Thieves steal virus-testing tent in NZ, cops tell them to get checked

Police appealed for the thieves to return the tent in a Facebook video posted yesterday. (AP pic)

WELLINGTON: Hapless thieves who stole a coronavirus testing tent in New Zealand have put themselves at risk of contracting the virus and should get tested, police have warned.

The tent was stolen from outside an Auckland hospital where it had been set up to test Kiwis for Covid-19, police said in a video posted on Facebook Tuesday.

East Health Trust chief Loretta Hansen said staff discovered the tent was missing when they arrived early Tuesday morning to begin a day of testing.

“Some fool, idiot, come and stole our tent – our Covid-19 testing tent,” she said in the video.

“They chopped it off at the ground level. It was bolted in by concrete, and they just chopped it off.”

Counties Manukau police Sergeant Brett Meale appealed for the thieves to return the tent – and submit themselves to testing for the virus, which is thought to survive on surfaces for several days.

“If you have got that tent, or you know where it is, we’re quite happy if you could just let us know anonymously where we can pick it up from. You might save yourself a bit of trouble,” Meale said.

“But if you have been in contact with that tent, I’d suggest you get yourself along here and get yourself tested for Covid-19.”

Hansen said clinic staff had to “race round” to replace the tent, which they managed to do.

“We’re back up and running. We certainly don’t want to be out of action,” she said.

New Zealand has confirmed almost 650 cases of coronavirus and one death.