"We should know where they are" - Brownlee on early exemptions

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

The Covid-19 All Of Government Response Group says as a general rule, people granted permission to leave managed isolation early in exceptional circumstances will first complete seven full days in managed isolation, return a negative Covid-19 Day 3 test and pass a health assessment before they can leave. 
But National deputy leader Gerry Brownlee is asking what the criteria really are. He says the New Zealand public has sacrificed too much to be put at risk. 
There have been 50 applications for early leave from isolation but only seven granted. The minister responsible for managed isolation and quarantine, Megan Woods, says there are strict rules and only in exceptional circumstances will early release be possible.

Brownlee: "We should know where they are. All of us are being asked to do the track-and-trace and to be cautious about the way we go about our daily lives and we do need to know more about the procedure the government is using to identify who may be granted compassionate leave."

"Yes we have a good health status but we have a vulnerable health status, particularly to this virus," he says.

There have been more than 30,000 people returning to New Zealand since the nationwide lockdown in late March and, even without any traces of community transmission, politicians are saying the risk is too high for the system to not be robust. 
It's eighty-three days since the last locally transmitted case and the government says the management of public health remains paramount. That may give New Zealanders a bit of reassurance but the threat remains as numbers rise around the world.