The Australian couple self-isolating in Wellington say it has been "absolutely heartbreaking" to see friends and colleagues attacked on social media.

A statement from Andre Reynaud, the first confirmed Covid-19 case in Wellington,
and his wife Jane has been posted on the Ann Roberts School of Dance Facebook page.

It states Reynaud voluntarily undertook the test in Australia after travelling abroad.

Townsville man Andre Reynaud was confirmed as New Zealand's seventh coronavirus case, the first to be based outside of Auckland.
Townsville man Andre Reynaud was confirmed as New Zealand's seventh coronavirus case, the first to be based outside of Auckland.

He had travelled to France for the funeral of a close family member and then returned to Townsville on March 12.


"While away Andre had read recommendations from authorities advising that it was possible to voluntarily report for virus testing following international travel and he did so almost immediately," the statement reads.

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"Given that he was completely asymptomatic he had no expectation that the result would be positive."

Reynaud flew from Brisbane to Wellington on Air NZ flight 828, before heading to his hotel room, for a long planned trip to visit the couple's son.

"Not long after arriving in New Zealand, we received the news that Andre had tested positive to Covid19," the statement reads.

"Immediately we returned to our hotel, quarantined ourselves and contacted local health authorities.

"Our decision to travel to New Zealand was made with the best of intentions and with the best information available in Australia or New Zealand before we departed."

The mandatory 14-day isolation period for all international arrivals in New Zealand and Australia came into effect later that weekend.


Had these restrictions been in place, or if Reynaud had any idea that he was infected, the couple say they would not have travelled.

"The simple truth of our situation is that if Andre had not voluntarily reported for testing, we would never had known he even had the virus. Him taking extra care has reduced the risk of community transmission despite the unwanted attention and abuse it has brought us and our staff.

"We cannot adequately express our sadness and regret for the concern this has caused. With the benefit of hindsight we would be quarantined in Townsville instead of being far away from family and friends.

"We deeply appreciate the many calls and messages of support we have received, and are immensely grateful to our staff and our dance family for their support and understanding.

"The advice and care we have received from health professionals in Australia and New Zealand has been exceptional.

"Some of our staff and friends have been vilely attacked on social media for defending us. They have done nothing but the best they can for all, and it is absolutely heartbreaking that they are being targeted. They are blameless.

"The greatest risks for most people in this pandemic are panic and misinformation. We are living the reality and will come through. If we could ask one thing of people in the community we love and call 'home' it is that they take rational steps to protect themselves and those they love."

The hotel where Reynaud was staying confirmed the Ministry of Health had decided to move him.

Reynaud's daughter has also spoken out saying she's worried about her father's mental health.

She said her family is finding the backlash difficult and maintains her father did "everything right".

"As you can imagine, this has been a really hard time for our family - especially my father. I am worried for his mental health," she told Newshub.

"I think a very interesting comment should be made about the repercussions of this naming and shaming - it was inevitable it was going to spread, and unfortunately we have been caught up in the early reported cases."

She said he was just looking forward to visiting his son.

Speaking to the Herald earlier Reynaud said he had no symptoms at the time of testing and strongly believes he did everything right.

"I went to meet my son for breakfast at a nearby cafe when I got a call from my doctor confirming I tested positive.

"From there I went straight back to my hotel room and got in contact with health authorities.

"I wouldn't have come [to New Zealand] if I knew I was positive."

QT Wellington confirmed it had a guest who tested positive for Covid-19 and the Ministry of Health removed him from the hotel yesterday.

The room would remain double locked until the Ministry advised the hotel on proper cleaning protocols.

Hotel operations EVENT NZ general manager Simon White said they were advised by the Ministry that the risk to anyone staying or working in the hotel was extremely low and there was no need to evacuate anyone from the hotel.

"However guests on the same floor were notified within a few hours and offered alternative accommodation within the hotel.

"No staff had contact with the guest in question and one staff member had a brief interaction on check-in with his wife between 1am and 2am. We have been proactive and that staff member has not returned to work and will remain at home in self-isolation for the 14 day period."

Following Reynaud's visit to Milk Crate Cafe, the cafe released a statement on Facebook informing customers they were temporarily closed.

"We at Milk Crate are taking the COVID-19 situation extremely," they wrote.

"Health officials have assured us that the risk of the virus spreading on this occasion is very low, and we've been given the all-clear to continue trading from the Wellington Regional DHB, but we feel we have a duty of care to our staff and our community and have elected to shut and take extra precautions.

"If you were in the café on Saturday between the hours of 11am and 11.30am and believe you may have had close and prolonged contact with the man, we strongly encourage you to phone Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

"We are doing all we can to manage this complex situation proactively and ask that you be patient. Your support has kept this café going for 15 years, and we thank you for your custom and understanding.

"We will reopen only when we are absolutely certain it is safe to do so and look forward to seeing you then."

We at Milk Crate are taking the COVID-19 situation extremely seriously and were informed that the man with coronavirus...

Posted by Milk Crate on Sunday, 15 March 2020