said.

"Over 98 per cent of students had followed instructions and been tested already.

"Very clear guidance was sent out to all of the families at the school on the 17th of February saying that everybody in the households should get a test.

"That was then repeated on the 19th of February, the two siblings started to show symptoms on the 19th and 20th and the person went to work on the 22nd despite the fact at that point there were two people in the household and no one had been tested."

Hipkins finished his statement on the issue by backing Jacinda Ardern.

"There is certainly enough information there that the person shouldn’t have been going to work and that is the point the Prime Minister has been making and I think it’s a fair one."

Earlier, National Party leader Judith Collins says Covid-19 messaging needs to be "spot on" to avoid confusion among those who are meant to be isolating.

"These sorts of communications need to be very clear and they need to be in languages of the people who are receiving them, not just of the people who translate them and say 'oh, well I think I've got that right'.

"It's got to be spot on every time."

When asked how to get it right, Collins said New Zealand's diversity needed to be recognised.

"I think we take account of the fact we are a very multi-ethnic community, that we have 220 different ethnicities - when I was certainly Minister of Ethnic Communities, that's what I was told," she said.

"There are 120 different languages being spoken in Auckland alone, so we just need to have people who can get these messages through, and we already have them - they're called translators and the Ministry of Health has to make better use of them."

In a statement to 1 NEWS yesterday, a Ministry of Health spokesperson said people could access specific information in their language by phoning their call centre. There, they can be connected with interpreter services, and some callers can speak multiple languages.

"Information on locations of interest for people who may be contacts of Covid-19 cases in the community is available on the Ministry of Health website. However, at this stage, it is not being translated into other languages," the spokesperson said.