British DJ apologises for flouting MIQ rules but New Zealanders are angry

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Robert Etheridge has thwarted the purpose for which he arrived

DJ Robert Etheridge aka Dimension ( Photo)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, December 30, 2021

The man who spent time in several locations including a bar, restaurant, jewellery store and other places has apologised for his indiscretion for breaking the self-isolation rules and spreading the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the community.

Please read our earlier story here.

But has angered New Zealanders. People call on talkback radio have questioned the decision of Immigration New Zealand to grant a DJ visa and MIQ allocation while thousands of genuine New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are stranded overseas. They are forced to try their ‘luck’ through the infamous MIQ Lottery system.

British DJ Robert Etheridge, also known as ‘Dimension,’ arrived in New Zealand from the United Kingdom via Doha on December 16, 2021. He spent seven days in a MIQ facility and was thereafter required to spend three days in self-isolation. Instead, he went out about on the second day of self-isolation to various locations and was then found to be Covid-19 positive. However, he is believed to have posed ‘low risk.’

New Year Eve Party in disarray

He has since then apologised but has already caused an uproar among the public and thrown the New Year Eve Party where he was supposed to perform into jeopardy.

He was due to appear at the Rhythm and Alps Festival in Wanaka but has withdrawn because he is now Omicron positive. Another British DJ ‘Friction’ and New Zealand Drum and Base due Lee Mvtthews have also withdrawn because they were close contacts.

Etheridge in Waikehe Island this week (Instagram Photos)

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins limited his angst to merely saying that he was disappointed that the British DJ did not follow the isolation rules.

He had visited several locations in Auckland on December 26 and December 27, 2021 and the locations that he visited included the Soul Bar & Restaurant, Ahi Restaurant, Sunny Town Restaurant, Partridge Jewellers, and the Impala Nightclub.

Place of interest

Fourteen people who dined at Soul Bar and Restaurant are now considered close contacts. Eight of those people remain in Auckland, while six flew to Christchurch. They have so far tested negative for the virus and are isolating. The staff at the Restaurant are also considered contacts and are asked to monitor for symptoms. There were 47 people at the Impala nightclub and all up probably around 100 contacts.

Mr Hipkins that the exact number of contacts is still being confirmed and identified but an earlier estimate placed it at 1000.

He said that Etheridge had been to Waikehe Island, had drinks with people on a beach. Those at the beach have been told to self-isolate.

The importance of compliance

Mr Hipkins said that he and his Ministry learnt through social media that Etheridge was with four people on the island, three of whom had returned negative test results so far.

There were four positive cases in MIQ at the same time as Etheridge, three of those cases had been ruled out as being linked to his infection. Genome Sequencing results of the fourth person are awaited.

“We knew Omicron would come here, but we ask people to be very careful. People may feel that they are over Covid-19 as they enjoy summer but it is clear Covid is not finished with us. Vaccine Booster will be rolled out early in January although it is already being administered in some places in Auckland,” Mr Hipkins said.

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