27 Jul 2020

Covid-19: Zero new cases in New Zealand today

2:22 pm on 27 July 2020

There are no new cases of Covid-19 in the country today.

Covid-19 coronavirus particles, illustration. The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (previously 2019-CoV) emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

An illustration of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Photo: AFP

There were no new cases reported on Saturday or Sunday.

In a written release today, the ministry said it had been 87 days since the last local case of Covid-19 from an unknown source. Total confirmed cases remained at 1206.

A lack of any newly recovered cases in the past 24 hours meant New Zealand's active cases number remained at 21, all in quarantine and managed isolation facilities with none in hospital.

The ministry is following up with South Korean health authorities after a traveller who left New Zealand on 21 July later tested positive for Covid-19 there.

The ministry said today that South Korean authorities believed the person had contracted the disease during transit at Singapore airport. However the case is still being investigated and the ministry said it expected to have more information later today.

Earlier this month a traveller from New Zealand to Malaysia who was initially suspected to have Covid-19 returned a negative test.

Testing still short of recommendation

Laboratories completed just 550 tests yesterday, with 270 of those from managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

The ministry noted that test numbers are consistently lower over weekends and public holidays, but the seven-day rolling average of 1865 tests still numbered far short of the roughly 4000 tests per day scientists have recommended for effective monitoring of the disease in New Zealand.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins has urged the number to be brought up to at least 4000 for the past couple of weeks, but despite changes in advice for when to test, daily testing numbers have remained stubbornly low.

The ministry said it would be continuing to support efforts to increase community-based testing, working with the Colleges of GPs, Urgent Care and Emergency Medicine to offer testing to all people who presented with symptoms.

It also said it would work with District Health Boards to ensure widely available testing, and continue to encourage people to take up offers of a swab.

*See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19.

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