20 Jul 2021

Covid-19 update for 20 July: Six new cases in managed isolation, none in community

1:38 pm on 20 July 2021

There are six new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation and none in the community.

Blood flow with virus COVID19, SARS-CoV-2 concept background

Photo: 123rf.com

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the number of new cases includes three of the confirmed cases aboard the Mattina container ship, which is currently quarantined with 21 crew members in Bluff.

The remaining six confirmed cases aboard the Mattina, already announced by the ministry this morning, are expected to be added to the confirmed cases tally in tomorrow's update.

Eight of the nine confirmed cases are symptomatic. They are well enough to remain on board, the ministry said.

"The ship is currently in a secure quarantine area of South Port in Bluff and all crew remain onboard, while health officials work to determine the next steps for the crew members."

The ministry said health officials will be closely monitoring the health and welfare of all crew members.

"Health officials have determined that the only port member who had contact with the ship crew is the Southport pilot, who went aboard the ship as it entered the port.

"Pilots are required to board vessels of this size when berthing. The pilot wore appropriate PPE and is fully vaccinated.

"Our ongoing case investigation shows the pilot had some contact with three crew members, however all three have returned negative test results.

"This means the harbour pilot, who has been self-isolating, is now not regarded as a close contact and will no longer be required to isolate."

The ministry added that as a border worker, this person is subject to the regular border worker testing requirements.

Playa Zahara update

The ministry said daily health and welfare checks are continuing for all crew members who remain onboard the Playa Zahara in quarantine in Lyttelton.

"None of the 16 previously reported confirmed cases from the Playa Zahara have been included in our case tally at this stage, as they remain under investigation to determine if they're current or historical cases."

The numbers

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Photo: Ministry of Health

The ministry said one previously reported case has now recovered.

It said a previously reported case from 16 July has now been deemed as a historical case. "It has been removed from our confirmed cases tally as it was reported as a historical case in their home country."

Since 1 January 2021, there have been 99 historical cases, out of a total of 649 cases, the ministry said.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border is five.

And the total number of active cases in NZ has gone up to 51 and the total number of confirmed cases is 2466.

Yesterday, 3517 Covid-19 tests were processed across New Zealand. The total number of tests processed to date is 2,405,241.

Australia update

The pause on quarantine-free travel from Victoria and New South Wales will be reviewed again on Wednesday 21 July, the ministry said.

Advice for recent travellers from Australia:

The ministry said so far, contact tracing has identified 31 people in New Zealand who have been in locations of interest in the two states at the relevant time.

"Of those, 28 have returned negative results. Two contacts are not yet due for their day 5 test and the test result for one contact is pending."

Meanwhile, there has been a change to the rules around quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia that now allows people to return to NZ if they have been in 'low risk' states or territories for 14 days or more, as long as they meet the other conditions of entry. It also exempts people arriving from Norfolk Island from the pre-departure test requirement for entry into NZ on a quarantine-free travel flight. The change came into force from 11.59pm on 19 July 2021.

"This means that people who have been outside New South Wales or Victoria for 14 days or more, and who meet all other QFT criteria, can now return to New Zealand on normal quarantine-free flights," the ministry said.

"The change reflects public health advice that, with all the other safeguards, these people pose a low risk of bringing Covid-19 into New Zealand. Pre-departure tests are still required 72 hours prior to travel for all States/Territories except NSW (because people arriving from there have to go into MIQ) and now Norfolk Island."

Vaccine update

Meanwhile, more than 1.4 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered nationwide, Ministry of Health data shows.

More than half a million people have received their second injection. Of those, 9 percent are Māori, and 6 percent are Pacific people.

On Sunday, the largest shipment so far of Pfizer vaccines - 370,000 doses - arrived in the country.

Data from the ministry showed the rollout overall was tracking ahead of schedule. Whanganui DHB has administered 8600 vaccines above what it had planned to and Wairarapa was furthest behind, 14 percent short of where it planned to be.

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