NZ says no plan to prosecute British DJ over Covid breach
January 4, 2022 12:58 AM
New Zealand's government said Monday it would not ask for British DJ Dimension to be prosecuted for breaking Covid isolation rules and creating an Omicron infection scare.
The electronic music artist, real name Robert Etheridge, said he had misunderstood the rules when he mixed with people before getting a final negative test result.
"The Ministry of Health does not plan to refer this case to the police at this stage," the ministry said in a statement.
"The ministry needs to balance the deterrence effect from any potential prosecution with enabling an environment that does not discourage future cases from assisting with the public health response to COVID-19," it said.
Etheridge said Thursday he was "devastated" to discover that he had tested positive for Omicron after emerging from 10 days of isolation including three days at his residence.
The DJ reportedly failed to wait for a negative result from his last test taken on day nine of isolation, as required, before going out into the community. He had landed in New Zealand on December 16.
"To my shock and enormous concern, I unexpectedly received a positive test on day twelve, two days after my isolation period had ended," he said on his Instagram page.
Etheridge said he had received "many comments of hate and abuse" following media reports of the incident.
"I want to reiterate my apologies to those who I have inadvertently put at risk as a result of my misunderstandings."
There have been no reported Omicron cases related to Etheridge's outing, according to New Zealand media reports.
Etheridge withdrew from a planned appearance at a three-day music festival, Rhythm and Alps, which was held from December 29-31 on New Zealand's South Island.
New Zealand, which has strict quarantine rules for international arrivals, reported Monday 137 new Covid infections for a total of 13,883 since the pandemic began, with the death toll unchanged at 51.