14 Apr 2021

No community cases, two imported cases in MIQ - Bloomfield

2:32 pm on 14 April 2021

Current advice over the MIQ security guard is that the information supplied to his employer said he had been tested, when in fact most recent test was November, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Hipkins was speaking at today's 1pm Covid-19 update, alongside Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.

Bloomfield says there are no new Covid-19 cases in the community today, and two new imported cases have been identified in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities.

Bloomfield says one of the new cases arrived from India and tested positive on day three and the other arrived from Pakistan and tested positive on day seven - the latter case is a contact of an earlier reported case.

It has emerged the security guard at the Grand Millennium managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility who tested positive for Covid-19 last week was recorded as receiving his last test in November despite an expectation of fortnightly testing.

Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment oversees quarantine, and chief executive Carolyn Tremain told a Parliamentary select committee this morning her officials were still verifying the data.

Hipkins said an investigation was under way into how that came about, but current advice was that the information the person supplied to his employer said he had been tested when in fact most recent test was November.

Hipkins says employers have a responsibility to make sure their staff are being tested.

He says before any fees or fines are processed there needs to be a thorough investigation process.

He says he signed an order last night on the border working testing register which will make it mandatory for employers to use the register from 27 April.

"The register notifies workers three days before they are due to be tested via text messages."

Employers are notified two days before, Hipkins says.

He says all workers will now need to move onto a weekly testing cycle.

Dr Bloomfield this afternoon said the guard's casual-plus and close contacts had all returned a negative result.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border is eight, with 101 active cases in New Zealand. The total number of confirmed cases is 2233.

Looking to 11.59pm on 18 April when the trans-Tasman bubble opens up, Hipkins says he is expecting an increase in the available rooms in MIQ facilities.

"We are already seeing that."

There are already more rooms available, Hipkins says.

There were four new cases of the novel coronavirus in managed isolation facilities identified in yesterday's update.

Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone


So far more than 135,585 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been rolled out, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

The weekly total is 34,378 people, with 43 percent of those delivered in Auckland.

He says one million vaccines will be delivered over the next 12 weeks.

Dr Bloomfield said Pfizer and Medsafe had given approval for Pfizer's vaccine to be stored for up to two weeks at -20C before it is used or returned to -70C. He said this would help with transporting the vaccine.

Bloomfield says in Auckland there is capacity for 760,000 doses in freezer storage.

In Christchurch there are two freezers which are not being used yet but can be and in the Auckland freezers there are 315,000 doses of the vaccine. More freezers are on order before the end of June.

He says there are a few new vaccination centres in Auckland - but it is by invitation only.

Hipkins says there will be more than 1 million additional Pfizer vaccines administered to New Zealand's priority groups, which is in the first wave of the vaccination program that runs until June.

He says weekly updates will be provided.

DHB forecast numbers show vaccinations should be well into group 3, Hipkins says, (people over 65 and those with underlying medical conditions) towards the end of June. Group 3 starts in late May.

On managed isolation facilities, Hipkins says almost 88.5 percent of MIQ workers have been vaccinated as of last night.

There are 4497 people in the MIQ workforce and 513 of those are still to receive their first vaccine, Hipkins says.

From Monday, difficult conversations between workers on the frontline and their employers will begin, Hipkins says.

"By the end of the month there will be nobody working in those frontline roles who hasn't had at least one dose of the vaccine."

This morning it was reported that Auckland only had half the number of Covid-19 vaccinators it needed for the rollout, according to Counties Manukau DHB.

Yesterday, Medsafe was reported to be meeting to consider whether to approve the single-dose Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for use in New Zealand, and it expected to announce its decision tomorrow.

The vaccine, a one-shot immunisation made by Johnson & Johnson, was not approved by Australia's health authority, and the US also paused its use of the vaccine over rare blood clots.

And this week, the largest nurses union raised concerns about non-clinical staff giving Covid-19 vaccinations.

Covid-19 corona virus macro 3d illustration

There were four new cases of Covid-19 in MIQ facilities yesterday. Photo: 123rf.com

New functions on NZ Covid Tracer app

On the Covid Tracer app, Bloomfield says there's a new swirl symbol which will show up if people have completed 14 consecutive days of tracking.

Bloomfield says he is on 13 consecutive days. Hipkins is on 11, after having not visited anywhere featuring QR posters on some days over Easter weekend.

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