New Zealand Health Minister Reprimanded Over Repeat Breach Of Coronavirus Quarantine

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New Zealand Health Minister Reprimanded Over Repeat Breach of Coronavirus Quarantine

New Zealand Health Minister David Clark has been demoted from his position after admitting to breaching lockdown rules on two occasions, the official portal of the New Zealand government reported on Tuesday

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 07th April, 2020) New Zealand Health Minister David Clark has been demoted from his position after admitting to breaching lockdown rules on two occasions, the official portal of the New Zealand government reported on Tuesday.

The health minister called himself "an idiot" after local media revealed that he drove his family 20 kilometers to a beach and separately went on a bicycle ride in a nearby park while a nationwide stay-at-home order was in effect.

"At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices I've let the team down. I've been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me," Clark said in a statement posted on the website.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she stripped Clark of associate responsibilities in the finance ministry and demoted him to the bottom of the cabinet rankings, but stopped short of firing him due to the extraordinary circumstances at hand.

"Under normal circumstances, I would sack the minister. What he did was wrong and there are no excuses. But my priority above all else is our collective fight against COVID-19," Ardern said in a televised briefing.

The nationwide quarantine was imposed in New Zealand on March 26 as part of a state of emergency declaration and a ban on all foreign entrants to the country.

As of Tuesday, New Zealand counts 1,160 coronavirus cases in the country, with 54 new cases confirmed over the past 24 hours. One person has died due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the outbreak.

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