Members of the Pacific community are being urged to get tested for Covid-19 if they have symptoms regardless of immigration status.
Minister for Ethnic Affairs Jenny Salesa is affirming what has already been said by the Health Minister and Immigration NZ that no one will be punished on visa issues for coming to get tested.
"I want to stress that no information collected through testing will be used for immigration purposes. We don't want people to be afraid of getting a test and would strongly encourage people, especially in our Pacific communities who are at the centre of the Auckland outbreak, to get tested if they are asked, or if they are in a group at greater risk," Salesa said.
"Regardless of personal circumstances no one will be punished or get into trouble for any visa or immigration issues as a result of coming in for a test."
She gave the assurance that contact details collected at the testing centres were meant to confirm results and no information will be passed on to immigration authorities or other agencies.
Responding to recent calls for deportations to be suspended during the pandemic, Salesa said INZ was managing deportation cases under current legislation and taking "a reasonable approach to compliance action".
"Current deportations are not linked to Covid testing," she said.
"The current focus is on managing ongoing priority deportation cases on a case-by-case basis, taking into account each individual's circumstances, international border closures, transit options, and the availability of flights."
Salesa said the sole concern was identifying and containing the spread of the virus.
"New Zealand's Pacific community has so far led the way in testing participation and results – with the highest rates of participation and lowest rates of infection in the country," she said.
"We need to do everything we can to keep it that way."
There are estimated to be more than 10,000 overstayers in the country, most of them from the Pacific Island nations.
The Government has made several changes to policy including extensions to visa deadlines and introducing a new two-month Covid-19 visitor visa to ensure people stranded in NZ because of the pandemic could remain here lawfully.
"It is imperative that anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 contacts Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or their doctor immediately," Salesa said.
"People unlawfully in New Zealand should seek medical advice if they are unwell. Their treatment will be carried out in complete confidence."
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Meanwhile, health officials revealed details yesterday of a Covid-positive person who visited the Les Mills gym in Takapuna and the Countdown supermarket and The Warehouse at Milford. They did not know they had Covid.
Auckland Regional Public Health is warning anyone who visited the gym in Takapuna on September 9 and 10 and attended certain Body Combat and Sprint classes is now being treated as a close contact. They should stay at home and also contact Healthline as soon as possible.
The classes included the Wednesday, September 9, 5.30pm RPM Sprint class and 6.15pm Body Combat class, and the Thursday, September 10, 9.15am Body Combat class.
Others at the gym at the same time but not in those classes are casual contacts and are being asked to get tested.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce at 1pm today on whether the current alert level restrictions will change.
Auckland is currently at level 2.5 while the rest of the country is at level 2.