Covid locations of interest website search tool updated

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

The Covid-19 locations of interest list on the Ministry of Health website has been updated to allow users to search by location, city and dates. 

Those who were at locations of interest are a priority for testing.

Users are able to search by suburb or city, the location name, by dates and times and when the location was last updated. 

On Saturday, locations of interest that back-dated August 7 were removed, after further testing of the New South Wales traveller gave more confidence of the timing of when Covid-19 came into New Zealand and spread into the community," the Prime Minister said at the 1pm briefing. 

However, after the location of interest update, locations from August 2 are now back on the website. The Ministry of Health has been contacted about this. 

All locations now have the updated date as August 22 - which has been questioned by some as making any newer locations of interest indistinguishable from those already on the website.

The website had also drawn criticism by users around the pace of new locations of interest are published. 

When questioned with this issue on Saturday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Alert Level 4 meant people should be at home when they receive information if they had been at a location of interest. 

"It may just give them additional information on whether or not they fall into a category of someone who needs to be tested and/or prioritising those areas where we may have essential workers affected because we need to have them stay at home. 

"There is always a balance here to be struck. If you put up a first-cut of information and it is incorrect, it has the wrong date or the wrong time, you can then have a whole raft of people enter into our testing system we don't need to.

"We are still reaching out to those contacts that we identify, sometimes before they are even up on the website. The website is not the only way we communicate with contacts."

National's Chris Bishop said that the Prime Minister's response that everyone should be at home already was "not a legitimate reason for the laxness in uploading locations of interest".

"First, thousands of people are still going to work. Second, people want to do the right thing and are anxious.

"Speed it up," he tweeted.