Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Government to address Northland positive case rumours in 1pm statement

The Ministry of Health is set to release more information at 1pm on the mystery surrounding the Covid-positive woman who travelled through Northland recently.

It will come in the form of a statement as opposed to a press conference.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is also expected to comment on the situation from Ruatoria on the East Cape about midday.

It comes after former deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters made a bombshell statement on morning television, saying the Covid-positive woman was brought to Northland by the Mongrel Mob under false pretences.

Peters alleged the woman stayed in a hotel in central Whangārei, but when she had a Covid test and it came back positive, she fled to a marae further north, he told Newshub Nation.

When police went to arrest her at the marae, she had already left, Peters said.

When police went to arrest her at the marae, she had already left, Peters said.

The Mongrel Mob leader named by Peters says the allegations are “totally unfounded”.

Newstalk ZB’s Jack Tame says the leader told him over the phone he was in Auckland and he had not been to Northland during this outbreak. “He laughed and said he believed the allegations had been driven by a moral panic over gangs.”

The claims, along with other allegations about the woman, have been widely circulated on social media, text and email but have not been confirmed by officials or the Government.

The Ministry of Health has not commented on the claims and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told a hastily arranged press conference last night that he did not have information to suggest the woman was connected to a gang.

A reporter at the press conference said they had been told the woman is a sex worker but Hipkins said he could not confirm that – he had not been briefed that was the case.

Peters told Newshub Nation he was absolutely certain of his sources and claimed health authorities and Ardern knew days ago who the person travelled with.

The Herald has been attempting to confirm speculation about the case, before Peters’ appearance on television.

Police have referred all inquiries to the Ministry of Health this morning. “For privacy reasons, wherever possible, the Ministry of Health doesn’t comment on individuals,” a Ministry of Health spokesman said.

Hipkins revealed yesterday that the woman – who had returned a weak positive test result in Northland – had again tested positive for the virus in Auckland.

The woman is believed to have travelled around Northland including to Whangārei, Kamo, Paihia and Kawakawa, before returning to Auckland.

However, locations of interest are limited to two service stations as the woman had been “unco-operative” with authorities in determining her movements in the region, according to Hipkins.

The two service stations are BP Connect Wylies in Woodhill (Saturday, October 2 – 11.20pm-12.20am) and Z Kensington (Monday, October 4 – 3.45pm-4.45pm).

It was also understood the Uretiti Beach DoC campsite south of Whangārei was another location of interest. This hadn’t been confirmed by Northland DHB or Ministry of Health yet.

In response the Tai Tokerau Border Control group had established a checkpoint north of Whangārei at Waiomio and was turning away anyone not travelling for essential purposes.

There were suggestions another checkpoint would be erected near Kaeo, in the Whangaroa area. Mobile units may also be employed to restrict movement in the Far North.

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