Wellington Scoop

Harbour pilot’s family worried about risk of covid-19 exposure

Report from RNZ
The family of an essential worker on Wellington harbour are worried he will bring Covid-19 home, and they are calling for more information about how to keep their bubble safe.

Maria Sainsbury said her husband is a harbour pilot in Wellington, where he must board foreign vessels and deal with the crew. She said he works away for five day stints and returns home for four days.

“They have not been considered – they have just told them that they must work because you are an essential worker,” she said.

“Well okay, well how does that framework work around me? What are the risks to me and to my family? I am an asthmatic but I also have an auto-immune condition that could put me more at risk if he does get it.”

Sainsbury said the government needed to release more guidelines for families in her position.

In the meantime, they are taking extra safety precautions when he is home.

“We have decided we will sleep in separate bedrooms, that we will use separate bathrooms and that we will keep a good distance between us.

“We are having to practice our distancing in our family bubble so in actual fact we are undertaking to be separate isolation for four weeks, because we have got no way of knowing if he has been exposed to it at all.”

Sainsbury has emailed the Ministry of Health and requested more guidelines.

In a statement, the Ministry said it understands the concerns of essential workers and their families and work is underway to provide them answers and advice.

“An All of Government team is providing advice and information to all New Zealanders on COVID-19 – including information for essential workers relating to health, business and financial support,” a spokesperson said. “The team is working hard to update its website and respond to a huge volume of queries.”

It said the team is working to update Ministry advice and respond to people’s concerns, including those raised in Maria Sainsbury’s email.

Advice for what essential workers can do to keep safe at work is available on the [https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/essential-businesses/

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