Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 12 July 2020

Thieves who stole Auckland virus-testing tent now at risk

Police urged them to return to the site to be tested for the coronavirus

Lockdown measures are expected to remain in place for around four weeks in New Zealand, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warning there will be zero tolerance for people ignoring the restrictions. Getty
Lockdown measures are expected to remain in place for around four weeks in New Zealand, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warning there will be zero tolerance for people ignoring the restrictions. Getty

Hapless thieves who stole a Covid-19 testing tent in New Zealand have put themselves at risk of contracting the disease and should be tested, police said.

The tent was taken from outside an Auckland hospital where it had been set up to test Kiwis for the coronavirus, police sergeant Brett Meale said in a video posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

East Health Trust chief Loretta Hansen said staff discovered the tent was missing when they arrived early on Tuesday morning for work.

“Some fool, idiot, came and stole our tent – our Covid-19 testing tent,” she said in the video.

“They chopped it off at the ground level. It was bolted in by concrete, and they just chopped it off.”

Counties Manukau police Sergeant Brett Meale appealed for the thieves to return the tent and submit themselves to testing for the virus, which is thought to survive on surfaces for several days.

"If you have got that tent, or you know where it is, we're quite happy if you could just let us know anonymously where we can pick it up from. You might save yourself a bit of trouble," Mr Meale said.

"But if you have been in contact with that tent, I'd suggest you get yourself along here and get yourself tested for Covid-19."

Ms Hansen said clinic staff had to "race round" to replace the tent, which they managed to do.

"We're back up and running. We certainly don't want to be out of action," she said.

New Zealand has confirmed almost 650 cases of coronavirus and one death.

Updated: April 1, 2020 02:55 PM

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