23 Oct 2020

Nine new cases of Covid-19 in NZ today - eight imported, one close contact

7:31 pm on 23 October 2020

There are nine new cases - eight in managed isolation and one household contact of previous case - reported in New Zealand today, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has confirmed.

Dr Bloomfield and Minister of Health Chris Hipkins have provided a Covid-19 update this afternoon.

Watch the full briefing here:

Seven of the imported cases involve fishing crew in Christchurch who tested positive on day six testing, while the other person travelled from Iran.

There are 1567 confirmed cases now.

The one new community case is a close household contact of one of the cases from the marine employee cluster.

There are a total of 66 active cases.

New Zealand's labs completed 6053 tests yesterday.

See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

Dr Bloomfield said more cases were expected from the fishers at the Sudima Hotel managed isolation facility in Christchurch.

"We do expect there may be more positive cases as the balance of the tests are processed from the day-six testing today."

He said Auckland's DHBs were monitoring demand for testing and would further increase testing capacity over the long weekend, with seven community testing centres opening across the weekend in the region.

He thanked Aucklanders for remaining vigilant.

But he said while there was a high uptake of the app, "very few people" had scanned into the Greenhithe pub that a person with the virus visited last Friday.

Hipkins said all Covid Tracer app users will receive a reminder this afternonn to remind them to use it through their day.

He said it would be "very, very resource intensive" to make it compulsory for people to us the Covid Tracer App to scan in places.

Hipkins would not say it would never be made compulsory at higher alert levels, but at level 1 people should be taking personal responsibility.

Hipkins said it had now been seven months since the first confirmed case. He said the government had continued to learn a huge amount about this virus, improved contact tracing and processed more than 1 million tests.

He said the current success did not mean there was any room for complacency.

"To remain safe we all have to remain vigilant."

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Photo: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod

Essential workers next in line

Hipkins said if the number of New Zealanders returning home falls off, a large group of essential workers is waiting to come in.

Managed isolation facilities always have vacancies, and Hipkins told the briefing that if demand continues to decline, more essential workers and international students will be allowed in.

"Up until now most of our space has been reserved for those New Zealanders returning," Hipkins said.

"If pressure starts to ease in that area there's still demand in other areas, and we'd be looking to tap into that to make sure that we're allowing people to come into the country."

Hipkins said 150 post doctoral students have been approved to come into the country and he would like to see more do so.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

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