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'We have no reason to spread misinformation' - Wellington Ramen Shop receives backlash after 1pm briefing

A Wellington restaurant received a wave of criticism after announcing a person had dined there earlier this month and had tested positive for Covid-19.

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It announced a person had dined there earlier this month and had tested positive for Covid-19. Source: 1 NEWS

The situation was put to the Health Minister today who said he was "not going to continue to comment on every speculation on social media". 

The Ministry of Health released a statement today outlining an investigation of a traveller from Japan, who left New Zealand on August 8, transited through Singapore en route to Japan and later tested positive for Covid-19. 

The traveller was asymptomatic in New Zealand, spent time in Wellington and visited The Ramen Shop and other places.

"These premises are all considered casual contacts of the traveller, they have been contacted and provided with advice as part of the normal contact tracing process.  No further action is required from any of these premises as the risk is considered very low," the statement said. 

The Ramen Shop posted about this on its Facebook page, saying it was following guidelines and encouraged anyone who dined at the time or since and was showing Covid-19 symptoms to call their GP or Healthline. 

"We were contacted by a member of the regional public health team. We have chosen to post this out of respect for our team and customers, we believe being open and responsible, following guidelines and expert advice is the way forward. We would like to send our best wishes to this individual," the post said. 

Prior to the Ministry of Health's statement, Health Minister Chris Hipkins was asked about the post from the Ramen Shop. 

"We are not going to continue to comment on every speculation on social media, because there is a lot of false information. We do have a very consolidated process in place so when we do make announcements here, that information is all correct and accurate."

The shop's Facebook post was criticised, with people accusing the restaurant of spreading fear unnecessarily, calling it inaccurate, saying posts like that "causes fear-mongering and panic" and one calling it a "low life of a business, just trying to get publicity". 

The Ramen Shop followed up with another post saying it had nothing to hide, attached a letter from public health and outlined the times that staff spoke to nurses on the phone. 

"We were surprised to hear about the denial at today’s press conference as we were informed it would be included. Since then we have received many massages of love and support, which we value highly. Unfortunately some feel the need to make unhelpful and hurtful comments, this is not what our staff deserve.

"We have no reason or desire to spread misinformation."

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield also said today that a number of schools, including Pakuranga College, were closed after confirmed cases were linked to them. 

1 NEWS has since learned from the school that they have been informed there is no case at the school and they were "not sure why Dr Bloomfield dropped us in it".

The Ministry of Health later put out a statement saying it incorrectly named Pakuranga College as an affected school.  

"While there is a casual link, the Ministry is awaiting further test results and at this point no additional public health action is required from the school. The Ministry apologises for putting information in the public domain without first notifying the school."

When asked about the spread of misinformation yesterday, the Prime Minister said the majority of Kiwis "understand why we're taking the measures that we are".

"The whole intent is to limit the amount of time anyone has their freedoms limited, the whole goal is to get us back to normal as quickly as we can," Jacinda Ardern said.

"I do still ask, use the Covid-19 website, listen to our experts like the Director General [Dr Ashley Bloomfield], they're the ones who really know and understand this virus and they’re trusted sources of information."

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Jacinda Ardern was asked about the spread of misinformation. Source: 1 NEWS

Asked if the Government was trying to combat misinformation, Ms Ardern said she had seen reports of people overseas who "viewed Covid-19 as being fake who have lost their lives to it".

"The global situation is the evidence that this is very, very real."

"We need to take it seriously and if you're someone that views politicians as suspicious, then listen to the independent doctors, scientists, those who are our source of advice that we lean on."