Calls for unity as Pasifika community subject to racial abuse over Delta outbreak

Source: 1News

The Ministry of Health has called on Kiwis to stick together in light of racial abuse being directed at the Pasifika community.

Auckland's Pacific community has been subject to the abuse after it was announced the majority of the current cases had originated at the Samoan Assembly of God Church in Māngere.

Fifty-eight Covid-19 cases are currently linked to the assembly last Sunday.

A church member told 1 NEWS the event had roughly 500 people at it.

“We are in a very difficult and frustrating position at the moment considering everything that is going on with the church cluster. We are just following rules just like everyone else and staying safe.

"Our community is cooperating by get tested ASAP and staying in their bubble isolating,” the person said.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield emphasised his appreciation for the wider Pasifika community on their collective response to the Delta outbreak, previously noting they have the highest testing rates among New Zealanders.

"I would just like to sincerely acknowledge the Samoan community, and indeed the wider Pacific community, for their response to our request for testing," he said.

"That is proceeding very well."

However, this afternoon the ministry said the Pacific community had been subject to racial abuse.

"Unfortunately there are racist comments being directed at people in our Pacific community who are caught up in the current outbreak," the ministry said on social media.

"The virus is the problem, not people. People are the solution, be part of the solution - be kind."

There are now 15,000 contacts linked to the cluster, most of which are deemed close contacts.

More than 9,700 have been identified and are self-isolating, with ongoing work to track down the remaining group.