Contacts of latest Covid-19 case ‘paying a price for everyone’ – PM

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there are “many, many people” being treated as contacts of the latest community case of Covid-19, but the government is willing to go further than usual to keep the country at level 1.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave a media briefing in Auckland this afternoon.

Watch the briefing here:

Speaking about the new community case revealed this afternoon, Ardern said this was a situation where the source of the cases was known, and health authorities knew where they have had contact with others.

“There are many many people who in this particular scenario are being treated as those close-plus contacts so they haven’t had necessarily direct one-to-one. But we are asking them to isolate and be tested. We’re going further than we usually do and we are doing that because it give us our best chance to stay at level 1.

“They’re paying a price for everyone, and doing the right thing for everyone.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds a media briefing following the Maui Drone Project Launch at the Maritime Room, Princess Wharf, Viaduct Harbour. 26/02/21

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds a media briefing following the Maui Drone Project Launch at the Maritime Room, Princess Wharf, Viaduct Harbour. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Asked about any travel bubbles, she said one of the things New Zealanders needed to be aware that it could turn on and off depending on the risks.

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“We’ve known that all along.”

Ardern said rule-breaking by people recently infected with Covid-19 had been a source of frustration.

On Wednesday it was revealed a now-positive case went to work and visited a vape store when they were supposed to be isolating.

Then yesterday, the ministry announced a family whose members later tested positive had hosted a private home viewing on Sunday.

Ardern said non-compliance was frustrating, but should not be condemned too harshly.

“One of the things we need is an environment where people can feel like even if they’ve made the wrong choice, even if they’ve gotten tested later than they should have that they still do what we need them to do.

“If we have a massive pile-in that creates an environment where people are afraid to get tested, where they may not do what we need them to do.”

Earlier today, she attended the official opening of Mahitahi Kāinga Trust’s social housing project Kotukutuku Papakāinga in Ōtara.

She also today spoke at the launch of a new project which aims to use drone technology to improve the protection of the of the Māui dolphin, Aotearoa’s most endangered dolphin.

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The Maui Drone Project aims to collect data on the population size, habitat and behaviour of Māui dolphins.

It is backed by WWF and the Ministry for Primary Industries, with support from fishing companies Sanford and Moana New Zealand.

Ardern said this afternoon the government had an “absolute commitment” to protecting Māui dolphins

“We have so few left.

“This will help us understand where they are, their movements, if extra protections are required.”

Ardern said it was crucial to make every effort to save them, such as restricting fishing.

Only 63 Maui dolphins remain, and they’re found exclusively off the west coast of the North Island.

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