Last Updated on June 30, 2021 by MyGh.Online
There are still no new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, which means it now looks fairly unlikely there will be a major outbreak, an epidemiologist says.
Thousands of people in the Wellington region have been tested for Covid in recent days, all returning negative tests.
There is no sign of community transmission in the capital, despite the visit last weekend of a Sydney man who later tested positive.
In its 1pm update today, Ministry of Health said the country’s only new cases are four in managed isolation – the people who tested positive had flown in from India, Indonesia, Dominica and Ghana.
Nick Wilson said that was encouraging.
“The person involved was vaccinated, his contacts have all tested negative, the thousands of people now in Wellington who have been tested are all negative and the wastewater results are all negative,” Wilson said.
“It’s still going to be a few days before we can be really sure, but this is very good news so far.”
More than 2200 people are now known to be contacts of the man from New South Wales (NSW) who visited Wellington between 18 and 21 June, before he tested positive for Covid-19.
Ministry of Health said 1441 of those have tested negative.
One thousand four hundred and twenty of the 2200 contacts must isolate until a day five negative test, and the rest must isolate for 14 days and have at least two tests.
Last night, it was confirmed the Sydney man with Covid-19 has the Delta variant – considered twice as contagious as the original strain.
Following long queues on Wednesday, Wellington testing centres visited by RNZ reporters today were found to be very quiet.
Those who need to be tested have been asked to make a booking first, by contacting Healthline on 0800-358-5453.
Otago University professor and epidemiologist Michael Baker said the arrival of the more contagious strain of Covid-19 is a “wake-up call” for the country.
New Zealand needed to be at the top of its game with pandemic control, as the Delta variant has hit Australia hard, he said.
“So there’s a very strong message there for New Zealand – that we will get exposed to this virus again and we really have to improve our performance in every aspect of our pandemic control.”
Baker said the alert level system should be upgraded, and masks should be required indoors at level 2, since the Delta variant is airborne.
Epidemiologist Nick Wilson also said the alert level system needed to be upgraded – including mandatory QR code scanning.
Australian travellers transferred to MIQ
Two Australian arrivals have been transferred to MIQ after flying in to New Zealand quarantine-free.
The Ministry of Health said both arrived yesterday and are thought to be low-risk, but will get the normal MIQ tests and spend 14 days in managed isolation.
One was in New South Wales before travelling to another part of Australia then flying to New Zealand. They were picked up by New Zealand customs officials.
The other was cleared through the customs e-gates, “and realised soon afterward they may not be eligible for the quarantine free travel,” the ministry statement said.
“They rang Healthline for advice and have also been transferred to MIQ.”
Further NSW lockdown measures announced
Four large areas of Sydney – the City of Sydney, Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra – went into lockdown at midnight, after 22 new local Covid-19 cases were recorded yesterday.
There are now 65 cases linked to the Bondi cluster, which began with an unvaccinated driver who transported international flight crew.
This afternoon, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced further lockdown measures in the state.
Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast are also going into lockdown from 6pm (local time) tonight.
Speaking after a crisis cabinet meeting today, Berejiklian said people in the four areas were required to stay home until Friday, 9 July, unless for four reasons: work or education outside the home if it is necessary, to seek medical attention, for care and compassionate grounds and to purchase essential goods or services.