NEWS

Quarantine Slipup: Couple Released By Doctor 6 Days Short Of Mandatory Quarantine Period

The couple had spent two-and-a-half months in Auckland to visit their son. They arrived in Nadi on May 13, 2020. A total of 67 passengers were on the flight. The couple were tested for COVID-19 on May 20. They did not get their test results when they left the quarantine facility prematurely.
09 Jul 2020 10:32
Quarantine Slipup: Couple Released By Doctor 6 Days Short Of Mandatory Quarantine Period
Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A couple who arrived here on a repatriation flight from Auckland, New Zealand, did not complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

They were released by the doctor in charge at the Government-funded quarantine facility at the Novotel Hotel, Nadi, six days short of the mandatory quarantine period.

The couple had spent two-and-a-half months in Auckland to visit their son. They arrived in Nadi on May 13, 2020. A total of 67 passengers were on the flight. The couple were tested for COVID-19 on May 20. They did not get their test results when they left the quarantine facility prematurely.

“We were supposed to stay at the Novotel Nadi for 14 days, but I requested a doctor there and the army officer that I had a disabled son at home, and that’s why we rushed from New Zealand. They gave the approval,” the man said.

There was already misinformation on social media since Monday that the couple had left the quarantine facility only two days upon their arrival.

The Fiji Sun has chosen not to reveal the identification of the couple, to protect them from social media victimisation.

While in New Zealand, their 47-year-old physically challenged son was being looked after by relatives.

“We were quarantined at Novotel Nadi for eight days, then they released us to do 20 days here at home – so altogether that was 28 days.”

Certificate of the Completion of Home Quarantine for the couple. Photo: Salote Qalubau

Certificate of the Completion of Home Quarantine for the couple. Photo: Salote Qalubau

He said they were given conditions to follow while under home quarantine. Medical staff visited daily to check on them and to see if their son was really physically challenged.

They received their certificate of Completion of Home Quarantine on June 10, 2020.

Earlier yesterday, Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete was adamant that all quarantined people had completed their 14 days.

Later, when queried about the couple who broke quarantine protocol, Dr Waqainabete sought more information from the Fiji Sun.

Last night, Dr Waqainabete said: “I can’t give you any specifics of the eight days case, but from what I understand is that everyone in the quarantine facility had been tested and all were negative.”

Two passengers who also travelled on the same Fiji Airways FJ1412 flight and were also quarantined at Novotel Nadi said they saw the couple getting picked up by family members at night before the 14 days mandatory quarantine was over.

They said it was unfair that some got special treatment over others or being granted a compassionate exemption.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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