Government confirms ‘citizen’ Checkpoints are not official – report

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On January 26 a press release was shared to social media indicating there needed to be more secure border control in Northland regarding the latest Community Case.

thisquality made a report that ‘citizen’ Checkpoints are not official and are creating more fear for families than anything over one case reported.

The Community Case was identified as a 56-year-old woman who travelled to 31 different locations. Still, she luckily used Bluetooth tracking and QR scanning, which allowed for a fast response to isolate any close contacts deeming further spread in the community as null.

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COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed to press that there wasn’t any initial plan by the Government to set up Checkpoints in preventing anyone from leaving Northland over the fear that the virus was supposedly spreading. The virus was not leaking into the community, and due to quick action, no lockdown was needed nor were Checkpoints.

“Look, I will make some introductory remarks and say I think Northland responded incredibly positively. I think there was a bit of anxiety, certainly in the early phase as there always is in a situation like this but I think Northland proactively went out and sought testing if they were having symptoms,” said Hipkins.

“They did all of the right things and in particular the case concerned did all of the right things in terms of keeping very good records that allowed us to get ahead of any potential outbreak [in the community] — so I think this is the system operating as we would hope that it would operate.”

Hipkins says outbreaks in the past allows the Government to learn more about what they can further implement to improve the system to provide a free and open lifestyle to citizens without having to close down businesses over a Community Case because fast action contact tracing has worked.

“I don’t think that people should be making up their own set of rules here. This is the same response I’ve given to all of these sorts of things where people take their own initiative and do things that are potentially infringing on other peoples rights and freedoms,” said Hipkins.

“We are working very hard to keep our team of five million all rowing in the same direction. And, so while I do understand the anxiety and the concern, we wouldn’t be releasing people from managed isolation if we thought that there was a risk that they were bringing [COVID-19] into the community.”

“That’s what the process is designed to stop, and across the hundred thousand plus people now who have left managed isolation, we have dealt with a handful of incidents where we have been able to contain those very very quickly,” Hipkins concluded.

Image/Video: RNZ News (Government Crown Media)

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