Covid-19 will spread to the community because airport, hotel and health workers are not given adequate PPE, warns one man who is currently in a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility.
Aucklander Adam Borich is staying at Christchurch's Chateau on the Park hotel, having flown from the United States on January 7.
The 39-year-old owns five pizza restaurants in Los Angeles and says he’s returned for a few months to see family and “have a break from the craziness” in America.
“It's not a nice place to be right now,” he said.
Borich has lived in the US since 2007 and employs 60 staff, one of whom lost their 19-year-old nephew to the virus last week.
“I don't think people here really understand what it's been like.”
Although New Zealand's Covid-19 defence systems are working well, it fails the basics like issuing face shields to nurses, when they carryout “Day Zero” tests to people who have returned from countries where Covid-19 is prevalent, he said.
“I guarantee, if the virus has not already spread to the community, it will any day now,” he said.
“It’s utterly appalling the lack of proper PPE the staff are being given.”
On the Air New Zealand flight from LAX he said face masks were “strongly encouraged”, but not mandatory.
And at Auckland Airport, staff wore surgical masks, not the more protective N95 masks.
“At the airport, you have to pull your face mask down to show them who you are, at least that person should have been wearing N95.”
Upon arrival at Chateau on the Park MIQ facility, none of the hotel staff or nurses wore N95 masks either, he said.
“We weren't allowed to leave our room for the first two-and-a-half-days, until we got our negative test, which they do on the first day,” he said.
“The nurses come around, and do the test in the doorway. They are just wearing regular surgical masks, they should be wearing a face shield, the full PPE.
“That was Day Zero, they should consider everyone infectious at that point.”
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On Friday, a Christchurch MIQ worker and his colleagues also told Stuff a Covid-19 outbreak could happen at any time as the measures in place to prevent more contagious strains getting into the community are inadequate.
Peter Melling also contacted Stuff having recently completed a stay in an MIQ facility.
The only airport staff he saw wearing N95 masks worked in Customs and Immigration, he said.
“Everybody else was wearing the inferior surgical masks where they should have been wearing full-fitted N95 masks.”
“Covid is not the flu, but the NZ bureaucrats still seem to be stuck acting like it is and ignoring all the recent evidence that is available.”
A Managed Isolation and Quarantine spokesman said: “We are confident that our staff are adhering to these strict infection prevention control rules.”
“Non-healthcare staff are expected to maintain two-metre physical distancing and have the ability to move away or ask the guest to move back when undertaking reception tasks.”
Surgical masks, combined with physical distancing of two metres, are appropriate for the role of check-in staff, he said.
“When carrying out swab tests, on-site nurses wear specially fitted N95 masks and eye protection of either a face shield or glasses, both are appropriate.
“Gloves are worn by healthcare staff collecting swabs. In all healthcare activities within MIQ facilities, hand hygiene in addition to glove use is a key activity for preventing the spread of the virus.”