Covid-19: Two new cases – one community and one imported

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There are two new cases of Covid-19 today, including one community case and one imported case, the Health Ministry has revealed.

A lab assistant manipulates samples, at a COVID-19 screening centre of Saint Andre Hospital in Bordeaux, on May 20, 2020, as the hospital takes part in an operation of a screening and testing drive of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), organised in the city centre. (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP)

Photo: AFP

There was no media conference today. In a statement, the Health Ministry said the community case is linked to the Auckland August cluster bereavement sub-group.

It is the first community case to be linked to that group in more than a week.

The Ministry said the case is a female in her late teens who was already self-isolating as she was a household contact, epidemiologically linked to the bereavement group.

The imported case is a man in his 40s who returned from Russia on a flight via Turkey and Malaysia on 19 September, and is now at the quarantine facility in Auckland.

Three people are in hospital with the coronavirus at Auckland City, Middlemore and North Shore hospitals. None of them are in ICU.

There are currently 60 active cases – 29 are imported cases in MIQ facilities and 31 are community cases.

The country’s total number of confirmed cases is now 1473.

New Zealand’s laboratories processed 6465 tests yesterday.

Yesterday it was revealed an Auckland family infected with Covid-19 holidayed in Taupō and met up with a group of more than 10 people, despite Aucklanders being urged to take their alert level restrictions with them when travelling.

The cases are linked to a man who tested positive five days after completing managed isolation in Christchurch after flying in from India via Fiji on 26 August.

The man flew home to Auckland from Christchurch on 11 September. Two other people from that flight and a household contact of theirs have subsequently tested positive.

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In today’s statement, the Ministry said there were a total of 35 close contacts associated with these three cases.

“Eight have returned negative test results and the remaining have been or are in the process of being tested. All are now self-isolating.

“Public health services in the relevant regions have been in contact with businesses where individuals may have visited while infectious and will be issuing information to the public as appropriate.”

Three additional community testing centres have been set up – one in Taupō and two in Rotorua.

Asked today about the cases that tested positive after leaving isolation, post returning to New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said:

“[It is] important to note here for these cases, they’ve undertaken testing across that flight. For those that have been tested – which were positive – they have also tested all of their close contacts and they are in isolation. So the normal protocols are in place and working in these cases.

“When it comes to whether or not people need to be in managed isolation longer, we know it’s a very small number who are known to have infection after 14 days but we have asked the Ministry of Health to look at what extra viligance we need to make sure our quarantine is doing the job.

“Here, we know about what has happened here, we’ve been able to track them quickly. Makes it much easier to get in front of the virus.”

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Asked if arrivals from India had to be restricted, Ardern said: “What we have restriction around is who can come. If you are a citizen and a permanent resident you are able to return. We have traversed a number of times the reason for that. We have to enable people who lave a legal right to be here to be able to return. We need to make sure though [that] we have good risk analysis if they are coming from a high risk area.”

Asked if the government would consider putting people coming from high-risk areas into separate facilities, Ardern said:

“The set-up we have is best designed to keep people safe. There would be no higher level of care than we can currently provide in any other type of facility.

“What we are doing is making sure that when people are coming in together from one place that they are in one place together. But what we need to do is a little bit more risk analysis about whether people need to stay longer, extra tests, or longer isolation on release.

“As I have already indicated, we are doing an assessment on whether any of our protocols need to change. When people are leaving quaratine they are given good guidance … about monitoring their health, keeping an eye of course … on where they are going and who they are with.

“We do need to look at… whether anything else needs to be tightened up… we will tighten up the regime if we learn that’s what we need to do.”

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