Covid-19 · 22 Oct 2020

Covid Update: Two New Imported Cases

News Desk

News Desk


Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says there are two new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, both found in managed isolation.

Dr Bloomfield has announced the new cases at today’s Ministry of Health update. It followed news last night that a person with Covid-19 went to an Auckland pub on Friday.

He says anyone who was in The Malt pub in Auckland’s North Shore on Friday night and their household contacts should self-isolate and get tested. He says people should remain in isolation until they get their results.

Watch the announcement here:

Health Minister Chris Hipkins told RNZ’s Morning Report today the infected person who went to The Malt pub in Auckland’s North Shore on Friday was exposed to Covid-19 on the same day, making the risk of infection to patrons low.

Dr Bloomfield also played down the risks to the wider public, saying while he did not have the numbers on how many people attended he believes the number is not high.

“This is not a pub that’s in the centre of Queen Street … you have to make an effort to get there in the sense it’s accessible by car or taxi or uber.

“It was packed, but it’s not a huge establishment is my understanding.”

He says that person developed symptoms on Sunday night, so Friday night was right at the beginning of when they may have been infectious.

A family member of a person who tested positive also attended Rangitoto College briefly after being tested, Dr Bloomfield says, but the risk to the community has been assessed as low by Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

The student tested negative, hence the low risk, he says. They then went home and self-isolated. Dr Bloomfield says information has gone out to the college as part of reassurance.

“If you are contacted by public health staff either in Auckland or anywhere in the country and asked to be tested because you are are a possible contact please do that promptly and remain in isolation until you have that result … monitor your health for the full two weeks.”

Public health reminders ahead of long weekend

Dr Bloomfield confirmed there is no alert level 1.5, and says at this point and time the ministry is not advising moving up an alert level.

For the country to move up an alert level the ministry would have to see cases not being able to be linked to the cases that are known, says Dr Bloomfield. It will be reviewed, but if New Zealand does the right things over the long weekend then we won’t need to move up, he says.

“There are things we can and should be doing before we move up alert levels,” he says.

Otago University professor Sir David Skegg told RNZ’s Nine to Noon today that Labour weekend travel poses a risk to the country’s current level 1 restrictions.

Dr Bloomfield says whatever you do, wherever you go, record where you have been, and scan the QR codes. He says this is especially important over the long weekend and urged people who have fallen out of the habit of using the Covid tracer app to take it up again.

“Remember this virus does not take breaks.”

  • Record where you have been, scan QR codes
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Think about physical distancing and have good cough etiquette
  • Use masks on public transport and on flights
  • If you are stick stay home and get a test for Covid-19

He says there will be testing available throughout the country during the long weekend and if people are in doubt to ring Healthline. He urges people who are sick not to attend gatherings.

Today’s Covid-19 numbers

Dr Bloomfield says the first of today’s new imported cases arrived on 19 October from the Netherlands via Dubai and the second arrived on 21 October from Doha.

Both cases were tested on arrival, he says, having developed symptoms during the flight. They have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

A person on board a ship off Port Chalmers also had a weak positive result. This person has since been found to be a past confirmed case in India, and is not a threat right now, Dr Bloomfield says.

“They are not considered a case for New Zealand reporting purposes and the person is not considered to be infectious so presents no risk and all other crew returned a negative test,” he says.

The total number of active cases is 58. That includes the 18 fishers from Russia and Ukraine who have tested positive for Covid-19 at the hotel in Christchurch.

The fishing crew members are being re-tested today for day six testing, he says, and genome testing for them is expected to be returned on Saturday.

The total number of cases overall is 1558. There were 7083 tests processed yesterday.

Dr Bloomfield strongly encourages people to use masks on public transport and on flights. He says he wears a mask himself in those situations.

People who visited the pub in Greenhithe on Friday, 16 October are being asked to self-isolate and get tested.

Yesterday the ministry announced 25 new cases of Covid-19, 23 at the border and two in the community.

The two community cases were connected to the port worker who was reported as testing positive on Sunday.

Source: Republished by arrangement.