1 Feb 2021

Covid-19 update: No new cases in community or at border

3:45 pm on 1 February 2021

There have been no new cases of Covid-19 in the community or managed isolation reported today, Covid-19 Response minister Chris Hipkins says.

Look back at the media conference:

Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield are providing an update on the situation in New Zealand.

All former guests at the Pullman Hotel managed isolation facility who have been contacted have tested negative, Hipkins said.

The last five guests to be contacted who were at the Pullman Hotel at the same time as the three community cases will be tested today.

In total, 349 people who stayed at the Pullman between 9 and 24 of January - the same time as the three other cases. Of these 340 tests have been negative, four are awaiting test results and the other five are being tested today, Dr Bloomfield confirmed.

The two Aucklanders who tested positive for Covid-19 in the community continue to recover at the Jet Park quarantine facility, he said.

Dr Bloomfield said one previously reported case has now recovered and the total number of active cases is 69.

Another previously reported confirmed case has been reclassified as under investigation, bringing the total number of total confirmed cases to 1947.

Hipkins thanked everyone who got tested and the health workers who carried out the testing.

He also thanked the recent returnees who had to stay in isolation longer because of the recent cases.

"It is never helpful when we hear comments that put the tireless work of our border staff down to luck. There are thousands of people working to keep our country safe who would feel aggrieved - and do feel aggrieved, when they hear things like that," Hipkins said.

"It is not by luck that they are doing such a good job. Their effort is the reason why New Zealand is able to continue to enjoy long weekends like the one those in the north are experiencing this weekend."

Four community testing centres are open in Auckland today, they are in Northcote, Balmoral, Henderson and Otara. There is testing available at urgent care clinics and GPs, Dr Bloomfield said.

On the case of Trevor Ponting, a terminally ill New Zealander who was initially denied an MIQ place, Hipkins said he was "somewhat surprised Ponting did not get an MIQ exemption.

He said Ponting's case did not "strictly speaking" meet the criteria but there were compassionate grounds to grant his exemption.

No new community cases were reported in New Zealand on Sunday, following last week's three confirmed border-related infections. One new case was confirmed in managed isolation.

Trans-Tasman travel bubble

Hipkins said Perth's current lockdown did not change the prospects of a travel bubble with Australia.

A five-day lockdown has been imposed after a hotel quarantine security guard tested positive for the virus.

Hipkins said for a bubble to go ahead both countries needed to be prepared and have protocols in place in the event of small outbreaks on either side of the Tasman.

"We know one of the things we have to be prepared for in the event of a trans-Tasman bubble is there could be small outbreaks on either side of the Tasman and in any of the states of Australia, so we need to be aware, we need to have agreed protocols of what we would do in those circumstances.

"We want to make sure we have got everything in place before we go ahead with a trans-Tasman bubble."

There is still no date for a trans-Tasman bubble, he said.

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