Dangerous Liaison: New Zealand Virus Quarantine Flaw Exposed

The Grand Millenium hotel, a managed isolation facility is seen in central Auckland, New Zealand, July, 16, 2020. A traveler and a worker at the quarantine hotel started passing each other notes, including one written on the back of a face mask. Then he delivered a bottle of wine she'd ordered to her room. When he didn't return 20 minutes later, a security manager sent to investigate found the pair together in what authorities are describing as an inappropriate encounter, one in which physical distancing wasn't maintained. (Sylvie Whinray/New Zealand Herald via AP)

(AP) — New Zealand authorities say a woman returning to New Zealand who was placed in a 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine and a man working there were found in an inappropriate encounter.  The incident earlier this month has highlighted a very human weak point in New Zealand’s virus elimination system.

Authorities say the pair’s behavior was totally unacceptable and an investigation is underway to determine whether additional security measures are required. Brigadier Jim Bliss, the head of managed isolation and quarantine, says the worker was immediately sent home and told to self-isolate. He was later fired.

The returning traveler, meanwhile, was given a formal written warning by the police. Authorities breathed a sigh of relief after both returned negative coronavirus tests.


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