Coronavirus: Person with COVID-19 symptoms in Hamilton puts court into lockdown

Hamilton District Court.
Hamilton District Court. Photo credit: File

A border worker showing COVID-19 symptoms who put Hamilton District Court into lockdown for a brief time on Wednesday has reportedly tested negative.

The Ministry of Health said the woman was awaiting the results of a routine test for the virus, but showed up to court anyway.

The court was locked down from 10am until about 11:30am as a precaution. 

"The Ministry of Justice is following Ministry of Health guidelines to protect the health and safety of all court participants and staff," said Maeve Neilson, acting deputy secretary corporate and digital services.

"We have also developed a protocol to deal with anyone displaying symptoms of or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any of our buildings."

People in the building at the time have supplied contact information, and the court has been closed for the rest of the day for cleaning.

"Court participants are strongly encouraged to download the NZ COVID Tracer app and scan the COVID-19 QR code using their mobile devices when they enter court buildings," said Neilson.

The Ministry of Health confirmed earlier reports the person showing symptoms was a border worker.

"This was a precautionary measure after a person who was tested for COVID-19 yesterday as part of our routine testing for border workers visited the court this morning," a Ministry of Health spokesperson said. 

"The risk to the public is deemed to be low."

The New Zealand Herald says the woman's boss said she tested negative, and the test was a routine one border staff have to undergo every 14 days - not because she was showing symptoms.

App usage dropping off

There are currently 61 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, all found in managed isolation. Six are of the new more infectious strain from the UK. 

The Ministry of Health has urged Kiwis to keep using the COVID Tracer app so any potential outbreaks can be contained without lockdowns.

"We are seeing a notable drop-off in people using the COVID Tracer App. The ministry would like to remind all New Zealanders to keep each other safe and use the COVID Tracer app to scan QR codes and turn on Bluetooth functionality," the ministry said a statement on Tuesday.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the globe we need to remain vigilant so we can continue to enjoy the conditions which we are lucky enough to be living under today."