Reinstating compassionate exemptions a 'top priority', Government says

Reinstating compassionate exemptions for people in managed isolation will be a "top priority", Housing Minister Megan Woods told media today.

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People have been banned from leaving mandatory isolation on compassionate grounds since a number of bungles came to light last month. Source: 1 NEWS

"It is our intention to get through it next week," Ms Woods said. "Our number one consideration is we get it right, but it certainly will be our top priority in terms of work next week, finalising all the component pieces that need to be in place.”

Former Health Minister David Clark temporarily halted all compassionate exemptions after it was reported on June 16 two women left isolation early after the death of a family member, and later tested positive for Covid-19 after driving to Wellington. 

He said at the time it would only be reinstated once the Government had confidence in the exemption system. 

"Next week we plan to prioritise the reinstatement of compassionate exemptions and the work that is required to do that," Ms Woods said. 

"We know it is a matter of enormous concern for those people who are seeking these exemptions. It is also a public concern and it our absolute priority these can safely go ahead."

Asked if there would be changes to the system, Ms Woods said they are reviewing all procedures.

"There's the health advice, in terms of how long someone needs to be there and the returned negative test. There's also issues around how it is that we transport someone to where they need to be and how it is that we ensure compliance when we get there. 

"I think it's probably fair to say that when you're dealing with exceptions they are just that, they are exceptional circumstances and we will have to plan for a range of scenarios, we'll have more to say next week."