17 Nov 2020

Covid-19: Four new cases in managed isolation facilities

1:27 pm on 17 November 2020

There are four new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, bringing the total number of active cases to 61.

Commuters wearning masks board a bus Manukau

From Thursday 19 November, mask use will be mandatory on public transport in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

There was no 1pm media conference today but in a statement the Ministry of Health said the new cases were detected in recent returnees in managed isolation.

There are no new community cases.

One of the new cases arrived from Qatar via Australia on 5 November and tested positive around day 12 of their stay in managed isolation, the ministry said.

Two cases arrived from the UK via Qatar and Australia on 12 November and tested positive at routine testing around day three of their stay in managed isolation, and one arrived from France via Qatar and Australia on 12 November and tested positive at routine testing around day three of their stay.

The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand is now 1649.

The ministry said one previously reported case has now recovered.

Yesterday there were 6146 tests completed for Covid-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 1,191,034.

November quarantine cluster

The ministry said it had been 14 days since it was reported that Case A had tested positive for Covid-19.

"While it is encouraging that during this time we have only identified another four cases of Covid-19 that are all connected to Case A, it has not yet been 14 days since the last identified cases - Case D and Case E - were out in the community."

"While we know Case A and Case D have an identical genome, and that means Case D most likely caught Covid-19 from Case A, despite extensive investigation we have not yet been able to identify the exposure event that links these two people epidemiologically. Auckland Regional Public Health Service continues to pursue every possible angle on this source investigation."

The ministry said it was asking anyone who visited one of the locations of interest during the relevant time period in the Auckland CBD - including the Mezze Bar and A-Z Collections - to get a test, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

"This wide surveillance testing in the area where we know Cases A and D were when they were infectious will also help us have added confidence that neither Case A nor Case D have further passed the virus on to anyone else. All surveillance testing around these two cases has to date returned negative results."

A pop-up testing clinic on Auckland's Freyberg Place remains open until Friday. There are also six community testing centres in Auckland.

A full list of testing sites in Auckland can be found on the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website.

The ministry said routine follow-up of contacts of each of the five cases was continuing.

Covid-19 vaccine

The government has confirmed it is in talks with several companies that are working to make a vaccine for Covid-19. It is also setting up the infrastructure to store and transport the vaccine when it arrives.

A new Covid-19 vaccine is almost 95 percent effective, early data from US company Moderna shows.


From Thursday, masks will be mandatory on all domestic flights in New Zealand, as well as public transport in Auckland.

But Auckland taxi drivers are upset the mandate applies to everyone on buses, trains and planes - as well as taxi drivers - but not taxi passengers.

Covid Tracer app

The app now has 2,364,900 registered users. Poster scans have reached 116,664,548 and users have created 4,839,697 manual diary entries.

Significant progress is being made on work to allow third-party integration with the NZ Covid Tracer app and the National Contact Tracing Solution, the ministry said.

"Users of the Rippl app, developed by digital agency Paperkite, are already able to receive NZ Covid Tracer contact alerts and in due course will be able to share their digital diaries with the Ministry when required for contact tracing."

The ministry said Paperkite was trialling an automatic check-in feature that uses Bluetooth beacons. "This allows Rippl users who have Bluetooth enabled to check in to select locations without needing to scan the QR codes."

It said the beacons were already being trialled at several locations and will be in use at this weekend's Beervana festival in Wellington. "The results of the trial will inform decisions by Paperkite on any further rollout of the beacons."

The ministry said it expects the Rippl, SaferMe and Snapper platforms will be fully integrated with the National Contact Tracing Solution by early 2021.

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