29 Jul 2020

Two new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation today

2:40 pm on 29 July 2020

There are two new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation in New Zealand today, and household contacts of a traveller to South Korea have all tested negative, the Ministry of Health says.

A lab assistant manipulates samples, at a COVID-19 screening centre of Saint Andre Hospital in Bordeaux, on May 20, 2020, as the hospital takes part in an operation of a screening and testing drive of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), organised in the city centre. (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP)

File photo. Photo: AFP

In a written release today, the ministry said the first case was a man in his 50s who arrived on 14 July from Afghanistan via Dubai, and tested positive in his day 12 test.

The second case was a man in his 40s who travelled from the Philippines via Hong Kong, and was symptomatic on arrival on Monday, 27 July, so was taken straight to a quarantine facility in Auckland. He was tested on arrival and tested positive.

With no cases considered recovered today, the number of active cases is 23.

The update follows an announcement from the government of new legislation that allow it to charge some travellers staying in managed isolation.

Minister in charge of managed isolation facilities Megan Woods said the charges would apply to those who entered the country temporarily, or those who left after the regulations came into force.

Yesterday there was one new case of a woman in her 20s in managed isolation, a woman who arrived in New Zealand on 14 July, having travelled from Afghanistan and transferred via Dubai.

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At the same briefing yesterday, Health Minister Chris Hipkins set out the response to a person who had travelled from New Zealand testing positive for the coronavirus in South Korea.

Officials were taking action in New Zealand as if it was a worst-case scenario "out of an abundance of caution", Hipkins said.

Passengers from two rows around the individual on the domestic flight NZ555 on 20 July are considered close contacts and were being asked to isolate and get tests. Other passengers on the flight were being provided with health information.

Five household contacts of the traveller were in self-isolation though all are well, the minister said.

Today, the Ministry reported household contacts had all returned negative results.

"Those identified as close contacts within the 48 hours before the case had their positive test are being asked to self-isolate for the balance of their 14 days. Any casual contacts do not need to self-isolate but are being asked to be tested if they develop symptoms consistent with Covid-19 over the 14 day period," the ministry said.

The ministry said labs completed 2733 tests yesterday, which updates the seven-day rolling average to 1957, with total tests completed to date at 460,067.

The week-long average and daily test numbers have continued to fall far short of the roughly 4000 tests per day recommended for monitoring of the virus in New Zealand.

Hipkins also said the government was stockpiling masks, particularly as part of PPE for health workers. In response this morning, University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker said a further key step was needed in planning for resurgence in community transmission.

Everyone in New Zealand should have a reusable fabric mask and know how to use it, he told Morning Report.

  • 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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