Coronavirus: One new COVID-19 case in New Zealand's managed isolation facilities

There is one new case of COVID-19 in New Zealand's managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced on Thursday. 

Thursday's case is a woman in her 20s, who arrived in New Zealand from Ireland, via Dubai, on July 24. She returned her positive result due to routine testing across the country's managed isolation facilities. The woman, who was tested at around day three of her mandatory 14-day stay, had been completing her isolation period at the Rydges Hotel in Rotorua. She has since been transferred to Auckland's quarantine facility.

It brings New Zealand's active case total to 24 and confirmed case total to 1210, the number reported to the World Health Organization. As of Thursday there have been no additional recoveries, although none of the current cases require hospital-level care.

It has been 90 days since the last COVID-19 case was acquired locally from an unknown source, indicating there is no evidence of community transmission.

On Wednesday, laboratories completed 2523 tests, of which the vast majority - 2226 - were in the community. The balance were in managed isolation and quarantine facilities. 

To date the Government's offical NZ COVID Tracer app has seen 621,400 registrations. QR code posters nationwide have been scanned more than 1.6 million times, as part of ongoing efforts to ensure contact tracing can be undertaken efficiently in the event of a future outbreak.

The Ministry of Health has also released an update to the app to make it a "more comprehensive contact tracing tool", according to Health Minister Chris Hipkins, and increase registration numbers.

The main new feature is the ability to add manual entries to the 'digital diary', either at the time or retrospectively, meaning New Zealanders can now record their visits to locations that don't have a QR code on display - such as visiting friends and whanau. The app can now be used to maintain a complete and private record of everywhere a user goes.

The second new feature is the app is now compatible with phones using Android 6 and iOS 11, or about 95 percent of smartphone users.

South Korean case update

There continues to be no evidence of transmission in New Zealand involving the case who flew from Christchurch to South Korea on July 21 and tested positive upon arrival. Dr Bloomfield told reporters the public health risk is low. 

Overnight, the ministry received the result of a second PCR test from Korean authorities. This result was positive.

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Community testing

Health Minister Chris Hipkins reiterated that testing numbers are still not up to scratch, despite ongoing efforts to bolster testing rates in the community. 

He issued an appeal to New Zealanders to do their part, noting people appear "reluctant" to get tested for the virus.

"If you're offered a test, you should take the test. If you're asked to be tested, you should take the test... we all need to be playing our part," he said.

"I don't want to be critical of the New Zealand public, but I'm issuing an appeal to public to stay on guard.

"Someone refusing the test could be the difference between identifying a chain of transmission and it going undetected in our community until it's too late... now is not the time to be complacent."