By the middle of June, it seemed that Covid-19 might be gone from New Zealand because there were no new cases for 23 days.
However, many New Zealanders have been returning home from overseas, and people have been complaining that the quarantine processes have been too casual.
On the 16th of June, we discovered that two New Zealanders returning from the UK had developed Covid-19. They are sisters who were allowed to leave quarantine early for compassionate reasons – to visit a dying parent. They were given a compassionate exemption. An exemption means someone has special permission to break a rule.
They arrived at Auckland airport, stayed in quarantine at a hotel in Auckland for 9 days and then were allowed to drive from Auckland to Wellington. When they were released from quarantine, it was five days early, and they were not tested for Covid-19. One of the women had a cough, but she thought it was just her asthma.
As they drove to Wellington, they avoided contact with other people. There was one time that they briefly met with a friend to ask for help because they were lost in Auckland. When they got to Wellington, they were tested for Covid-19 and found they both have this virus.
On the 18th of June, we learned that one man who has returned from Pakistan has Covid-19. He is staying in quarantine at an Auckland hotel.
So New Zealand now has three new cases. Many New Zealanders are upset that Covid-19 is back. They worry that there could be more cases in the future because nearly 200 people have been allowed to leave quarantine early with compassionate exemptions.
The Prime Minister has now said there will be no more compassionate exemptions. The army will ensure that quarantine is managed more carefully in the future, and the Ministry of Health will search for people that the patients had contact with. This is called contact tracing.
We all hope that the three sick will recover, and that the virus will be easily contained by means of contact tracing. We must all remember that public hygiene is still very important, and we must get tested if we get sick.
case: when a person is sick, we call them a patient. But when we want to talk about the sickness, we call it a case. For example: Jenny is a covid-19 patient. New Zealand has had 1157 cases of covid-19.
processes: a system of rules and the ways that things should be done
casual: not planned or serious
compassionate: kind, loving
ensure: make sure
recover: get better
contained: stopped from spreading by means of: this is a preposition phrase that shows us how something will be done
by means of: this is a preposition phrase that shows us how something will be done
asthma: a sickness that is a little bit like an allergy that makes people cough