A week to identify close contacts is too long

Sun, 30 Jan, 2022

“Once again the Government has been caught taking a nap as it takes seven long days to identify close contacts of Omicron,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Jacinda should use her time in isolation to ask herself if her policy of contact tracing and isolation is not actually a costly but ineffective charade.

“Jacinda was a close contact of an Omicron case a week before it was made public. She was a close contact on Saturday 22nd and the public was informed on Saturday a week later.

“She was seen out for a casual lunch on Friday on Lambton Quay and went about her usual business for a whole week after she’d been a close contact.

“Meanwhile, thousands of young people who attended Soundsplash had the same experience.

“One parent of a Soundsplash attendee said:

'My son got home from Soundsplash last Sunday. On Monday he heard people were reporting Covid cases. He thought it would be a good idea to get a test, so he phoned Healthline and told them he’d been to Soundsplash and would like a test. They said they wouldn’t test him unless he had symptoms. On Thursday, as more and more people were testing positive, he decided to turn up for a test anyway. He’s still waiting for the result. And today, a full week after attendees left the venue, the MoH says everyone who was there must get tested. You couldn’t script this incompetence.'

“We’ve had months to prepare for this but the Government took a summer holiday and has been napping.

“This experience should be a turning point for Jacinda’s approach to COVID. She might ask herself ‘why am I isolating when contact tracing is too slow for it to be effective, maybe we should stop forcing otherwise healthy people to isolate if it makes no difference? How many other people am I willing to put through this?

“If contact tracing and isolation is a costly charade with little effect on spread, the most honest option is to abandon it.”