All confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand will now be sent to mandatory quarantine facilities under the direction of the Health Minister.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield made the decision yesterday after revealing there were 13 new cases of coronavirus linked to an outbreak in south Auckland.
The order relies on Section 70 of the Health Act 1956 which allows health authorities to “require persons, places, buildings, ships, vehicles, aircraft, animals, or things to be isolated, quarantined, or disinfected as he thinks fit.”
Dr Bloomfield said mandatory quarantine will apply to both new cases, and if necessary, close family members who might be at risk. The facilities are said to have more stringent security and more health staff than regular managed isolation hotels.
New Zealand now has Quarantine Camps: "mandatory quarantine will apply to both new cases and, if necessary, close family members who might be at risk" with forced removal from your home if you do not comply pic.twitter.com/2QXspIZuqW— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) August 13, 2020
Under Section 71A of the Health Act, power is granted to constables to “assist medical officers in relation to infectious diseases.” Under Sub-Section 1, a constable “may do any thing reasonably necessary (including the use of force) to help a medical officer in the exercise or performance of powers under Section 70.”
Under Sub-Section 2, authorities may enter and inspect any private property without incurring any personal liability provided they have acted in good faith.
According to Newshub, Auckland’s level 3 lockdown is scheduled to end at midnight on Friday, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has not ruled out extending it further if required.