At least eight Tongan workers working at Seeka, Ōpōtiki in the eastern Bay of Plenty have tested positive for Covid-19.
They were part of Ōpōtiki’s 12 new Covid-19 cases yesterday bringing the total active cases to 31, reported Rotorua Daily Post.
It said “an Ōpōtiki-based Seeka worker from Tonga, based in Ōpōtiki, tested positive for Covid-19 at Whakatāne Hospital over the weekend”.
“Seeka chief executive Michael Franks said yesterday that seven more of the Tongan workers who are all close contacts with the worker have now tested positive”.
He said that the worker had felt unwell overnight on Saturday and was taken to Whakatāne Hospital.
Franks said all of the Tongan Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme workers in Ōpōtiki had gone into isolation and crews that had been in recent contact with the worker had been stood down, the online newspaper said.
More than 30 Tongans arrived in New Zealand on February 1 to join the Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) Scheme.
Their arrival came few days after Tonga announced a nationwide scheduled lockdown on February 2 after port workers tested positive for Covid-19.
Franks reportedly said “Tongan crew had arrived in New Zealand, he said they had not brought the virus into the country but they had contracted it here in the community and they all had current vaccinations”.
“He said some of them had been travelling around other orchards and in that case, they had shut those down too.
“We just want to do the right thing and take care of our community,” he said.