September 10, 2020
Protection better than prayer to stop COVID spread
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the COVID 19 elimination strategy relies on following the rules – but some church congregations aren’t complying.
Health authorities are trying to contain a break out of cases associated with the Mount Roskill Evangelical Fellowship, which is a sub-cluster of the South Auckland cluster.
There are now multiple cases from the church, including some associated with a member who visited a bereaved family’s home while waiting for the result of a test which proved positive.
Ms Ardern says the vast majority of churches have worked hard to look after their parishioners.
"We have unfortunately had a situation where there have been some who have continued to have gatherings and that has caused problems, so it highlights how important it is we follow those guidelines. They are there for a reason," she says.
There were four new cases of COVID-19 reported today.
Two were border cases in managed isolation and two were community cases linked to the Mt Roskill sub-cluster.
Health Minister Chris Hipkins says repeated, deliberate and malicious spread of misinformation about COVID-19 was threatening to block a move to level 1.
He says Pasifika and Māori public health officials were supporting the Mt Roskill mini-cluster and on the whole there was good cooperation.
Mr Hipkins ruled out penalties for those who had broken lockdown rules, saying it was more important to support people's cooperation rather than take a punitive approach.
But he didn’t rule out considering criminal sanctions for people spreading misinformation.
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