Covid 19 coronavirus: Four new cases in managed isolation

There are four new Covid-19 cases today in managed isolation.

There are no new community cases today.

Of the four new border cases:

• One arrived from Qatar via Australia on 5 November and tested positive at routine testing around day 12 of their stay in managed isolation.
• Two arrived from the UK via Qatar and Australia on 12 November and tested positive at routine testing around day 3 of their stay in managed isolation.
• One arrived from France via Qatar and Australia on 12 November and tested positive at routine testing around day 3 of their stay in managed isolation.

Defence Force cluster

It has now been 14 days since authorities reported a Defence Force worker (Case A) at the Jet Park hotel had tested positive for Covid.

“While it is encouraging that during this time we have only identified another four cases of Covid-19 that are all connected to Case A, it has not yet been 14 days since the last identified cases – Case D and Case E – were out in the community,” the Ministry of Health said.

Case D is the AUT student who tested positive last week and Case E is a neighbour who lives in the same building on Vincent Street in Auckland’s CBD.

“While we know Case A and Case D have an identical genome, and that means Case D most likely caught Covid-19 from Case A, despite extensive investigation we have not yet been able to identify the exposure event that links these two people epidemiologically,” the ministry said.

“Auckland Regional Public Health Service continues to pursue every possible angle on this source investigation,”

After more than 15,000 Aucklanders flooded to testing stations over the weekend, questions still remain how an inner-city resident contracted the infection from a Defence Force worker stationed at a quarantine facility.

There are currently 61 active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand. These include cases from the November Defence Force cluster that saw the virus breach the border and spread into the community. To date, five people have tested positive in the genomically linked group.

Yesterday proved a significant day in the country’s Covid response, with the Government announcing that from Thursday all people in Auckland would be required to wear face masks on public transport.

It also included compulsory mask-wearing on all flights across New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also said the Government was looking into extending the mask mandate to the entire country.

But as yet there was no timeline, with officials keeping a close eye on uptake in Auckland.

When the new mask rules become official this week, they will be included in the level 1 alert settings.

The rules do not apply to people using Ubers or taxis, with only the drivers required to wear a mask.

Children and young people travelling to and from school are also exempt from face-covering requirements on school buses and other school transport.

The rules can be enforced by police, but Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the focus would be on education.

With a fresh community outbreak mainly centred in Auckland, the Prime Minister said the city was earmarked for mask-wearing given there was more of a border workforce living in the city.

The Ministry of Health has now matched the latest community case, a neighbour of an AUT student, to the infected woman.

Officials were still working to investigate how the student – known as “Case D” – caught the virus from the Defence Force serviceman who visited a cafe 82m from where she worked at a clothing boutique.

So far 11 close contacts of the neighbour, who is also known as “Case E”, have been tested and nine of those have already returned a negative test.Two results are still pending.

Case E, earlier identified as a close contact of Case D, was already in quarantine when they were confirmed as a case.

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