Coronavirus: New Zealand's home isolation programme like 'building a plane as we fly it' - GP

A prominent Pasifika GP has likened New Zealand's home isolation programme to building a plane while flying it, saying doctors still haven't been funded to be involved. 

Dr Api Talemaitoga, chairperson of the Pasifika GP Network, says it is falling short because it's being put together as it goes.

"The fact is that we're building this plane as we fly it and there are a lot of pieces that need to come together," he says.

Key to that is the involvement and funding of GPs, and he says the workforce is willing to help. 

"That logistic hasn't happened, or we haven't been involved in developing that."

Already there have been three deaths of people with COVID-19 isolating at home.

"There's real risk of derailing this whole community care. If we have more deaths, people get more fearful," he says.

During the weekend, Newshub first met Ryan Kersten. His family of six have COVID and weren't happy with the support they'd received - and still aren't.

"Pretty frustrating. Records of my son have completely gone missing. They don't have a record of him," he says.

He worries about other more vulnerable families - they waited more than a week for a pulse oximeter. 

"Day 8. They had been asking for the readings during the week and I didn't know what they were talking about," Kersten says.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Andrew Little was upfront about the problems, saying "the system wasn't ready" for the rapid escalation of daily cases. He had these same feelings on Thursday.

"Systems that had been in place have struggled to keep up with the rapid escalation in daily case numbers."

Although his colleague, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, who doesn't oversee home isolation, put a different spin on things. 

"I don't necessarily accept that," he said on Thursday.

"It's certainly put them under pressure. There's no doubt about that."

National's COVID-19 response spokesperson Chris Bishop says the Government is in "complete shambles".

"You've got the Minister of Health criticising his own Ministry, the Director-General of Health saying things are working well, and the COVID Minister stuck in the middle who won't make a call either way."

He says the surge in cases and demand on home isolation was predictable. 

"They should have been ready for it. It's not new news to people who have been watching what's happened overseas."

There are 2835 people isolating at home and more than 1200 have the virus - numbers that'll only increase in the coming days.

The Ministry of Health added another death to the official COVID-19 figures on Thursday. 

Robert Hart was shot and killed outside a house in New Lynn last Friday, and since his death it's been determined he had COVID-19. 

However, police are calling his death a murder and are seeking 35-year-old Dylan James Mitchell Harris in relation to the killing. 

They say he has "significant" gang connections across the North Island and should not be approached.