Jacinda Ardern asks Kiwis not to 'attack' or 'blame' Northland woman with COVID-19

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is calling for Kiwis to treat the Northland woman who recently tested positive for COVID-19 with kindness.

The 56-year-old woman returned to New Zealand from overseas and spent two weeks at Auckland's Pullman Hotel MIQ facility where she tested negative for the virus twice.

She left the hotel on January 13 and tested positive around a week later, the Ministry of Health revealed.

In a Facebook live video on Sunday night, Ardern told her followers it was yet to be determined where the woman had been infected but the information should be known in about 24 hours.

She also asked Kiwis to be kind to the woman and others who may be infected.

"This happens almost every time we have a COVID case - sometimes there is a tendency to blame," Ardern said. 

"The message I want to share here is the most important thing for us is that people when they are unwell they continue to get tested. 

"People are less likely to do that if they feel like they will be attacked if they happen to test positive. So we really need people not to pile in on anyone if they do the right thing by having a COVID test."

She said it was important Kiwis felt safe to come forward and get tested to ensure all cases of COVID-19 are identified.

"It's so important that we just keep that kindness. Treat people the way we would like to be treated if we were in that circumstance. Imagine if your family member tested positive, just imagine how you would like them to be treated. It's really such an important message to share."

In the week between leaving the MIQ facility and testing positive, the Northland woman visited several cafes, shops and galleries, all of which she documented using the COVID Tracer App.

Since then most of those places have been notified and contact tracing is underway.

Two of her four close contacts have already returned negative COVID-19 tests.

Ardern told followers it showed the importance of scanning QR codes and she warned keeping Bluetooth on on phones isn't enough.

"One of the things I have heard from people is that they think if they have their Bluetooth on and their COVID app then they don't need to scan. Unfortunately, that's not the case," she said.

"We need you to scan everywhere you go. The Bluetooth element just tells us if you have been in close contact with someone else who might, in the future, test positive and that allows us to identify people who might have been in close proximity. It doesn't tell us where you've been. So please scan wherever you go.

"The fantastic thing is we have someone here who has. So we are reaching out to all of those venues that we need to and all of the people who've scanned into those venues."