15 Feb 2021

Covid-19 update: Five new cases, none in community

1:59 pm on 15 February 2021

Five new cases including one historical case have been found in managed isolation facilities in the past day, the Ministry of Health says, with no new cases in the community.

Samples awaiting testing for novel coronavirus Covid-19, are pictured at Biogroup Laboratory's lab in west London on January 21, 2021.

Photo: AFP

The ministry gave the latest details in a statement. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will provide another update at 4pm after Cabinet has met.

Of the five new cases found in managed isolation today, one travelled from the UAE via Malaysia, while three arrived from India via UAE and Malaysia. All were identified around the day they arrived.

The fifth case arrived from the United States on 28 January and was deemed historical but remains in managed isolation. Historical cases are now reported separately, with 29 such cases reported since 1 January.

Contacts of yesterday's community cases

Three new community cases were announced by Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday. That prompted an increase in alert levels.

The ministry identified 10 close contacts outside of the Auckland household as a result of contact tracing.

Read more on the latest Covid-19 outbreak:

Six of these contacts have returned negative tests, and four results are pending.

The three positive cases remain in quarantine. One household contact, who has tested negative, is in isolation.

Investigations were continuing into the three cases, and as a result, the Ministry of Health said 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.

Genome sequencing

Ardern this morning confirmed genome sequencing for two of the community cases showed they have the Covid-19 variant B1.1.7 first detected in the UK.

The ministry this afternoon also confirmed that and said ESR was conducting a scan of the international genome database to see if there was a match.

The Ministry of Health said there was no direct link to any other positive cases detected in New Zealand to date, so ESR was looking at international genome database to see if there was a match. Investigations to find the source of the infection continued.

Auckland is in level 3 lockdown and the rest of the country is in level 2 until midnight Wednesday 17 February. Alert levels are being reviewed every 24 hours.

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