Director General of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has invoked Section 70 of health act to order all employees (permanent full time, part time, casual contractors) and any visitors of two business in Auckland to self-isolate themselves and not go out for work or any essential service. 

The businesses whose staff has been given this directive are a firm Americold - based in Mt Wellington suburb and Finance Now - based in Dominion road in Auckland. 

Explaining further the basis of the decision, which is indeed unprecedented, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was also present in the joint press briefing earlier this evening said that ramping up contact tracing reginme was crucial to prevent further spread of virus in the community. 

Dr Bloomfiled said that the staffs needs to remain at home till they hear from the national contact tracing team and are advised of further actions. 

What is Section 70 of health act?

Health Act (COVID-19 Alert Level 3) Order 2020: revoked, at 12.01 am on 14 May 2020, clause 24 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level 2) Order 2020 (LI 2020/84).

On 24 March 2020, the Prime Minister, with the agreement of the Minister of Health, gave a notice under section 5 of the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006. The epidemic notice allows the use of special powers by the Medical Officer of Health in accordance with section 70 of the Health Act 1956 for the purpose of preventing the outbreak or spread of COVID-19.

What are special powers of special medical officer under Section 70 of Health Act

(1) For the purpose of preventing the outbreak or spread of any infectious disease, the medical officer of health may from time to time, if authorised to do so by the Minister or if a state of emergency has been declared under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 or while an epidemic notice is in force,—

(a) declare any land, building, or thing to be insanitary, and prohibit its use for any specified purpose:
(b) cause any insanitary building to be pulled down, and the timber and other materials thereof to be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as he thinks fit:
(c) cause insanitary things to be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as he thinks fit:
(d) cause infected animals to be destroyed in such manner as he thinks fit:
(e) require persons to report themselves or submit themselves for medical examination at specified times and places:
(ea) if the spread of the disease would be a significant risk to the public, require people to report, or submit themselves for medical testing, at stated times and places:
(f) require persons, places, buildings, ships, vehicles, aircraft, animals, or things to be isolated, quarantined, or disinfected as he thinks fit:
(fa) if the spread of the disease would be a significant risk to the public, require people, places, buildings, ships, vehicles, aircraft, animals, or things to be tested as he or she thinks fit:
(g) forbid persons, ships, vehicles, aircraft, animals, or things to come or be brought to any port or place in the health district from any port or place which is or is supposed to be infected with any infectious disease:
(h) require people to remain in the health district or the place in which they are isolated or quarantined until they have been medically examined and found to be free from infectious disease, and until they have undergone such preventive treatment as he may in any such case prescribe:
(i) forbid the removal of ships, vehicles, aircraft, animals, or things from the health district, or from one port or part thereof to another, or from the place where they are isolated or quarantined, until they have been disinfected or examined and found to be free from infection:
(j) prohibit the keeping of animals or of any species of animal in any specified part of the health district:
(k) forbid the discharge of sewage, drainage, or insanitary matter of any description into any watercourse, stream, lake, or source of water supply:
(l) use or authorise any local authority to use as a temporary site for a special hospital or place of isolation any reserve or endowment suitable for the purpose, notwithstanding that such use may conflict with any trust, enactment, or condition affecting the reserve or endowment:
(la)

by written order to the person appearing to be in charge of the premises concerned, do either or both of the following:

(i) require to be closed immediately, until further order or for a fixed period, any premises within the health district (or a stated area of the district):
(ii) require to be closed immediately, until further order or for a fixed period, any premises within the health district (or a stated area of the district) in which infection control measures described in the order are not operating:
(m) by order published in a newspaper circulating in the health district or by announcement broadcast by a television channel or radio station that can be received by most households in the health district, do any of the following:
(i) require to be closed, until further order or for a fixed period, all premises within the district (or a stated area of the district) of any stated kind or description:
(ii) require to be closed, until further order or for a fixed period, all premises within the district (or a stated area of the district) of any stated kind or description in which infection control measures described in the order are not operating:
(iii) forbid people to congregate in outdoor places of amusement or recreation of any stated kind or description (whether public or private) within the district (or a stated area of the district):
(iv) forbid people to congregate in outdoor places of amusement or recreation of any stated kind or description (whether public or private) within the district (or a stated area of the district) in which infection control measures described in the order are not operating.