'No link': MBIE shuts down rumour blaming Auckland's COVID-19 outbreak on girl breaching quarantine to visit man deported from Australia

'No link': MBIE shuts down rumour blaming Auckland's COVID-19 outbreak on girl breaching quarantine to visit man deported from Australia

A harmful rumour widely circulating on social media claiming the resurgence of COVID-19 in Auckland is due to a young woman infiltrating a quarantine facility is false, MBIE says. 

The statement, seen posted and reshared on Facebook and Instagram, contains a number of irresponsible and damaging claims, alleging a member of the family in south Auckland who has tested positive had visited a man recently deported from Australia who had the virus. 

The mistruths have been debunked by the MBIE who told Newshub on Saturday the rumours circulating on social media around managed isolation and quarantine facilities are false. 

"There is no evidence of an incursion into a managed isolation facility that has had contact with a returnee, other than those that were publicly reported at the time," a managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson told Newshub. 

"No deportees who have returned from Australia to managed isolation have tested positive since Australia resumed their deportations." 

Ministry of Health reports daily on cases at the border and a daily fact sheet is posted online on managed isolation and quarantine facilities. 

"None of these publicly available reports contain the circumstances contained in the rumours," the spokesperson said. 

"In addition, there has been no link established between the community outbreak and any managed isolation facility at this point." 

The misinformation, seen posted on Facebook page, states "we can report that the outbreak in Auckland is being investigated by both the Police and the Department of Corrections." 

"We have been informed that the 20 something daughter of the South Auckland family concerned, visited her boyfriend (or associate) who was in quarantine having recently been deported from Australia for criminal behaviour. 

"The boyfriend has Covid-19 and has passed this onto the daughter via their meeting which is believed to have taken place at an Auckland quarantine site." 

A police spokesperson told Newshub police are not aware of any isolation breach involving the family, or family members.

Contrary to the statement, police said they are not investigating but are aware of the rumour.

The statement goes on to make bizarre claims about how the family had the means to travel to Rotorua. 

It then makes a false accusation, alleging "media is aware of the story, yet has been asked not to report it in order to stem public anger". 

As soon as Newshub was made aware of the posts, immediate efforts were made to investigate its validity, seeking comment from MBIE, the COVID-19 response team and police. 

Since the post was posted on Friday, it has been shared almost 5000 times, garnering 2300 comments as of Saturday 6pm. 

On Thursday, Ardern hit back at pot-stirrers who have taken to social media to drip-feed rumours amid a time of escalating fear and uncertainty. 

This latest speculation comes among a number of conspiracy theories doing the rounds on Facebook.

At a time where people are desperate for answers, it appears Kiwis are taking undue heed.

Ardern urged those who are wary of politicians - following calls by leading health experts for MPs to resist using COVID-19 for scaremongering and politicking - to instead listen to independent voices.

"If you're someone who views politicians suspiciously, then please by all means listen to the independent doctors, scientists - those who are our source of advice that we lean on," she said. 

In relation to another unverified post shared on social media, a Managed Isolation and Quarantine spokesperson told Newshub on Thursday security at all managed isolation facilities are reviewed regularly. 

"Returnees are reminded regularly of their personal responsibilities around keeping themselves and those around them safe from Covid-19.

"Our facilities and the staff working in them are the frontline of our defence of COVID-19, and since March 26 more than 37,800 people have been through and safely returned to their families and communities."