National's Todd Muller suspects undetected community spread of Covid-19 in NZ

National leader Todd Muller suspects there are more cases of Covid-19 in the community after the Ministry of Health this morning revealed 51 people who left managed isolation facilities early after arriving in New Zealand weren't tested for Covid-19.

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Todd Muller claims 51 of the 55 people let out of managed isolation early after arriving in New Zealand were not tested for the virus. Source: Breakfast

"Now suddenly in the last week we have lots of cases where previously when they haven't been testing for the last four weeks we've had no cases," he told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

"I suspect what we're going to find is it is out more in our community than what we have been told.

"We've only just found out this morning that 51 out of the 55 people that were let out of quarantine or managed isolation early to go to funerals had not been tested, so four had been tested when 55 should have been."

The Ministry of Health yesterday said there were 10 active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, all in managed isolation.

On Monday just over 4300 tests for Covid-19 were carried out, bringing the national total to 348,822.

Mr Muller also claimed the Government was trying to "distract" from the error by denying claims a homeless man bluffed his way into a five-star quarantine for a 14-day stay.

"To distract attention for a day they try and suggest that [National MP] Michael Woodhouse's story doesn't add up, well he's a great man, he's got fantastic sources. If that's what he got told by a source I back him."

However, Mr Muller denied he was "opposing for opposing sake" - something he insisted he wouldn't do when he took leadership of the party.

"If we were seeing every day a report from a transparent Government that said, 'Here's the amount of people arriving, here are the number people each day going into quarantine or managed isolation, here is the daily tests that are being done and give you confidence that that matches the number of people that are actually in those facilities, and here's the second tests again matching those people that give us confidence that they are now free of Covid to now move about New Zealand,' now if that was being provided to the level that you would expect, that I would expect and the rest of the country would expect then that would be not an issue.

"This last week's just been a shemozzle, quite frankly. I call it a national disgrace."

He pressed the Prime Minister on the issue during Parliament's question time.

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Ardern denies claim there is Covid-19 community transmission when pressed by Muller

"Does she agree with Auckland University School of Medicine Professor Des Gorman that not all of the 2,159 people who left managed isolation between June 9 and 16 will probably be tracked down, and “we have to make the assumption these people have re-seeded the infection in the community?" he asked during Question Time.

The Prime Minister answered by quoting another expert with a differing opinion.

"I understand Professor Gorman is an expert in occupational health at Auckland University, rather than an epidemiologist, however I acknowledge the role he has played in the medical community.

"I note though that Auckland University Infectious Disease Specialist Dr Siouxsie Wiles says the chances of someone leading to community infection after leaving an isolation facility are ‘very low’.

"And ‘if people had gone on to develop symptoms that the testing and isolation of those around them would have kicked in as well, so we’re very unlikely to see anything happen from those, and if we do it would be very, very minor’," Ms Ardern said.

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National’s leader doubled down on the "assumption" people leaving managed isolation without testing would have “re-seeded infection in the community”. Source: 1 NEWS

On Breakfast, Mr Muller again called for Health Minister David Clark to resign, adding that he shouldn't be passively getting reports from the Health Ministry and "thinks that's fine".

"The key thing here is, where was the questioning?" Mr Muller asked.

"Where was he saying to his health officials, 'Show me the data as to who has come in off the planes, demonstrate to me which quarantine facility they went to and that they're able to cope, demonstrate to me that they're actually being tested, give me confidence that when you say it is being done it is being done'?

"That's what leadership, that's what management's all about. You just don't say yes when you get given a report. You test it, you interrogate it on behalf of the team of five million whose economic and personal interests ride on the success of this policy - and it's an utter failure."