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Source: Human Rights Commission

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Professor Hunt returned from a business trip to London and Geneva arriving in Wellington on Sunday 15 March. He immediately went into self-isolation.

During the week he began experiencing COVID 19 like symptoms and was tested for the virus on Friday 20 March. He received a positive test result for COVID 19 on Sunday 22 March.

“Experiencing COVID 19 symptoms, I enjoyed the human right to medical care, but I also had a duty to the community to self-isolate, take the swab-test and now studiously follow the advice of the health professionals. Others have the same duty,” Professor Hunt said.

“I report on my health-status because there is nothing to hide. There is no stigma. I work from home and enjoy solitary walks. I feel solidarity with past, present and future patients.

“These are extremely dangerous times especially for the most vulnerable members of our communities, such as older people, disabled people, those with underlying health problems, and those living in poverty. History demonstrates the severe and unequal impact of introduced disease on tangata whenua. 

“The Commission will keep as close as possible to all our communities, especially the most disadvantaged. We will do everything we can to ensure they are heard,” he said.

“The Commission is also ready to help the Government ensure its response to COVID-19 is fair and benefits from the insights provided by the country’s national and international human rights commitments.  

“After the government’s initial positive response comes the need to ensure fair, equitable, effective, sustained, practical implementation over the long haul,” said Mr Hunt.

Professor Hunt is recovering at home in Wellington.