Compassionate exemptions temporarily suspended

  • Hon Dr David Clark

Health Minister Dr David Clark says he has required the Director General of Health to suspend compassionate exemptions from managed isolation, in order to ensure the system is working as intended.

It will only be reinstated once the Government has confidence in the system.

“Compassionate exemptions should be rare and rigorous and it appears that this case did not include the checks that we expected to be happening. That’s not acceptable,” David Clark said.

“Our border measures are a key line of defence against COVID-19 and we must ensure they are as robust as possible.

“The Director General will be reviewing the processes around these latest two cases, noting that he has already made it a requirement that all individuals must return a negative COVID test before leaving managed isolation facilities from now on.

“I have asked the Director General to consider if there are any other measures we can put in place to strengthen our health protections at the border.

“New Zealand remains in an enviable position and the risk to the public remains very low – but as Health Minister I want to ensure we are doing all that we can to keep COVID-19 at bay.

“We have previously been challenged in the courts for our stringent approach, however to ensure COVID doesn’t easily get back into the country we need assurance our border measures are as tight as possible,” David Clark said.