Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Welfare fears for rangatahi stranded in Dubai with Omicron

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: 188 community cases today, 14 in hospital. Video / NZ Herald

By Will Trafford of Maori television

The children of a 50-person dance troupe sent by the government to Dubai to represent Aotearoa at the Expo 2020 world fair have caught Covid-19, leaving dozens stranded in the area as parents worry for their well-being -to be.

Māori Television has seen email correspondence between Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta in which she raises parents’ concerns over the welfare of Royal Family Dance dancers Crew and band Voice of Youth, who traveled to Dubai in late January but had their performances canceled after the members tested positive for the highly contagious new strain of coronavirus, Omicron.

“I have been contacted by constituents, whānau concerned about the welfare of their sons currently in isolation in Dubai,” the correspondence reads.

The crew members tested positive the night of their performance, according to reports.  Photo / Provided
The crew members tested positive the night of their performance, according to reports. Photo / Provided

The Royal Family Dance Crew, who rose to prominence after winning the world hip hop dance championship three years in a row, were due to perform on February 1, before a social media post on the group’s Facebook page New Zealand at Expo 2020 only declares the group’s shows. had been canceled “for the safety of artists, staff and the public”.

“Several” crew members had tested positive the night of the performance, according to the post.

Ngarewa-Packer says that group has now grown to 50 and, while around 30 people have only returned home to test positive at the MIQ at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel, many remain trapped in their accommodation in the emirate, unable to leave their rooms due to Covid -19 restrictions which mirror those of Aotearoa.

Rangatahi with Omicron

“We understand there are now 50 in total, mostly rangatahi with Omicron (21 in Dubai and 29 in MIQ),” the Maori party co-leader wrote.

Ngarewa-Packer says parents’ main concern is lack of communication about when their children will be retested so they can go home (Dubai requires a negative Covid test 72 hours before departure) and how they will be taken in charge when they arrive.

“The Whānau are concerned about poor planning and communications regarding their testing, care and return to Aotearoa.

“Can you please advise the status and provide the requested guarantee and indicate the measures taken for their well-being and their return to work,” she wrote.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has been contacted for comment.

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