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'Made to feel like criminals': Couple quarantined by police speaks out

Newshub logoNewshub 26/03/2020 Michael Morrah
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A couple quarantined in a hotel by police say they've been given no information about what's going on and they've been "made to feel like criminals". 

Police say they are taking people to hotels if they arrive back from overseas with COVID-19 symptoms and have no self-isolation plan. 

Quarantined traveller Janice Kawau and her husband flew into New Zealand from San Francisco on Thursday morning, but they were met with tough new emergency rules which effectively allows authorities to detain people.

"We were given our room key and then that's it. We came to our room and there's been nothing since," she told Newshub.

a close up of a hand holding a cellphone: Watch: A couple say they feel like criminals after police quarantined them in a hotel when they landed in New Zealand. © Newshub Watch: A couple say they feel like criminals after police quarantined them in a hotel when they landed in New Zealand.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says if people have symptoms, then they'll be taken into quarantine.

However, Kawau says she doesn't have any symptoms and had a plan to self-isolate in Oamaru. But instead, on arrival, she was put on a bus with police.

"We haven't been told anything. Just told when we walked into the arrivals that we were going on a bus to the Novotel Hotel. That was what we were told," she says.

Apart from that, she says there's been no other communication to her or any of those put in rooms down the corridor.

Pictures: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world

"We don't know how long we're here for - I'm presuming it's two weeks."

    Police were exercising their new powers on the streets of Auckland too. 

    After some suspect driving, they pulled over one driver, only to discover he was dropping off a mate who was not staying at his house. 

    Police had to explain to the driver that there was a lockdown.

    "You're not supposed to be interacting with people from another household, from another bubble. Have you heard people talking about the bubbles?" they told him.

    The driver had heard about bubbles, but didn't appear to fully grasp the gravity of the situation. 

    Police are primarily trying to educate the public about the new emergency rules, but say they will arrest and prosecute those who continue to flout them.

    This time for the driver,  it was just a warning.

    Tourists parked on the Auckland waterfront were also told to move on, but they told Newshub they couldn't as they had to wait to check in at their Airbnb.

    "They said we're not allowed to be here. That we need to be in a house or a certain accommodation to stay in," Isabel Claviez says.

    A busy day on the beat for police enforcing the new normal.  

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