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Covid-19: Two close contacts isolating in Tauranga

The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Image: RNZ.

Two people from Tauranga are considered close contacts of the person from Sydney who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The two people are isolating and awaiting testing results, the Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says they had "fleeting" interaction with the case.

“Whilst we have those two close contacts in Palmerston North both have tested negative initially and there are no locations of interest or any particular increased risk in Palmerston North or in Tauranga," says Bloomfield.

Watch the live update here:

The person from Sydney visited Wellington from June 19 until June 21 and returned a positive result upon returning home.

Dr Bloomfield says the Sydney Covid-19 case was with his partner and they spent time as tourists.

They have four close contacts including the two in Tauranga, the other two are in Palmerston North, have tested negative and are also isolating.

The Wellington region will move to alert level 2 from 6pm tonight until 11.59pm on Sunday.

In today's 1pm press conference, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says that includes the Wairarapa and the Kāpiti Coast.

The rest of New Zealand will remain at alert level 1.

Alert level 2 means:

  •   •  Limits on gathering size to fewer than 100 people, including tangi, church services, weddings and so on

  •   •  Physical distancing in public places of 2m, and at least 1m in most other places including workplaces

  •   •  Face masks remains mandatory on all public transport, and encourages while waiting for public transport and in rideshare services and taxis as well

  •   •  Businesses can open but must follow public health rules including the 100 person cap on venues

  •   •  Hospitality locations must apply the three S rules

  •   •  As with all levels, people with symptoms should call healthline or their doctor to seek advice on getting a test.

On the person in question, Hipkins says they were likely to have been infected before they travelled to New Zealand.

"I do want to reassure New Zealanders that we've always had plans in place for situations like this and that is what we are working through now. Our contact tracers have been working at pace and they have been since we were first notified of this case last night."

He says the case, who has since returned to Sydney was spoken to last night and again early this morning. Their four close contacts were notified last night, and two have returned negative results.

He also says the decision to pause travel with New South Wales was made before New Zealand officials were notified of the case. When the case left Sydney there were just four cases there, though that number has since grown significantly.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says authorities learned this morning that the new case works in a healthcare setting close to the Bondi junction that is the centre of the current outbreak in Sydney. He says one of the other cases that is part of the current outbreak had been seen there.

The person has had the first dose of a vaccine about 10 weeks ago and thoroughly used the Covid-19 Tracer app while visiting in New Zealand.

"Our hope is that many people who visited those venues that are locations of interest have also been using the app ... however that is complementary to the information that we have put out on our website."

He says the ministry feels confident they have identified all the locations of interest but more specific information will be provided about specific locations at Wellington airport after CCTV has been assessed.

Two of the person's four contacts are located in Palmerston North, and the other two are in Tauranga. Those in Tauranga had a much more fleeting interaction with the case. All four are isolating.

Some 58 passengers who came into New Zealand from Sydney early on Saturday morning are considered close contacts and will have been contacted, Bloomfield says. They would all have been notified last night and be ringing Healthline directly.

Bloomfield says he encourages Wellingtonians and others who have been in Wellington over the weekend to check the places in the locations of interest. Some people will be required to isolate for the full 14 days.

The case stayed at Rydges Hotel in Featherston Street and spent the weekend in tourist and other places around Wellington and dining in the central city. Some of those who were on the return flight to Sydney have since returned to New Zealand and are also being contacted.

The person returned to Sydney on Monday at 10.13am.

Testing sites:

  •   •  Community testing station at 200 Taranaki Street is having extra people brought on board

  •   •  Testing site in the Hutt Valley

  •   •  From the afternoon there will be an additional testing site at the ASB centre in Kilbirnie

  •   •  People should call healthline for advice about where to get tested if they need one

Sewage testing has been taken at the Moa Point site yesterday and results should be available tomorrow.

On today's case numbers, Bloomfield says there are four new cases in managed isolation today.

About 5900 tests were processed yesterday and about 470,000 scans with the app. "We want and need that number to increase," Bloomfield says.

People who have been at these locations at the relevant time should immediately isolate at their home or accommodation and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.

- RNZ

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3 Comments
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Boring v2.0

Posted on 23-06-2021 16:41 | By WSTAKL

Zero known community cases so they raise the alert levels. Only in New Zealand! Other countries a recording hundreds a daily community cases yet the population are still allowed to go on an overseas summer holiday. Time to break free of this hermit nation.

Covert Operations

Posted on 23-06-2021 16:33 | By wayjan

This nonesense is going to become a Life Sentence for New Zealand and other countries globally...because They can and They will, for as long as They please/get away with it!

Boring

Posted on 23-06-2021 14:33 | By

“It’s a beast” is a particular favourite of mine from some Ozzy politician. “It’s a gold medalist at jumping from person to person” is very on trend. Being “scary” or “highly infectious” is just boring now. To keep my attention they need to create some new sayings.