Covid-19: No new cases today, Ministry's school holiday warning

Author
Luke Kirkness, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 28 Sep 2020, 1:12PM
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

Covid-19: No new cases today, Ministry's school holiday warning

Author
Luke Kirkness, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 28 Sep 2020, 1:12PM

New Zealand has no new cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health says.

But as travel increases throughout the country during the school holidays, Kiwis were warned that it was no time to be complacent about the virus.

As well as staying home when ill and getting a test, people should maintain good hygiene practices and sign in when they visit new places, either by the Covid Tracer app or by keeping a record, the ministry said in a statement.

"If you have symptoms and are away from home, call Healthline, who will be able to tell you where you can get a test."

One person is in hospital with Covid-19 at Middlemore Hospital. The patient is in isolation on a general ward.

There are also 18 people isolating in the Auckland quarantine facility from the community, which includes nine who tested positive for the virus and their household contacts.

Public health services are also continuing to contact trace, test and isolate close contacts of the three community cases which were not linked to the Auckland cluster.

There are now 44 close contacts associated with these cases. All are now self-isolating. All but two have returned negative test results and the remaining two results are pending.

The trio is a family group linked to the September 11 chartered flight from Christchurch to Auckland for people leaving a managed isolation facility having completed their 14 day-stay.

Also on the flight was the man who tested positive for Covid-19 at the weekend whose virus is thought to have had a rare three-week incubation period.

Since August 11, the contact tracing team has identified 4075 close contacts of cases, of which 4072 have been contacted and are self-isolating, or have completed self-isolation.

The ministry is in the process of contacting the rest.

"Our total number of active cases is 55; of those, 28 are imported cases in MIQ facilities, and 27 are community cases," the ministry said in a statement.

"Our total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is 1477.

"Yesterday our laboratories processed 3539 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 951,954."

The ministry said it was not unusual to have lower testing figures over the weekend, however, it was a good reminder for Kiwis to not be complacent.

People who were feeling unwell were urged to stay home, call Healthline or their GP, and to get a Covid-19 test.

There are now 2,281,100 users registered on NZ Covid Tracer app, with a total of 77,160,856 poster scans recorded.

The ministry said the National Contact Tracing team would continue issuing exposure notices through the app when appropriate.

"We're aware of a number of people who got tested last week because they received an app notification indicating they'd been at a location during a designated contact time," the ministry said.

"It's great to hear the system is working smoothly and we want to thank these people for getting tested."

There were two new cases yesterday, both in managed isolation. One of the new cases arrived on a flight from Germany on September 21 via the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.

The other person who tested positive arrived in New Zealand on a flight from the Philippines via Taiwan on September 23.

Both individuals tested positive as a result of tests done around day three and have now been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

There were no new cases in the community.

Travel bubble

This morning, reports from Australia revealed a travel bubble between New Zealand and New South Wales could be open within weeks.

Travel inside the bubble would initially only be one-way, with Kiwis heading to Australia, and restricted to those living in the South Island.

Meanwhile, it's expected New South Wales residents would later be able to also travel here by Christmas time.

This morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told TVNZ 1's Breakfast that a state-by-state transtasman bubble was "possible" before Christmas.

News.com.au is reporting the federal government has approached the New South Wales government to discuss different options.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is also talking up the transtasman bubble, saying he's optimistic there could be limited travel between the two countries before Christmas.

Ardern confirmed work had been underway for weeks on the prospect of forming a bubble, and the ability to move between parts of both countries that were not affected by Covid-19.

She told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking earlier discussions with the Australian Prime Minister looked at a "hotspot arrangement" between the two countries.

"We were always open to this. Our view was that we would always be able to get movement between Australia and New Zealand open sooner if they were taking a hotspot or state-by-state approach."

Covid 'falsehoods'

Elsewhere, Act leader David Seymour says the Government is serving up "two massive falsehoods" about the Covid-19 response "to cover up the fact we got lucky".

Seymour claims the Government was making up the Covid-19 response as they went along, he told supporters in Christchurch.

He also said it was "nauseating" to be constantly told we went "hard and early".

"We were the 63rd country to have a case and the Prime Minister wanted an international commemoration of our tragedy in this city a week before we finally decided to lock down."

And he also questioned whether New Zealand really had gold-standard contact tracing.

"The lockdown was initially legally illiterate, making us drive right past struggling local stores, to mix with larger crowds in supermarkets.

"Those in business who tried to help found themselves rebuffed by a government that knew better and an app that didn't work."

Though he did offer Ardern some credit for her leadership through the crisis, saying: "In fact, actually she's good in a disaster - I'd go so far as to call her a disaster Prime Minister."