Covid-19: Four new cases in managed isolation, two more linked to UK strain

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There are four new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation to report in New Zealand in the last two days.

View of a Coronavirus Covid-19 background - 3d rendering

Photo: 123rf.com

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there were no new cases in the community.

Of the new border cases:

  • One is historical. This person arrived on 4 January from the United Kingdom via Singapore and tested positive on day 0/1 of routine testing and is in the facility in Hamilton.
  • One case arrived on 5 January from the United Kingdom via Qatar. This person tested positive on day 0/1 of routine testing and is in the Auckland quarantine facility.
  • One case arrived on 5 January from the United Kingdom via the United Arab Emirates and Australia. This person tested positive on day 0/1 of routine testing and is in the Auckland quarantine facility.
  • One case arrived on 29 December from the United Kingdom via the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia and tested positive at day nine. This person is in the Auckland quarantine facility.

The ministry said there are a range of reasons why a person may receive additional tests outside the routine testing. For example, if they are symptomatic, a potential contact of a case, or travelling within a travel bubble of a confirmed case.

One previously reported case has now recovered, the ministry said.

“Two previously reported cases have been reclassified as Under-Investigation and removed from the total. Changes to a case status can occur as we undertake further investigation to determine if they are an historical case.”

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 62 and the total number of confirmed cases is 1,832.

There have been 1,426,787 Covid-19 tests to date processed in the country.

UK variant detected

The ministry has confirmed that an additional two cases of Covid-19 have been found to match the recently identified UK variant of Covid-19 known as 20B/501Y.V1 (Lineage

B.1.1.7). Both arrived from the United Kingdom via the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, it said.

This brings the total number of (Lineage B.1.1.7) variant cases sequenced in New Zealand to eight.

“These people are all cared for with the same high level of infection prevention measures as all Covid-19 positive cases, with daily health checks and use of PPE. Infection prevention control protocols are in place for all staff and we can assure the public that there is no increased risk to the community.

“The UK variant is more transmissible than other variants of the virus but there is no evidence at this stage that the length of the infection period is any different to any other variant of Covid-19, nor is it more likely to produce severe illness.

“All cases detected in managed isolation must meet the recovered case definition before being allowed to leave the facility as assessed by the medical team. This includes a period of at least 72 hours without any symptoms and a minimum of 10 days since symptom onset or a positive test.”

The ministry said it would continue to monitor overseas developments very closely through the holiday period.

It is also reminding New Zealanders to remain vigilant “so we can continue to enjoy the conditions which we are lucky enough to be living under today”.

The ministry will provide another update on Sunday 10 January.

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