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News / Today there are two new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

Today there are two new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

Today there are two new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

Posted June 16, 2020
Health

Media Release: Ministry of Health

Two women from the same family, one in her 30s and the other in her 40s, who recently arrived from the UK via Australia have today been confirmed with COVID-19.

Both women arrived in New Zealand together on 7 June, stayed in a managed isolation hotel in Auckland and were permitted on compassionate grounds to leave managed isolation to travel to Wellington via private vehicle on 13 June.

There was an agreed plan in place as part of the compassionate grounds, including for the travel. Both women have followed all the conditions of the plan ‐ including not having any contact with anyone on the journey or using any public facilities.

One woman experienced mild symptoms, the other was symptom-free.

Both presented for testing at a Wellington community assessment centre (CBAC) as part of their agreed self-isolation plan.

Following today’s positive results, local public health staff are testing and isolating all others who may be at risk of exposure. In this case, it is one additional family member.

Potential contacts include people on the same flight from Brisbane, and people who are in or have been in the same managed isolation facility, including staff. The contact follow-up is being managed by the national contact tracing unit at the Ministry of Health, with support from the local DHBs.

Staff at the isolation facility who had close contact during the period the women were there will be stood down and tested. Footage from the period when the women transited through Customs and Immigration at Auckland Airport is also being reviewed. Any staff at the border who are considered possible close contacts will also be stood down and tested.

Public Health staff have been in contact with their counterparts in Australia so they can take appropriate action for passengers on the flight the two women were on from the UK to Brisbane.

Both women are self isolating in the Wellington region. We are confident this is the best place for them to be right now.

The family has asked for their privacy to be respected.

“A new case is something we hoped we wouldn’t get but is also something we have expected and planned for,” says the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

“That’s why we have geared up our contact tracing and testing capability to be able to respond rapidly.

“We know there are people continuing to come to New Zealand from countries where there is active community spread of COVID-19. This is managed through our requirement for two weeks in isolation at the border.”

Recent changes to managed isolation will see everyone being tested on days 3 and 12. Anyone granted compassionate dispensation must have tested negative before they can leave managed isolation.

“Compassionate exemptions are only granted if a detailed plan for self isolation, testing and health checks in the community is agreed. Everyone that is granted exemptions is assumed to present a risk of COVID-19 and all precautions are taken to manage that risk.

“We have great sympathy for families dealing with bereavements, although today’s news underscores a recent decision to not grant exemptions to attend funerals or tangihanga.”

More details about the response and any advice to the public around the case will be provided in subsequent updates.

The total number of confirmed cases is now 1,156, which is the number reported to the World Health Organization.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases is now 1,506.

The number of recovered cases remains at 1,482.

There are no additional deaths to report.

There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.

Yesterday laboratories completed 1527 tests, bringing the total completed to date to 312,648.

Health precautions - Level 1
As we continue to move through Level 1, it’s important to keep going with the health behaviours that have helped us stay safe so far.

Often during winter, people with a mild cold might try to carry on with work or going out in public, but please this year - if you’re sick, stay home.

Also remember to always wash and dry your hands thoroughly, or use hand sanitiser. Good cough and sneeze etiquette is really important too.

It’s good news that respiratory infections are currently at low levels and this reflects the increased hygiene practices we’ve all become so aware of.

During Level 1, businesses will continue to play a very important role in maintaining these by actions such as making hand sanitiser available and by cleaning high contact points such as door handles.

A reminder that anybody with symptoms that could be COVID-19 should call Healthline, their GP or after-hours clinic about getting a test - which is free.