There are no cases of Covid-19 in the community today and no new cases in managed isolation centers.
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This afternoon, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins provided an update on the government’s response to the Australian tourist’s case in Wellington .
The Wellington area went to Alert Level 2 yesterday after a tourist from Sydney tested positive for the virus.
Hipkins says they’re still waiting for genomic sequencing for the case.
But he says the person’s partner is asymptomatic and his test results have come back negative. The person is also back in Australia.
The tourist’s four close contacts in New Zealand have already been identified and their tests have also come back negative.
Today, there are no positive cases of Covid-19 in the community, Hipkins says.
Bloomfield says there are also no cases to report today in managed isolation.
He says NSW officials yesterday confirmed an epidemiological link to the Bondi cluster.
“It’s reassuring, it confirms and matches the infection pattern the person was familiar with and the test results roughly confirm this link to the Sydney outbreak.”
He says they are awaiting full genome sequencing, including confirmation of the variant later today.
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The case partner received his first dose of the vaccine about three weeks ago.
Hipkins says all schools and early learning services are open and people should attend unless they are sick.
“We expect that the number of close contacts and casual contacts that we ask to be tested will increase as the contact tracing effort continues and the results of all this work, including the results of the tests, will increase. will help guide a decision when Cabinet meets to consider these alert levels. “
Cabinet meets to review alert levels on Sunday morning.
Almost 7,000 tests were processed yesterday, including around 2,100 in the Wellington area. This is about five times the number of tests processed the day before.
He says the current wait time for system-wide testing is around 10 to 15 minutes.
Hipkins says many GPs also perform tests, but people need to call first so people taking the tests can follow their protocols – they’ll have specific places people should go.
“A higher demand for testing is a good thing, to be expected … if you are not one of the people in the places of interest and you are not showing symptoms, please ensure that the tests are available for those who fall into these categories. “
Meanwhile, sewage analyzes are now carried out daily in Wellington.
Bloomfield said Monday’s results were negative: “We are now approaching five days since the case was in Wellington.”
There are more than 50 test sites in the Wellington area, according to Bloomfield. There will be an additional test site in the central city established later today or tomorrow, he says, and more information will be available on that.
He says the capacity today is around 3,500 tests, tomorrow it will be 4,500 more tests that can be done in a single day.
Yesterday was the fourth biggest day in the history of the Healthline service, he said. There was a really long wait yesterday, but they’re working really, really hard to reduce that wait, says Hipkins.
By 8 a.m., around 420 contacts had been identified as contacts either by calling Healthline or showing up for testing after visiting a place of interest. This includes the 58 passengers who arrived on the Qantas flight early Saturday with the deal. All but five of those 58 were interviewed and seven returned to Australia.
No one who took the flight back to Sydney on Monday has returned to New Zealand, Bloomfield said.
Bloomfield says more than 250 people have received a push notification from the app after logging in to places of interest. He says usage of the app increased by around 100,000 scans yesterday.
“I think we could develop this exponentially… scan, scan, scan, you never know when it might be needed.”
Bloomfield says the Jack Hackett and Four Kings bars – located on different floors of the same building – are both places of interest and share a QR code. He says people who were in those places at the time of interest should follow the advice on the website.
He also says that some QR codes are specific to individual rooms in buildings.
He says the Sector 70 notice in place right now imposes a legal obligation on people who were at places of interest at the designated times to follow government instructions. It’s enforceable, he said.
Hipkins says at this point that he thinks the list of places of interest is complete. “From what we now know… the list is the complete list.”
Some people have said that the information and advice given to people who may have been in places of interest is sometimes contradictory or confusing. Hipkins says getting everyone the right information is a challenge, but the Department of Health’s website has the authoritative list of locations and what to expect from people who have been there.
Bloomfield says that for a short period of time the advice included “closed” or “occasional more” contact information, but that is no longer the case.
“In fact, even in our internal meetings, we talk about groups based on what is asked of them. There are people who are asked to self-isolate for 14 days and be tested multiple times. There are people who are asked to self-isolate, get tested and wait for that negative result. Of course, there are also people who can simply be asked to watch for symptoms for 14 days. But we don’t attach labels to these groups of people. “
When people have been to places of interest, they should contact the authorities, Hipkins says.
Bloomfield says that even if people return a negative result, the advice is very clear: “Continue to monitor for symptoms for this full 14 day period from the first exposure, and if you do have symptoms, isolate and retest. -the.
Hipkins says that information about who gets tested and why tends to come in and be gathered when the results come in. Bloomfield says so far that a number of people have identified themselves as symptomatic.
Fiji and the trans-Tasman bubble
Hipkins says the information sharing with Australia has been comprehensive.
“They are treating this matter as part of a growing epidemic in Sydney, but they are working closely with us.”
On Fiji, Bloomfield says it’s not up to him to say whether Fiji will be able to bring its Covid-19 outbreak under control.
“I think it will be a challenge for them and a big goal… is vaccination. We are working as fast as possible to make sure that our approval of AstraZeneca passes and that we wait over the next few weeks, and we ‘are able to secure deliveries from AstraZeneca in the country and donate them to Fiji and other countries. “
Hipkins says Australia is helping deliver vaccines to Fiji in the meantime.
Bloomfield said the department will consider whether further steps need to be taken for travel with other Australian states as well.
Hipkins says the Cook Islands bubble is still open. He understands that a few people were taken from a flight to the Cook Islands to be interviewed before going there based on the information they provided on their travel form.
On the new vaccine reservation system, Bloomfield says it allows people to book on behalf of someone else, but they need all of their information and at this point reservations cannot be made for entire groups, they must be done individually. However, efforts are being made to vaccinate people who come in groups to be vaccinated.
Hipkins says some vendors have become “gangbusters” and have booked more vaccinations than they expected to access vaccines. This was after reports were requested from some Maori vaccination centers in Taranaki to scale back their vaccination efforts.
“Unfortunately, we can’t just produce more vaccine out of nowhere… these suppliers who want to go faster, which is why we say you can’t go faster.”
Bloomfield says normal vaccine delivery is on Tuesday, with a report on Wednesday. Last week’s delivery arrived on Thursday, which is why it did not appear in the stats.
Hipkins says DHB is “sticking to the plan” on vaccines rather than moving forward.
“We are going to live for a few weeks a pretty day-to-day existence with regard to the vaccines that are coming in and we are pushing them back as quickly as possible… we have made the decision to reduce our vaccine stocks to nothing so that we can continue the vaccine. vaccination campaign, but it creates a lot of pressure on the people doing it and some risk if there is a delay in the arrival of any of the consignments. “
Earlier today, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson warned that a longer Level 2 in Wellington could cost the economy $ 10 million.