13 Nov 2020

No new community cases, Auckland CBD to reopen

3:48 pm on 13 November 2020

There have been no additional community cases linked to the latest Auckland case, which has now been directly connected to the Defence Force cluster.

AUCKLAND, NZ - MAY 29:Traffic on Queen street with the Skytower in the background on May 29 2013.It's a major commercial thoroughfare in the Auckland CBD, New Zealand's main population center.

Photo: 123rf.com

Minister for the Covid-19 response Chris Hipkins and director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay provided the latest update this afternoon.

Hipkins said the Auckland case reported yesterday has a direct genomic link to a Defence Force worker at the Jet Park hotel, but they are yet to find the point of history between them, such as a meeting, or whether they were at the same time and place, so those inquiries were ongoing.

He said the link meant it was less likely it was another border breach.

McElnay said the timing and incubation period fit with a straight transmission.

The Auckland student's three close contacts have all tested negative for Covid-19.

Watch the media conference here:

Hipkins said Auckland remains at alert level 1 and the CBD can reopen, but that the government would be making mask wearing on public transport in the Auckland region and on flights mandatory on an "ongoing basis".

He said he would take an order to Cabinet on Monday to do this.

It may also become mandatory to do scanning at places where a lot of people gather, such as large public events.

New cases

McElnay said there were four new cases today, one in managed isolation and three historical cases.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has directed all people who attended locations of interest in Auckland at key times to get tested for Covid-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Four additional testing stations are now open in Auckland. All locations and times of interest are on the MOH website.

There were 7267 tests completed yesterday.

McElnay urged people to use the QR codes wherever they see them, as it made it much easier to contact people if they visit a location of interest also visited by a positive case.

The Auckland case

The Auckland case reported yesterday is a student and retail worker who lives next to the Grand Millennium managed isolation hotel.

She works at A-Z Collection in the city centre and went to work on 11 November while symptomatic after a conversation with her manager.

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Places the woman visited recently. Graphic: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod

People who work in Auckland CBD have been asked to from home today.

Hipkins said the latest cases were now feeling the weight of the entire country on their shoulders.

"They do not deserve to have blame heaped upon them."

Give them space, he urged, or the pressure may affect their recall of events. It was the virus that was the problem, not the people, he said.

He also said New Zealand's border workers were among the most scrutinised and most tested people in the country. They were doing a fantastic job and deserved our gratitude, he said.

He said the country was not at the level of risk where it was necessary to change levels.

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