Auckland's Sylvia Park mall closes food court after visit by NZ-linked Korean COVID-19 case

Auckland's Sylvia Park mall has closed its food court and promised to undertake a "full deep clean" after it emerged a South Korean man who later tested positive for COVID-19 visited the complex earlier in July.

A letter obtained by Newshub from Sylvia Park centre manager Helen Ronald to mall retailers explained the Ministry of Health had contacted them to advise that the man had been to the mall a fortnight ago.

It's understood he was there on Thursday, July 16, between the hours of 11am and 1pm.

"While the Ministry of Health has highlighted there is a very low risk, and the event took place over two weeks ago, we wanted to advise all tenants, as Sylvia Park will be mentioned in the Minister's 1pm COVID-19 update today," Ronald wrote.

"The health and safety of our tenants, customers and staff is our top priority.

"As a precautionary measure, we have closed the food court to undertake a full deep clean to help ensure the site is protected. In addition, we will undertake a deep clean of the rest of the centre overnight."

The letter urged any mall staff with respiratory issues or concerns to call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or seek out a coronavirus test.

Auckland's Sylvia Park mall closes food court after visit by NZ-linked Korean COVID-19 case
Photo credit: Supplied / Newshub.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health was notified of a traveller who tested positive for coronavirus in South Korea on July 22 - a day after they'd left New Zealand.

Korean authorities said the person was likely infected during a stop-off at an airport in Singapore, but the ministry said infection in New Zealand couldn't be ruled out.

In its daily coronavirus update on Friday afternoon, the ministry said there continues to be no evidence of transmission in New Zealand related to the case.

"All domestic contacts of this case tested to date have returned negative results," a press release sent to media reads.

"While these results reinforce that the public health risk from this case continues to be low, further contact tracing is taking place around their travel within New Zealand."

The man's travel in New Zealand includes a visit to Queenstown between July 1-4, a stay in the south Auckland suburbs of Manurewa and Takanini between June 20-July 20, and a stop-off in Christchurch, where he departed the country from, between July 20-21.

The Ministry of Health says DHBs will start up a targeted testing programme in these areas this weekend, and will provide community-specific information about where and when testing will take place on social media and their websites.

The revelation the man visited Sylvia Park comes a day after the ministry revealed a second coronavirus test carried out by South Korean authorities came back positive on Wednesday night.

At Thursday's daily COVID-19 press briefing, the Director-General of Health urged Kiwis in Queenstown and Auckland suburb Manurewa to get tested if they're experiencing symptoms or are worried they may have the disease.

The South Korean man was based in the south Auckland suburb of Manurewa during his stay, and also visited Queenstown in early July, Dr Ashley Bloomfield explained.

South Auckland and Queenstown will now be under targeted surveillance, and public health officials will be carrying out some additional contract tracing there.