Coronavirus: Four new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand

There are four new cases of COVID-19 New Zealand - two in the community and two in managed isolation.

The two community cases are household contacts of a case reported on Saturday, which is not connected to the Auckland cluster. The case reported on Saturday, a man, is a recent returnee who arrived in New Zealand from India on August 27 and had completed managed isolation, returning two negative tests at the facility in Christchurch before returning home to Auckland on September 11.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the man started reporting symptoms on September 16. He was tested for COVID-19 and subsequently returned a positive result.

"They were all moved into the Auckland quarantine facility on September 18, when the first case returned a positive result," the Ministry said.

"All identified close contacts have been isolated and tested."

The Ministry said the original case's infection is still under investigation but genome sequencing is consistent with two confirmed cases from the August 27 flight.

It's possible the man became infected during the flight and had a long incubation period, the Ministry said.

"There is evidence that in rare instances the incubation period can be up to 24 days.

"This person developed symptoms 21 days after he arrived in New Zealand. 

"If this is the case, it sits well outside the standard incubation period of the virus."

The Ministry said another scenario is the man became infected on the flight between Christchurch and Auckland.

"Other passengers from that flight are currently being contacted and assessed as a precautionary measure in order to exclude them as the source of infection.

"This case is another example of the tricky nature of the virus, and a reminder that anyone who has been through a managed isolation facility should remain very aware of their health."

New Zealand has now recorded 1464 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Currently, the country has 71 active cases of coronavirus - 36 of which are imported and 35 in the community.

A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said 47 people who became infected with COVID-19 in the community are currently in Auckland's quarantine facility.

Three people are in hospital with COVID-19 - one in Auckland City and two in Middlemore. None are in intensive care.

"Since August 12, our contact tracing team has identified 3916 close contacts of cases, of which 3912 have been contacted and are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest," the spokeswoman said.

A total of 5417 tests were processed on Saturday, taking the country's total to 910,853.