Coronavirus: Health officials stationed at Vincent Residences after people seen leaving

Health officials have been stationed at an apartment building linked to the new community case, according to COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. 

On Thursday an AUT student in her 20s tested positive after becoming symptomatic earlier this week. While she was infectious the woman worked in a customer-facing role at a clothing store on Auckland's High St, visited several restaurants around the central city and AUT. The woman lives at the Vincent Residences apartment complex in Auckland's CBD. 

On Friday morning Hipkins said the residents of the building have been asked to urgently get tested and self-isolate until their test returns negative. A testing station has been set up for them. 

However AM Show reporter Lauren Hendricksen was outside the apartment block on Friday morning and saw people leaving. At least seven residents have departed their apartment since 5:45am.

Hendricksen said one person left "to buy a bottle of milk", while another told her he was checking his car.

At a 2pm press conference, Hipkins said health officials have now been stationed outside the building to stop people from leaving.

"I've been advised of reports this morning that people were seen coming and going from the Vincent Residences and as a result of that public health protection officers have been put in place this morning to better secure that building."

Hipkins said that officials should have been at the building overnight. 

"My understanding was that public health [officials] were going to be there last night. It became apparent early this morning that there weren't people at the front door and so as soon as I became aware of that I got on the phone and made sure that it happened." 

"The testing was happening last night. There was clear guidance that there should have been additional support there." 

He also said the risk of infection for the apartment residents is still relatively low. 

"Just because you live in the same building as someone who happens to have tested positive for COVID-19 does not necessarily increase the risk for you," Hipkins told reporters.

"These are very, very precautionary steps that we are taking as you will see from the testing results."

As of Friday morning, 173 people from the apartment building have been tested, with 101 coming back negative and 72 still pending. 

There were no new cases connected to the community on Friday and the country, including Auckland, will stay at alert level 1.