Wellington residents on alert after weak positive Covid wastewater test

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Sun, 16 May 2021, 1:48PM
(Photo / 123RF)
(Photo / 123RF)

Wellington residents on alert after weak positive Covid wastewater test

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Sun, 16 May 2021, 1:48PM

Health authorities have encouraged anyone with coronavirus symptoms to get tested promptly after a Wellington wastewater sample tested weak positive for the virus.

This also applied to people who had recently visited Wellington.

Late on Friday, ESR reported the weak positive result from a Wellington wastewater sample. "A follow-up sample yesterday returned a second weak positive result," the Ministry of Health added in today's Covid update.

"Based on our experience, it is most likely that the two weak positive results are due to recently recovered cases continuing to shed the virus."

In recent weeks, three recovered cases who live in the Wellington region have left the Auckland quarantine facility at the Jet Park hotel.

A further historical case left a Wellington managed isolation facility the same day the second wastewater sample was taken.

There was one new case of Covid to report today in MIQ.

There was no official update yesterday and no new cases on Friday, aside from one historical case in managed isolation.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border was two.

Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Australian state of Victoria remained open on Friday, despite a new community case in the state.

The Ministry of Health said the public health risk to New Zealand from the community case in Melbourne announced on Tuesday was low.

But anyone who was at one of the locations of interest in Melbourne at the specified time cannot travel to New Zealand for 14 days from exposure.


Anyone already in New Zealand who had been at a location of interest in Melbourne during the time specified, has been urged to call Healthline for advice on isolating and testing.

The ministry's contact tracing team is contacting by email about 4500 passengers who recently travelled from Victoria to New Zealand to remind them of the above measures.

The ministry's public health team remains in contact with its counterparts in Australia about the situation in Melbourne.

Two people in New Zealand have contacted Healthline and identified themselves as casual contacts.


One person, who was symptomatic, has been tested and has returned a negative result. Upon assessment by public health staff, the second person didn't need a test.

The Section 70 public health order has been updated to include the new locations of interest in Melbourne. It requires anyone at one of the locations of interest as the specified times to self-isolate and get tested as required.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday shut down the idea that New Zealand will return to life under Covid-19 alert level 2.5 when borders open.

That came after director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield floated a future vision that opening up the country's borders to vaccinated tourists could require Kiwis to return to alert level 2.5.

Speaking on Newstalk ZB show Mornings with Kerre McIvor on Friday, Ardern said it would more likely be a "1.5 environment".

"I spoke to [Bloomfield] and he said he was referencing more a 1.5 environment, with things like QR code scanning, those kind of things we need to be aware of on a day-to-day in that transition period," Ardern said.

Ardern's comments came in response to a caller who was worried the country was now being restricted to gatherings of 10 again.

Ardern was quick to say that was not the case, saying it was a discussion about creating extra "buffers" when we do open the borders, which could be at the end of this year depending on vaccination rates.

She said there was no suggestion that for three to five years New Zealand would be in a constant level of a 2.5 environment.

"A lot of it is going to come down to how many people we have vaccinated. The more people we have vaccinated, the more freedom we can have."

She said in the same way the country had immunisations for measles, there were still outbreaks from time to time and it was necessary to contain those.

Ardern also said she would be getting her first Covid-19 vaccination "soon" before she heads to Australia to lead a trade and promotional delegation.