Person linked to Covid-19 community cases tests positive

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There are seven new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

Watch the the briefing from Hipkins and Dr Bloomfield here:

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said six are in managed isolation and one is a community case related to the recent outbreak in Auckland.

The new case is the mother and wife of the two community cases who tested positive last Wednesday.

She was tested on 27 and 30 January and again on the 1 and 2 February. She returned a positive result on 2 February.

Arrangements are being made to move her to the Auckland quarantine facility.

Health officials were continuing to investigate the details, Hipkins said.

There were 5130 Covid tests processed yesterday.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the good numbers of testing in Auckland and Northland was reassuring as the country headed into Waitangi weekend.

“It is pleasing to see the ongoing good volumes of testing happening in the community, particularly in Auckland and around Northland, which continues to provide us with a level of reassurance that we haven’t seen any community transmission from those three and now four cases that we have found over the last couple of weeks. I think that’s particularly reassuring as we head in to this weekend’s long weekend Waitangi holiday break.”

There are some close contacts of the woman (Case D), who are also close contacts of Case B and C (the cases who tested positive last week) – they are all self-isolating, he said.

Bloomfield said close contacts of all three cases were not expected to return positive test results, nevertheless, they were self-isolating.

Of the six new cases in managed isolation, three tested positive on day 1 of the routine test.

The Pullman Hotel in Auckland will be emptied by Saturday.

Over the following week its CCTV systems would be upgraded, followed by a deep clean, Hipkins said.

There was no decision yet on when the hotel would resume as an MIQ facility.

Vaccination strategy

He said New Zealand had over-ordered vaccines, but unused vaccines could be passed on to other countries via the WHO’s Covax facility.

Hipkins said New Zealand’s ‘decision to use’ framework was based on science.

People will not have a choice of which vaccine to take. The government will decide which vaccine would be best for which sections of the population.

Hipkins said the government had not ruled out procuring other vaccines if they proved to be more effective.

Bloomfield said: “There is much more work to do. The ministry and the health system is working at pace on the timeline and logistics for the massive exercise to vaccinate not just our first group, our border work force, but of course to ensure that all New Zealanders are able to receive a vaccination by the end of this calendar year.”

Details on MIQ death

Earlier today it was also revealed that a person died at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Auckland yesterday.

A managed isolation and quarantine spokesperson said it was a non-Covid medical incident.

It was an RSE worker coming to New Zealand.

Yesterday there were three new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand’s managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

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