A traveller from the United States went to a gathering with 40 people a day after she arrived in Auckland and before she was tested for Covid-19, attendees claim.

The woman, who arrived from the United States on Saturday, was only tested on Monday, a day after attending her father's wake in Auckland, according to a person at the event. It is not known whether she has received a result or what the result is.

The Herald put questions to the Ministry of Health last night about what testing the woman received, but is yet to receive a response.

Mourners at the wake in Auckland expressed surprise that a person who stepped off the plane from a Covid-19 hotspot just a day earlier was able to attend the event. They have not been contacted by authorities or told of any risk.

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It comes after the Government dramatically suspended all compassionate leave last night in response to two women testing positive for Covid-19. The two women had been granted approval to attend a funeral in Wellington, but were not being tested before they left isolation.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has described the lapse as an "unacceptable failure".

The US traveller, who the Herald has chosen not to name, arrived in Auckland at 5am on Saturday and went into managed isolation. The same day, her application for compassionate leave from isolation to attend the funeral was granted.

On Sunday, she left managed isolation for 2.5 hours to attend her father's wake. Her father was cremated during lockdown because it was not possible to have a funeral, and the event on Sunday was a "celebration of his life", a person who attended said.

The person said the woman wore a mask and gloves and kept her distance from the crowd.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said yesterday that no one who was still in their 14-day quarantine or managed isolation should be attending a funeral or tangi.

Until the Government announcement last night, people could only get compassionate leave to attend a small gathering of family to grieve, and this exemption was only possible after seven days of isolation and a negative test.

However, the ministry said the woman was granted compassionate leave under old rules.

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Under the old rules, exemptions were available to people in managed isolation - which meant they had shown no symptoms when they arrived at the border.

On June 9, the ministry toughened up the rules and banned anyone in quarantine or managed isolation from attending a funeral or tangi.

While the ministry said it could not comment on the specifics of the woman's case, a spokesman said people who applied for an exemption before June 9 could still be granted approval, even if it was processed after that date.

The ministry said they were granted in "extremely limited circumstances", and only to people who had provided medical evidence and detailed travel and isolation plans.

Under normal circumstances, they would also be tested before leaving isolation.

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Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said two new positive cases justified the ministry's recent ban on recent arrivals going to funerals. Photo / Kevin Stent
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said two new positive cases justified the ministry's recent ban on recent arrivals going to funerals. Photo / Kevin Stent

TIMELINE:

Before June 9: Woman in US applies for compassionate leave to attend father's wake in Auckland.

June 9: Ministry of Health bans anyone in quarantine or managed isolation from attending a funeral or tangi. People can still get compassionate leave to attend a small gathering, but only after seven days in isolation and after a negative test.

June 13: Woman arrives in Auckland. She is granted compassionate leave to attend wake.

June 14: She attends wake with 40 people, wearing mask and gloves and keeping a distance.

June 15: She is tested for Covid-19. The result is not known.

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June 16: Government halts all compassionate leave.