Prime Minister's Address to the Nation: COVID-19 Testing Results

15 February 2022

Released 3pm

A short time ago Prime Minister Mark Brown addressed the nation for the second time in 3 days, what follows is his address.

Kia orana tatou katoatoa,

As promised, I will be providing regular updates on our situation since our first case of COVID was identified on Sunday afternoon.

There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes, and as many of you have seen a lot of testing has been happening and is still taking place.

Firstly, I would like to offer a personal thank you to the person who came forward and got tested on Sunday after finding out they were a close contact of family members who had tested positive in New Zealand.

Despite having no symptoms, you did the right thing and came in and got tested – and by doing that you have probably significantly reduced the spread of the virus. So, thank you for doing the right thing and making a difference.

Now, to our latest test results:

  • On Sunday we carried out 90 swab tests for Covid-19 with all coming back negative except for our one positive case.
  • On Monday, another 424 tests were carried out, with all 424 returning a negative result.
  • Now there are people saying that we have more cases because more people are being isolated.  That is not so. 
  • To clarify for us all, there were 14 identified close contacts of the positive case, these are people that had direct interaction with our positive case.  These close contacts have been formally quarantined for 10 days and will be tested on day 1 day 3 and day 9. 
  • So far all have been tested and all have come back negative so far, including the two people travelling and staying with the positive case. 

So, if you do have a quarantine case in your village, this is us being careful and keeping everyone safe.  This does not mean another positive case.

Earlier this morning, we have carried out a further 67 tests – and due to the long queues at our Terevete Park testing station, we have started directing some of those who are asymptomatic – the people who have no symptoms – to the testing station at the airport instead.

I need to stress here the importance of staying home until you get your test results back – it may take more than 48 hours, but you MUST isolate at home until you are contacted by TMO with your results and given the all-clear.

If your test result does take more than a day to get back to you and you require a letter for your employer explaining your absence from work, let TMO know, and they will provide one for you. Under our current circumstances, I also expect that employers will be understanding in ensuring workers stay home until results are in.

Our testing regime will continue throughout this week, with the Terevete Park testing station open from 9am to 4pm and the Arataki testing site at the airport open from 10am to 2pm. We will also be providing public updates on our test numbers and results on at least a daily basis from now on.

What happens if I test positive? 

For those of you who do test positive – and it is to be expected that we will see further positive cases – you will be notified by your local health clinic and informed that you are subject to an Isolation Order which will last for a period of 10 days.

Your local health clinic staff will then conduct a case investigation assessment to help them build a picture of your movements, and when you may have been infectious whilst in the community.

Your health clinic will provide you with an isolation pack which contains:

  • A pulse oximeter, which estimates the amount of oxygen in your blood
  • A thermometer
  • A symptom diary
  • Paracetamol; and
  • And an information booklet on what to expect over the course of your 10-day isolation period.

Our Ministry of Internal Affairs will also be contacted and alerted of a positive case so as to provide a welfare pack to assist you during your isolation period.

Your local health clinic will initially contact you daily for the first 2-3 days to see how you are doing and what your self-assessments are like. If they are stable and/or improving, they will not contact you until the end of your isolation period for a final assessment.

If your symptoms get worse during this time, your health clinic will provide additional health support.

At the end of your isolation period, your health clinic will contact you and ask about your symptom diary. If all or the majority of your symptoms have improved, they will inform you that your isolation period has officially ended, and you are free from isolation.

What happens if I am a close contact? 

For those who are identified as close contacts of a positive case, you will be notified by our Health Intelligence Unit and asked to remain in your home or accommodation.

TMO will then send a health official to conduct a PCR test, issue you with a formal quarantine order and place a yellow flag at your property boundary.

Under this order you are required to remain in quarantine for 10 days and undergo 3 PCR tests on days one, five and nine of your quarantine period.

Should you develop any symptoms in between these testing days, it is important that you contact your nearest health clinic and inform them so that additional testing can be carried out.

Should this test or any other scheduled test return positive, you will be required to undertake 10 days of isolation – this is in addition to however many days you may have already spent in quarantine.

Under quarantine orders you are permitted to walk and/or exercise within the boundaries of your property. You are not confined to your physical home during this time but must remain within your property boundary.

The Puna support team will assist with your shopping needs and other support required during your isolation.

At the end of your 10-day quarantine period you will be informed by a health official that you may be freed from isolation. 

It is highly likely that we will be seeing more positive cases over the next few days and weeks, and I want us all to be prepared for what lies ahead.

And for those of you who have changed your mind and want to get vaccinated, or those that want to receive their booster shot, vaccinations will once again be available this weekend – just go to the Nikao Social Centre between 8am and 6pm on either Saturday or Sunday and our TMO staff there will guide you through the process.

I urge all of you who have not yet been vaccinated to seriously consider it, as vaccination really is one of our very best protections against this virus.


May God bless us all.

Kia orana e kia manuia.