NZ gets military after virus fiasco

The government is still scrambling for answers about why two women had not been tested before being allowed to leave an Auckland hotel after they arrived from the UK on 7 June. They had received a compassionate exemption to the compulsory 14-day isolation period for returning travellers in order to visit a dying relative 650km away in Wellington. “We have systems in place that we expect to be followed and they simply weren’t.” Gallery: How countries are edging out of Covid-19 lockdown (Photo Services) Even as the world continues to battle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, several countries, where the daily growth of new infections has reduced, are beginning to take tentative steps to ease lockdown measures in order to allow citizens to move freely for the first time in weeks and to revive the economy. (Pictured) Spectators maintain social distancing rules as they attend an opera at the Croatian National Theatre, which opened after two months, in Zagreb, Croatia, on May 26, 2020. A drone photo shows the link roads of the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge after restrictions were eased, in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 22. People return to work after the four-day nationwide coronavirus restriction for the Eid al-Fitr holiday was lifted, in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 27. Only New Zealanders, their families, and essential workers are currently permitted to enter the country, which has no other domestic restrictions in place due to the nation’s success at quashing the spread of Covid-19. The government had earlier faced complaints that it was callous to deny people the chance to visit dying relatives. The two new cases came a week after the country celebrated being free of the coronavirus when the last remaining sufferer recovered, and the government lifted all restrictions on daily life, leaving only strict border controls in place. New Zealand’s government drew international praise for a swift and stringent lockdown that appeared to have quashed the virus, with fewer than 1,500 confirmed cases and 22 deaths since it arrived on New Zealand’s shores. “These two new cases illustrate very vividly how quickly rules and guidelines can unravel when they collide with real life,” said Amanada Kvalsvig, a public health scholar at the University of Otago, Wellington. The health ministry did not respond to written questions from the Guardian about whether officials planned to recall others for testing, or how many returning travellers might not have been swabbed before they left isolation. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the country’s top health official, on Tuesday sought to minimise concerns that the women might have caused community transmission, saying he was “not nervous” given they had “done everything right”.