24 Jun 2020

Covid-19 managed isolation and testing: by the numbers

5:01 pm on 24 June 2020

The Ministry of Health has been unable to reach at least 58 percent of the people who left managed isolation untested between 9 and 16 June, its own numbers show.

Final MoH 1pm media conference on Covid-19 9 June 2020

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone 

The Ministry of Health has started reporting in earnest its figures on the numbers of people who have left managed isolation who have been tested.

The ministry late last night reported that 51 of the 55 people who had been granted compassionate exemptions to leave managed isolation had not been tested.

In his daily media briefing this afternoon, where he revealed one new case of Covid-19 in New Zealand, the ministry's Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield and deputy director-general for health system improvement and innovation Keriana Brooking offered more detail.

Here's a breakdown of the numbers.

For the 55 people granted compassionate exemptions:


  • 35 have been tested after leaving isolation, all negative
  • 11 will not be tested (they are a child or already left the country)
  • 3 are awaiting results
  • 2 had a test prior to leaving isolation
  • 2 were tested the same day as leaving isolation
  • 1 person had their exemption withdrawn
  • 1 person the ministry believes has not had a test, and has been referred to "enforcement services", which Dr Bloomfield said was a team at the ministry who assist in finding people. He said police could be brought in if necessary.

Reasons for exemptions:

  • 34 were given exemptions to attend a funeral of a family member or grieve with family
  • 16 applications were granted to isolate with a family member that was close to dying - they returned to isolation each day
  • As part of leaving managed isolation, all signed a health release requiring them to follow personalised protocols, such as undertaking a test, travelling to an agreed address without leaving the vehicle, wearing PPE including gloves and masks when spending time with the family member that is dying, complying with all health guidelines, regularly washing hands, coughing or sneezing into elbows, not attending supermarkets, petrol stations or shops.

Of the 2159 people who had left managed isolation between 9 June and 16 June *:

  • 1010 have been contacted and have tested negative - 800 were tested before leaving isolation and 210 were tested after leaving a facility
  • 791 are still uncontacted
  • 239 who have been referred for a test have not had results yet
  • 119 people will not be tested, including children and transiting ship crews, people who have left the country, and a few who are refusing a test

* These dates are used because 9 June was the first day of alert level 1, and 16 June was when Dr Bloomfield revealed the two confirmed cases who had left managed isolation under compassionate exemptions. Exemptions have since been suspended and tests before leaving isolation made mandatory.

This means of the 1359 people who were not tested before leaving isolation, at least 791 - 58 percent - have not been in contact with the Ministry in the eight days before Dr Bloomfield tightened testing at managed isolation facilities.

He was not clear how many of those who will not be tested had been reached.

Dr Bloomfield said the people who had not been contacted had been sent text messages and were being phoned a fifth time today. They had been passed to the ministry's "enforcement services" team.

Finding services, customs and police could also be used for contacting them, he said.

Dr Bloomfield said more than 20,000 people had gone through the managed isolation facilities with no evidence of transmission into the community.

Watch the latets media briefing here:

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