The Chief Ombudsman has announced he will begin inspecting New Zealand’s Covid-19 managed isolation and quarantine facilities housing international arrivals.
Peter Boshier announced his new inspection programme this morning which, among other things, would look at the policies in place surrounding suspected Covid-19 cases.
It follows yesterday’s events which saw two new virus cases confirmed in the country as a result of two New Zealanders who had arrived from the UK for compassionate reasons.
The quarantine facilities have been the subject of controversy before, with those who have been put up in hotels concerned over lax restrictions and a lack of physical distancing.
Mr Boshier says his inspection programme will independently monitor the facilities.
"Among other things, inspectors will be looking at the policies in place to manage suspected cases of Covid-19.
"We’ll also look at people’s access to fresh air and exercise. We’ll also consider whether people in managed isolation are able to keep a physical distance from members of the public including other hotel patrons and staff."
Another person who had stayed at the same Auckland hotel at the same time as the two new confirmed cases told 1 NEWS she wasn’t made to do a Covid-19 test, and that she was told it was optional.
Yesterday, it was announced by Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield that anyone granted compassionate travel exemptions will now be required to test negative for the virus before leaving their quarantine or managed isolation facility.
Mr Boshier says the investigations are likely to follow similar lines to those recently conducted in prisons, mental health facilities and aged care facilities.
The inspections are due to start next month.
"They will be notified in advance and my staff will be wearing protective equipment as appropriate and will pay close regard to the Ministry of Health’s health and safety guidelines."
The Government is also set to review what happened with the two new confirmed Covid-19 cases. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday that she did "not consider acceptable" the circumstances that preceded the new cases.