Wellington Scoop

320 people being checked as “close contacts” of the two new covid-19 patients

News from Ministry of Health
The Director-General of Health has provided updated information around the two new active cases of covid-19 announced yesterday.

“We have always expected that New Zealand would get more cases of COVID-19, especially with more people from overseas coming into the country,” said Dr Ashley Bloomfield. “COVID-19 remains a serious pandemic continuing to affect many countries. We are not immune to further cases arriving on our shores.

“The risk of spread of COVID-19 from these two cases while they were travelling to New Zealand and in the managed isolation facility they were in is low but not impossible, so we are ensuring all steps are in place to mitigate the risk.

“As Director-General of Health, I have overall system responsibility for the health operations of our self-isolation facilities and exemptions. In this instance, these individuals should have been tested prior to leaving the managed isolation facility. I am taking responsibility for ensuring this does not happen again.

“We have put in place a number of actions to provide the public and the Government qirh assurance that anyone arriving into New Zealand does not pose any risk from COVID-19.”

Actions taken to date include:

· Ensuring that no one leaves a managed isolation facility without having had a negative COVID-19 test including those on compassionate grounds
· Ensuring that all people in isolation are tested on around days 3 and 12.

Cases and tracing

The two people reported as confirmed cases yesterday remain in self-isolation and are doing well. There is one family member isolating with them who is being monitored daily by the local public health unit.

The Ministry of Health is managing wider contact tracing from the National Contact Tracing unit.

We are treating anyone on the flight or in the facility at the same time as the cases as if they are close contacts who have potentially been exposed. We are getting them all tested and isolated until a negative result is received.

At this point, there are 320 identified close contacts. The majority of these will have been contacted by the end of the day. All of these people will be encouraged to get a test.

We are confident there was no contact made with anyone on the journey between Auckland and Wellington.

The actions of these two individuals have been exemplary in terms of following health advice and the agreed plan on departure from the facility.

I want to thank them for their cooperation and ask that their privacy continues to be respected.

Our numbers

Today we have no new cases of COVID-19 to report. Our total number of confirmed cases is now 1,156, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization. Our combined total of confirmed and probable cases is now 1,506. The number of recovered cases remains at 1,482. There are no additional deaths to report. There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.

Yesterday our laboratories completed 3,603 tests, bringing the total completed to date to 316,251.


An additional significant cluster – Matamata – has now closed. This means four significant clusters remain open. A cluster is considered to be closed when there have been no new cases for two incubation periods (i.e. 28 days) from the date when all cases have completed isolation.


NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 562,000 registrations – that’s an increase of 4,000 since this time yesterday.

We continue to encourage as many people as possible to download and use the app – this will support our contact tracing efforts in Level 1.

It’s great news that more and more businesses and organisations are displaying their official QR codes. The number of posters created by businesses is now 56,552.

There have been 1,035,154 poster scans to date.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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  1. TrevorH, 17. June 2020, 16:24

    It is surely remarkable that New Zealand, with about 1800 arrivals per week, detected no cases of COVID 19 crossing its borders for 23 days until two women were given an exemption to break quarantine and travel to Wellington, where they tested positive. In the meantime over the same period Australia has detected a dozen or more cases crossing its border. Is there an explanation?

  2. Northland, 17. June 2020, 22:32

    TrevorH I think you are onto something there. Out of 1800 arrivals per week, we would surely expect some small number at least to test positive within quarantine facilities each week. My suspicion is that the quarantine facilities have been running a policy of only testing people who showed symptoms and who also (voluntarily) accepted an offer of a test.

  3. Sensor Light, 18. June 2020, 7:45

    I think you’re right Northland. It also sounds like people without symptoms were allowed to freely move about the isolation facility during their 14 days (if they even made it to 14 days) mixing with recent arrivals before leaving without being tested. I can’t quite believe it.

  4. greenwelly, 18. June 2020, 9:33

    @Northland: When you arrive, you are asked/examined for symptoms, and if you are symptom free you go into “managed self isolation” for 14 days; until last week those in this category were not required to be tested before release. Until the 8th June it was only those with symptoms in “quarantine” who required testing.

  5. Jack Ferguson, 18. June 2020, 13:20

    I wonder where are all those people who were saying the PM was so heartless for not letting people out to attend funerals/see their loved ones. [via twitter]

  6. Andrew, 18. June 2020, 15:18

    So now we see that a Nat MP was lobbying to get these people out of quarantine. Could perhaps bring into focus how so much was known about this whole affair by them and why they didn’t go through the MOH but to parliament to raise questions. I don’t think the right things were done, however you can bet that if a member of parliament is on your case to get something expedited you might skip some steps so as not to appear to be obstructive.

