26 Jun 2021

No new community cases, four in MIQ, Health Ministry says

3:18 pm on 26 June 2021

There are no new community cases around the country and four in managed isolation, the Ministry of Health says.

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Photo: AFP

The travellers arrived from India via Qatar, Indonesia via Singapore and Dominica and Ghana, both via the United Arab Emirates. All four are now in the quarantine facility in Auckland.

Two previously reported cases have now recovered. The number of active cases in New Zealand is 21, the ministry said in a statement.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border is two. Since 1 January 2021, there have been 76 historical cases, from a total of 557 cases.

The country's total number of confirmed cases is 2373.

The Wellington region is currently at alert level 2 because a Sydney man later diagnosed with Covid-19 visited the city last weekend.

The Australian traveller has the highly infectious Delta variant, New South Wales officials confirmed last night.

They say the other traveller who visited alongside the person with the virus tested negative on return to Australia and was not infectious while in New Zealand.

The region's alert level is in place until at least 11.59pm tomorrow. Cabinet is due to meet in the morning to decide whether it should be lifted or extended.

Australian man's visit to Wellington

So far, 2213 people have been identified as contacts of the Australian man.

Fourteen hundred and twenty of those contacts need to isolate until a negative test result at day 5, while the remainder need to isolate for 14 days and have at least two tests, the ministry said.

Of those 2213 total contacts, 1441 have returned a negative result, 764 are either being followed up or are awaiting a test result and the remaining eight have been excluded from testing.

There were 58 passengers on the Qantas flight QF163 which the Australian passenger travelled on to Wellington last Saturday. All have been advised to self-isolate. Of those 58 passengers, 35 have had a negative test result, and the remainder are expected to have results in the next couple of days.

New Zealand based flight crew from both the inbound and outbound flights have all been contacted and are being tested.

Two Australian travellers put into MIQ

Two people who arrived from Australia yesterday are now in a managed isolation facility in Auckland after it was discovered they were ineligible for quarantine free travel to New Zealand.

One person, travelling from New South Wales, arrived in Auckland through another Australian airport and was detected by Customs officials and transferred to MIQ.

The other traveller is an Australian resident who was cleared by Customs and realised soon afterwards they may not be eligible.

They rang Healthline for advice and have also been transferred to MIQ.

Auckland Regional Health's Medical Officer of Health has deemed both passengers as a low public health risk. Both will spend 14 days in managed isolation and undergo standard testing while there.

Testing rates 'steady'

Demand for testing in the Wellington region is steady and at this stage there is further capacity at all sites this afternoon and tomorrow, the ministry said.

Yesterday there were 2345 tests processed in the region. That number is lower than the day before due to a large number of people already having had their day 5 tests.

In the Wellington region, testing priority continues to be given to people who have been at a location of interest at the specified time and those who have symptoms.

A Covid-19 testing site at Te Papa was quiet on Saturday morning.

A testing site at Te Papa was quiet earlier today. Photo: RNZ / Harry Lock

Anyone who was at a location of interest or is symptomatic should ring Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.

People are asked to book in advance for a test.

Last night, the ministry reported confirmation of the whole genome sequencing, which has linked the Australian traveller's Covid-19 infection to the current Sydney outbreak, and confirms that it is the Delta variant.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said the Delta confirmation reinforces the Ministry of Health took the right approach by recommending the Wellington region's move to alert level 2.

"The signs so far are encouraging - testing has ramped up and there have not been any community cases at this point.

"But I want to emphasise the importance of staying vigilant, stay home if unwell and get advice about having a test, wash hands regularly, cough and sneeze into the elbow, wear masks or face coverings on all public transport, and keep track of where you've been - scan QR codes wherever you go and turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app dashboard."

She said it was also important that people kept up to date with the ministry's locations of interest.

At a media briefing earlier yesterday, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced that there were no new community cases or signs of Covid-19 in the wastewater system throughout the Wellington region.

The announcement was significant because it was the important day five testing of people who had potentially been exposed to the Sydney man's visit to the capital last weekend.

Hipkins said a total of 10,749 tests were processed on Thursday, 3713 of those in Wellington.

Two new cases in managed isolation were confirmed. The people travelled from the UK and Philippines, both via Singapore, arriving on 22 June.

By yesterday the number of active cases in New Zealand was 19.

The country's total number of confirmed cases is 2369.

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