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LIVE: Seven new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

Minister of Health Chris Hipkins. Image: RNZ.

UPDATED: There are seven new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today.

One is an imported case in managed isolation and the other six cases are linked to the Auckland community cluster.

The case at the border is a woman in her 20s who arrived in New Zealand from Turkey via London and Hong Kong. She tested positive around day three in managed isolation and is in quarantine at the Sudima in Christchurch, says Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay.

Of the six cases one is linked to the cluster through a workplace and the other five are household contacts of previously reported cases, she says.

One of the positive cases is a student at Mount Albert Grammar school and has not been at school since August 12, says Caroline.

There are 159 people linked to the Auckland cluster that have been moved to the quarantine facility including 85 people who have tested positive for Covid-19.

By this morning the contact tracing team had identified 2,455 close contacts of cases, of which 2,404 have been contacted and are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest, says Caroline.

There are 10 people in hospital with the virus, two are in Auckland City, three at North Shore Hospital, four in Middlemore and one in Waikato Hospital.

Two people are in intensive care, one in Middlemore and one in the North Shore.

Fifteen people have now recovered from Covid-19 so the total number of active cases in New Zealand is 126 with 11 of these cases imported.

The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is now 1,351.

Yesterday laboratories processed 9,257 tests for Covid-19, which brings the total number of tests completed to date to 719,320.

There are now eight positive cases associated with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church.

Caroline is encouraging anybody who was at the services held at the church on Stoddard Road on August 8, 9 and 11 and a wedding on August 7 to isolate and seek a test.

All of the eight cases have links to each other and attended common events, she says.

Guidelines on mask wearing

Minister of Health Chris Hipkins has provided clarification around wearing face coverings on public transport.

From Monday it will be compulsory for everyone aged 12 and over to wear a face covering on public transport and planes under Alert Level 2 and above, with certain exemptions for health, disability and practicality reasons.

““The advice from health officials is clear – the use of face coverings can reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19, particularly where it is hard to maintain physical distance from others. Masks and face coverings do not replace physical distancing – they complement other public health measures,” says Hipkins.

He says face coverings do not need to be worn on school buses, chartered buses or inter island ferries.

They also do not need to be worn by passengers in taxis or rideshare services, but drivers will need to wear masks, he says.

Drivers are not obliged to deny people entry as some people will have a legitimate reason for not wearing a mask, he says, and the minor public health gain from wearing masks in taxis and ride shares does not offset the difficulty to enforce.

People with a disability will not need to wear a mask.

“We do not have a mask wearing culture here in New Zealand so it will take time to get used to.

“We ask people to wear a mask as they would a seatbelt.”

He says in the early stages people need to be kind and cooperative.

Hipkins encourages people to have a stock of reusable masks so they can be washed between uses.

EARLIER: The Minister of Health Chris Hipkins and Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay will provide an update on Covid-19 at 1pm today.

Yesterday there were five new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

Two of the community cases are a contact of known cases and one is under investigation, says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

There are 134 active cases of the virus and 21 of those cases are imported, this brings the total number of confirmed cases to 1344.

Of the two new imported cases one is a female in her 50s and the other is a male in his 30s, both of these people are in the quarantine facility in Auckland.

There are 2422 close contacts of the community cluster identified and 2368 of those people have been contacted, he says.

Five people associated with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church have tested positive, says Ashley.

Anyone who was at the services held at the church on Stoddard Road on August 8, 9 and 11 and a wedding on August 7 should be isolating and seek a test, he says.

There are 163 people linked to the Auckland cluster that have been moved to the quarantine facility including 90 people who have tested positive, says Ashley.

There are nine people receiving hospital care for Covid-19, two of these people are in Auckland City, three are in North Shore with one of these people in ICU.

There are four people in Middlemore Hospital and two of these people are in ICU in a critical condition.

Yesterday there were 8559 test processed which brings the total number of tests done so far to 710,063.

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