  7. TrevorH, 18. June 2020, 16:45

    @Andrew: the failure to test was not the MP’s fault. The failures appear to be systemic which is probably why the NZDF have been brought in.

  8. Andrew, 18. June 2020, 17:14

    I said that the right things weren’t done and I do believe that. However, as I said, if you are someone who is charged with processing people in this kind of environment and you get leaned on by a politician you may feel pressure to expedite. It also does seem to me that there was a lot of political knowledge about this situation which wasn’t shared with the correct authorities

  9. Rob Suisted, 18. June 2020, 17:32

    So Chris Bishop helped two women he’d never met, who don’t live in his electorate, based on a text message from an acquaintance he hasn’t had contact for in years? Did I just hear that right on Checkpoint ? [via twitter]

  10. Peter Kerr, 18. June 2020, 17:40

    Sorry Trevor, but the National MP must take responsibility for trying to influence an exemption. This is a quarantine; no one should attempt to subvert the process or make exemptions. This MP was from the party that two weeks ago was howling and whining to expedite entry into New Zealand. Trying to be the nice guy who gets things done has back-fired and caused no end of strife. (The situation as it stands now should see us in a Stage 2 alert).
    I am pleased though that the NZDF has been given some control over making quarantine mean what it says. It’s hard to imagine health staff having the discipline or bloody mindedness to order those in quarantine to follow instructions, including, of course, being tested.

  11. Northland, 18. June 2020, 18:05

    @greenwelly – mandatory testing in those facilities should have been instituted long ago considering asymptomatic carriage. It also appears that testing since the 8th June has been a fiasco.

  12. michael, 18. June 2020, 20:38

    Surely when people come back home they must understand they will be required to go into lockdown and, though they may be here because of seriously ill family members, they should be aware of how dozens of kiwis in weeks of lockdown had to sacrifice so much for the benefit of all New Zealanders when they had family ill and/or dying. So why should anyone expect an exemption. And what right has any politician got to try and score points by encouraging exemptions. Kiwis did their bit and are angered by those who have not.

  13. Lili, 18. June 2020, 21:34

    Chris Bishop helped the breaking of social isolation by writing a letter of support for these women. When we were in lockdown, his colleagues wailed about the injustice of people not being allowed to see dying loved ones etc. His party pushed at every stage to move us out of whatever level we were in.

  14. TrevorH, 19. June 2020, 7:24

    @Peter Kerr: it now appears the NZDF have been involved in running the quarantine/isolation system for at least four weeks including the period when the two women were allowed to leave without testing.

  15. Guy M, 19. June 2020, 8:25

    I understand that the nasal swab test for Covid is extremely unpleasant to be subjected to and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone unnecessarily, but what is the reason behind us not giving it to ALL returning kiwis and ALL visiting persons? Is it really just a matter of cost? Since day one of this virus there has been a reluctance in NZ to really ramp up testing. We got the isolation thing right. We still haven’t got the testing thing right. Our natural laidback kiwi inclination is to sit tight and hope for the best, but we can’t just rely on good luck and distance with this one – there shouldn’t be a single person coming into the country who hasn’t tested negative at least twice.

  16. jamie, 19. June 2020, 10:37

    So Lili what is an MP supposed to do? Is he the only MP who has provided representations to MOH? Now that Chris Hipkins has tried the smear campaign there will be OIA requests about who else has advocated on people’s behalf. This is likely to become more embarrassing.
    Stop trying to cover up the bungle we are making of quarantining people – the only place that COVID can get into NZ.

  17. Andrew, 19. June 2020, 12:20

    Here’s what an MP is supposed to do:

    1. Think – There’s a global pandemic
    2. Think – Our only defence is the border
    3. Think – To keep that defence we need a 14 day quarantine for everyone
    4. Think – Do the needs of two people justify putting the border defence in jeopardy
    5. Think – Should I use my influence to break the quarantine of two people who have just flown in from a virus hotspot
    6. Decide – No that’s the wrong thing to do
    7. Write – A note to the constituent who asked the question with the response above

  18. Peter Kerr, 19. June 2020, 12:55

    Precisely, Andrew.

  19. TrevorH, 19. June 2020, 14:15

    @Andrew. Maybe so. But the decision whether to grant an exemption or whether to carry out testing of the people concerned is the responsibility of the authorities, no one else.