1 Jul 2020

No new cases of Covid-19 in NZ for second day running

5:00 pm on 1 July 2020

There have been no new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand for the second day in a row.

Watch the latest briefing from the Health Ministry here:

The total number of confirmed cases remains at 1178, with confirmed and probable cases combined totalling 1528.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the number of active cases remains at 22.

One person remained in Auckland City Hospital in a stable condition. There are no cases of community transmission.

There were 4530 tests completed yesterday and there have now been more than 400,000 tests processed, Dr Bloomfield said.

He said the number of cases worldwide continued to increase.

"We are seeing of course resurgences in some countries where controls, including lockdown controls, have been relaxed."

Dr Bloomfield said New Zealand needs to remain vigilant.

"Things feel very much back to normal here in New Zealand. However we do not want to give up our hard-won efforts and the opportunities afforded by being in alert level 1 and our ability to have our domestic economy and how we live our daily lives compromised at all.

He reinforced public health measures: If you're sick or your child is sick please stay at home. If you have symptoms ring healthline. Practise good hand hygiene, keep track of where you have been and make sure your contact details with your GP are up to date.

Dr Bloomfield reminded everyone to show tolerance and support people who may have Covid-19.

He revealed Air New Zealand staff had faced hostility over Covid-19. He said he had met with Air NZ chief executive Greg Foran who told him some staff had been targeted by members of the public.

"Some staff and crew members, particularly those flying international routes have been facing some hostility and suspicion in their local communities. Again, this could be your friend or family member," he said.

Dr Bloomfield said there were still 367 people that had been through managed isolation who were unable to be contacted.

However, he said they present a very, very low risk to the community as they had all completed the 14 days of managed isolation.

Ardern asked them to "do your bit, get back in contact. It's a small thing you can do as a member of our team of five million."

National's leader Todd Muller said the missing 360 people is another indictment of the system.

"And we still have these many hundreds of people in the community who haven't been identified yet and haven't been tested, which from our perspective underlines how incompetent this has been for so many weeks," Muller said.

Melbourne lockdown a reminder to New Zealanders - Bloomfield

When asked about the situation in Melbourne, Dr Bloomfield said there is a whole range of measures in place to protect guests and staff from infecting each other in managed isolation.

"These protocols have been in place and working effectively since 9 April where we have seen no cases come out of those facilities and into the community either - people who have been in isolation or people who have worked there."

If there was an outbreak, Dr Bloomfield said there could be localised measures rather than blanket measures across the country.

More than 300,000 people across 36 suburbs will spend the next month in lockdown, after community transmission was confirmed and another 73 cases were reported today.

Movements around the affected suburbs will be restricted and people will only be allowed to leave the house for food and essentials, work and study, caregiving or exercise - until 29 July.

And in an extra twist, breaches by staff in Victoria's quarantine system are suspected to be the cause of the outbreak - as New Zealand works to plug gaps in its own border regime.

The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said staff members at a quarantine hotel had breached "well known and well understood" rules.

"That is unacceptable to me and I'm sure that'll be unacceptable to certainly all those who will be impacted by the restrictions," Andrews said.

Dr Bloomfield said the news from Australia should serve as a reminder.

"That community transmission in the future is a real possibility and we here need to take measures...local measures, to counteract community transmission if it occurs again. We will be watching carefully and continue to work on a daily basis with our Australian colleagues to see what's happening there," Bloomfield said.

Dr Bloomfield said the delay in getting the NZ Covid Tracer app up and running was because they wanted to launch it with some other functionality. He said it wasn't necessary on 20 April when the country was heading into alert level 3.

The app was launched on 20 May.

Meanwhile, New Zealand has joined a global initiative - the COVAX facility - that aims to give all countries access to a vaccine if and when one is created.

Details such as how much money New Zealand will contribute are still being decided.

Earlier today, the European Union's representative in New Zealand said the country won't have to open up to European tourists in order for New Zealanders to be able to travel to the EU.

Yesterday, the union announced a list of 14 countries deemed to be "safe", and whose citizens would be allowed entry from today.

EU representative Nina Obermaier told Morning Report that reciprocity was one of the criteria to be included on the list, however, the most important consideration was the epidemiological situation.

However, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against all international travel despite the EU's decision.

Both Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters have warned travellers they would probably need to pay the full cost of managed isolation on their return.

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