4 new border cases; recent increase in Covid cases 'expected' says Health Ministry

By Te Ao - Māori News

There are four new cases of Covid-19 to report in managed isolation in New Zealand since Sunday's update.

There are no new cases in the community.

New cases

6 January

- One case arrived from Russia via Singapore and tested positive during routine testing around day 3. This person is in a quarantine facility in Christchurch.

- One case arrived from Russia via Singapore and tested positive around day 0. This person is in Christchurch quarantine.

- One case arrived from Russia via the United Arab Emirates and tested positive about day 3. They are in quarantine in Christchurch.

The three cases are part of the group of international mariners reported on Sunday.

In total, 14 positive Covid-19 cases have been identified in this group: eight are deemed historical; three are new active cases; and further testing of the three new cases reported today may determine if they are also historical cases, the Ministry of Health said.

9 January

- One case arrived from the United Kingdom via the United Arab Emirates and tested positive during routine testing around day 1. This person has been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

Active cases

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is now 77.

Covid-19 variants

The ministry said, current research suggests the UK variant B.1.1.7 variant is around one and a half times more transmissible than previous variants but there is no evidence at this stage that the length of the infection period is any different to any other variant of Covid-19, nor is there evidence that it causes more severe illness.

Increased cases

The recent increase in Covid-19 cases at New Zealand’s borders is expected, given case numbers continue to increase globally, the ministry said.

"We are also expecting to see more historical cases being detected in managed isolation due to an increasing number of people becoming infected and recovering before travelling to New Zealand. While these individuals may still have residual viral particles in their nasopharynx, which are picked up by our tests, they are no longer considered to be infectious.

"Anyone who has tested positive must meet the recovered case definition before being allowed to leave the facility as assessed by the medical team. This includes a period of at least 72 hours without any symptoms and a minimum of 10 days since symptom onset or a positive test."

Since 1 January 2021 people arriving from the US and UK are tested on arrival and required to stay in their room until they return a negative test result.

In addition, pre-departure testing will start to come into effect later this week (11.59 pm NZT on 15 January 2021) with the aim of reducing the number of cases of Covid-19 arriving in New Zealand, the ministry said.