54 close contacts in isolation and three locations of interest identified

Drive-through testing (right) at Niue Foou hospital; passengers from first QFT flight on Monday

UPDATED: Director-General of Health Gaylene Tasmania and Chief of Police from the government’s COVID Committee were on Radio this morning to explain the situation with the five positive cases of Covid-19 from Monday’s first quarantine-free QFT flight.

Minister of Health Hon. Sauni Tongatule last night announced that after day one testing yesterday of the one hundred and eighteen passengers, five tested positive.

The five active cases and 54 close contacts are currently in self-isolation. The fifty-four close contacts include 48 passengers from the flight and 12 household contacts. They will all be tested again on day three tests on Thursday 29th June at the drive-through testing clinic at the Niue Foou hospital.

Through contact tracing and interviewing of the positive cases health officials identified three locations of interest, these are the places visited by the five positive cases since they arrived on the island.

The three locations of interest and the times the positive cases were at these locations:

  • Monday 27th June: Scenic Matavai Pool Bar from 6 – 7pm and the Scenic Matavai Restaurant from 8 – 9pm.
  • Tuesday 28th June: Peleni’s Travel at Opaahi, Alofi South from 11am – 1pm
  • Tuesday 28th June: Crazy Uga – Utuko, Alofi South from 10 – 11am

If you were at any of these places during this time, contact the Health Department and they will inform you what you have to do. This does not mean that you have to self isolate but the health officials will also be able to answer your questions and inform you of the protocols.

Gaylene Tasmania explained that the island is still in Alert level Yellow. “As it stands we do not have community transmissions and that is why we are still on Yellow Alert.

“Our main objective is to isolate these positive cases with their close contacts and we look after them. We make sure that further testing is provided for other passengers “.

DG Tasmania says that they are anticipating new cases from day three testing to be conducted tomorrow.

“We have to anticipate that we will get more new cases and we will just have to respond according to the protocols.”

BCN News is aware of concerns raised by locals that the passengers were not following the rules where they have to wear masks when they are in public places for the first three days.

Chief Timothy Wilson explains the health orders under the 1965 Public Health Act and people caught breaking the orders will face penalties.

“Those health orders tell them what they have to do to comply with being suspected cases because they are coming from a country where there is community transmission of Covid. In that Health Order, it tells them that they must wear a mask for the first three days until they return their negative test on day testing.

It also requires them to go to the hospital for the drive-through testing and to be tested on day one and day three between the hours of 9am and 12. Violations of any conditions of that health order is an offense under the Public Health Act”.

Locals are not happy, some taking to social media saying that passengers were seen in and around public places not wearing masks.

BCN News is aware of a case involving a passenger who was told by a shop attendant to wear his mask yesterday but the passenger was not complying, which led to an argument and near altercation between the two.

Chief Timothy Wilson said that if found guilty of breaching the health orders, passengers can expect to pay a fine of $50 or half a penalty unit.

He did encourage kindness during this time, referring to New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s message when the first Covid cases reached NZ, that message is for people “to be kind”.

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