There are six new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today, the Ministry of Health says.
One of these cases is classified as historical and deemed not infectious. There are no new cases in the community.
Three previously reported cases recovered, bringing total active cases to 85.
Of the new cases, one arrived from South Africa via UAE and Malaysia on 9 January, and was tested as the contact of a previous case.
Four people arrived on 15 January and were tested within a day or two of arrival. One was from the US, and the three others arrived from the UK via Singapore. Two of those from the UK were travelling together.
The historical case arrived from the US on 14 January and was tested on arrival and again the next day after a weak positive result. They had a previous Covid-19-like illness and serology showed presence of antibodies, indicating a previous infection.
Today is also the first day all travellers arriving into New Zealand must be tested on the day they arrive or the day after, and must stay in their rooms until the result is known, as part of new measures to protect against the new more infectious strains from UK and South Africa.
The ministry said none of the new cases had these new variants.
Yesterday, 10 new cases were reported which covered reporting for the previous two-day period.
Covid-19 Recovery Minister Chris Hipkins told Morning Report today that Covid-19 vaccinations should be available to the public by the middle of the year.
The Covid-19 vaccine roll-out will be the largest ever mass immunisation campaign in New Zealand’s history.
The ministry noted that some elderly people who had received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Norway had died. It said the deaths were reported in very frail patients, but further investigations would take place.
Medsafe would thoroughly evaluate the Covid-19 vaccines to ensure they would be appropriate for use in New Zealand, as it does with all medicines, the ministry said.
The ministry and Crown Research Institute ESR were also looking into the use of saliva PCR testing to further strengthen border testing, it said.