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COVID-19: Six new cases in managed isolation

File photo.

The Ministry of Health have reported six cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation since their last statement yesterday.

One of these cases is classified as historical and deemed not infectious.

There are no new cases in the community.

New border case details

Arrival date

From

Via

Positive test day/reason

Managed isolation/quarantine location

9 Jan

South Africa

United Arab Emirates and Malaysia

Around day 8/contact of a case

Auckland

14 Jan

USA

Around day 0/routine testing

Christchurch

Note: This person has a previous history overseas of COVID-19 like illness; returned a weak positive at Day 0 and re-test Day 1; serology test showed presence of antibodies and, taken together, are all indicative of an historical infection.

15 Jan

USA

Around day 0/routine testing

Christchurch

15 Jan

United Kingdom

Singapore

Around day 1/routine testing

Auckland

United Kingdom

Singapore

Around day 1/routine testing

Auckland

Note: The above two cases travelled together.

15 Jan

United Kingdom

Singapore

Around day 1/routine testing

Auckland

 

Three previously reported cases have now recovered. The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 85. The total number of confirmed NZ cases is 1,906.

 

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,465,758.

 

On Sunday, 1,868 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 3,513 tests processed.

 

No additional UK or South Africa variants have been identified in genome sequencing from the latest weekly sequencing run by ESR and reported to the Ministry. Due to a post-holiday season related lag, positive samples from Auckland were not included in this sequencing run and will be sequenced and reported on Wednesday.

 

All travellers arriving into New Zealand - excluding Australia, Antarctica, and some Pacific nations - are required to have day 0/1 tests and stay in their rooms until the result is known. This requirement will be progressively introduced over three days starting today.

 

Transit passengers to Fiji

 

The Ministry has been contacted by Fiji’s health authorities due to two people presenting positive for COVID-19 on day 12 testing in Nadi. The two passengers had transited through Doha, Brisbane via Auckland on December 24 2020.

 

“There are robust procedures in place for passengers transiting through New Zealand in place at our airports,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson. “Transiting passengers remain airside at the airport and border staff apply the same precautions to them that they do to all passengers including PPE, physical distancing and infection prevention and control procedures.

 

“We have confirmed that of the passengers from the Doha/Brisbane flight whose final destination was Auckland, all have completed managed isolation with no positive cases reported.”

 

Norway vaccine programme

 

Medsafe is aware of reports about a number of deaths in elderly people in Norway who had received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. It’s reported that the deaths occurred in very frail patients who may have had only weeks or months to live, and that further investigation into these deaths will take place.

 

“We are closely monitoring this situation as well as the results of the vaccine rollout out in other countries, including reported reactions and the overall safety profile of the vaccine,” says a Medsafe spokesperson. “This includes the frequency of some reactions, the severity, and any previously unknown reactions. This monitoring will add to the clinical data we expect to receive from Pfizer.”

 

Medsafe will stay in contact with the European Medicines Agency as the vaccine rollout continues and will also continue to work with Pfizer and other companies producing vaccines.

 

As with all medicines, Medsafe will thoroughly evaluate the COVID-19 vaccines to make sure they are safe, effective and appropriate for use in New Zealand.

 

The Norwegian Medicines Agency reports that their Institute of Public Health guidelines have been updated to include more detailed advice on vaccinating the frail elderly.

 

“In New Zealand vaccine safety and efficacy is the priority. No vaccine will be made available for public use in New Zealand until it has completed Medsafe’s assessment process and been approved as safe for use here.”

 

Saliva testing

 

The Ministry of Health and ESR have been looking into the potential role of saliva PCR testing as part of further strengthening NZ’s existing testing regime at the border.

 

In parallel, ESR is about to commence saliva testing of Air New Zealand aircrew as part of research into testing for COVID-19. This research, which complements current work underway with the Ministry, will be provided to the Ministry of Health.

 

“It is important that any new testing methods are appropriate for the New Zealand context and fit with other initiatives to protect New Zealanders from COVID-19,” says a Ministry of Health spokesperson. “Saliva testing is considered a good additional option for those that require frequent testing, such as border workers, where saliva based testing can complement regular nasopharyngeal testing.”

 

Using the PCR nasopharyngeal swabbing method is considered the gold standard for COVID testing as it detects the virus the most effectively. Border workers in New Zealand will continue to be tested on a regular, routine basis with the nasopharyngeal swabs due to their high sensitivity in detecting the virus.

 

NZ COVID Tracer

 

NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,447,415 registered users.

 

Poster scans have reached 154,588,750 and users have created 6,247,170 manual diary entries.

 

 

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