15 Feb 2021

Covid-19 updates from New Zealand on Monday 15 February

7:04 pm on 15 February 2021

Daily saliva testing is being done in conjunction with PCR tests at high-risk sites, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, and the government is considering rolling it out further.

A person using the Covid Tracer app

Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Epidemiologists and opposition parties have called for the less invasive testing to be used daily at all border-facing facilities.

Speaking at her post-Cabinet media briefing this afternoon, Ardern clarified it was already being used at the Jet Park quarantine facility, and was being assessed to see whether it would be sensible to expand it to other facilities.

It followed three new community cases being found yesterday which prompted an increase in alert levels to level 3 in Auckland and level 2 across the rest of New Zealand.

The Health Ministry this afternoon announced five new cases had been found in managed isolation in the past 24 hours, with no new cases in the community.

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Read back through live Covid-19 updates for Monday 15 February:

The Ministry of Health said investigations were continuing into the three cases, and as a result the number of locations of interest, close and "casual plus" contacts could change.

The ministry said high levels of testing was expected in Taranaki, where some of the three community cases had visited. Locations included Taranaki Base Hospital; MediCross Urgent Care & GP Clinic; Hāwera Hospital; Waitara Health Centre and Ōpunake Health Centre/Coastal Care.

They said the high demand could mean delays at testing sites, and asked people to be patient. People who were not at one of the listed locations at the stated times did not need to be tested if they were not symptomatic.

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