22 Jan 2021

Covid-19: Nine new cases reported over past two days

1:31 pm on 22 January 2021

There have been nine new cases of Covid-19 reported in managed isolation in New Zealand over the past two days, the Ministry of Health says.

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In a statement, the ministry said there are no new cases in the community.

The new cases came from the USA, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, India and Kazakhstan.

With another 12 previously reported cases now recovered, the total number of active cases in New Zealand is 73. The total number of confirmed cases is 1920.

In its statement, the Ministry also noted that it has now been one year since the first Covid-19 PCR test was carried out in New Zealand.

"The first test, on 22 January 2020, was processed by ESR. Almost 1.5 million tests have been carried out in the community and at the border since that time.

"Testing is a key component of our elimination strategy as it enables us to quickly identify Covid-19 cases. The rapid development of testing capability throughout New Zealand is one of the success stories underpinning the response and the sector now has surge capability to handle testing up to 25,000 samples per day."

The Ministry said the PCR test - which uses a nasopharyngeal swab - was considered the "gold standard" for Covid testing as it detected the virus the most effectively.

Yesterday genome sequencing of Covid-19 cases in managed isolation revealed there were more people in managed isolation with the new very infectious variants.

ESR testing and whole genome sequencing identified 11 cases of the UK strain and six cases of the South African strain in quarantine since 6 January.

The ministry yesterday said there were now a total of 29 samples of the UK variant and seven of the South African variant.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern demanded "absolute focus" from her Labour MPs in 2021, noting "on-going vigilance" would be required to avoid another Covid outbreak.

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