As it happened: First COVID-19 update since new case detected in the community

The COVID-19 Response Minister and Director-General of Health are set to speak to media for the first time since a new case of coronavirus was detected in the community.

Chris Hipkins and Ashley Bloomfield will address media at a press conference from the Beehive at 1pm.

It comes less than 24 hours after the Ministry of Health released a statement saying a staff member at a Christchurch managed isolation facility had contracted COVID-19.

The person had tested negative on Thursday, but became unwell over the weekend and sought out another test, which came back positive.

Follow Newshub's live updates of the press conference below.

These live updates have now finished.

1:40pm: Hipkins says there has been some complacency on mask use and signing in with the COVID Tracer app, with a significant drop-off noticed on the QR code system.

"I've scanned codes that a lot of people have been walking past," he said.

However he says basic preventative measures still remain the most important thing to remember. These include wearing a mask on public transport, staying home when sick, getting tested when symptomatic and maintaining good hand hygiene and sneezing etiquette.

Hipkins recommends continuing to wear a mask on public transport even though it's no longer mandatory.

1:37pm: Dr Bloomfield is asked what he makes of his surprise nomination for TV Personality of the Year.

The Director-General of Health is up against the likes of Kanoa Lloyd, Patrick Gower and Tova O'Brien for the accolade, which will be announced on November 18.

He tells media he's very "humbled" at the nomination, but admits it's "not something I dreamed about in my childhood".

1:33pm: After being asked whether "the horse may already have bolted" due to the size of Cashmere High School, Dr Bloomfield reiterates that there's no cause for worry at the moment.

His message to the school community is that the close contact of the confirmed case tested negative and is in self-isolation.

1:31pm: Dr Bloomfield says processes will be reviewed before the next load of chartered new arrivals get to the facility.

It's expected to be a similar-sized group to the mariners, he said.

Meanwhile Hipkins says there's "no such thing as a silver bullet", and says bluetooth contact-tracing cards or related technology are not going to be a solution on their own.

However he admits they're "another tool in the toolbox".

1:27pm: There are two separate audits of infection prevention and control, Hipkins says. He says they'll keep learning ways to improve the system to prevent community cases.

Meanwhile Dr Bloomfield praises "fantastic staff", but says "nothing will be 100 percent foolproof". He too promises the ministry will be constantly reviewing and improving.

In response to questions over how appropriate it is that crews have double-bunking at the Sudima, Dr Bloomfield says it will be reviewed.

However he says "we do have families together in units", so it's not uncommon for more than one person to be housed in a MIQ room.

1:24pm: There are now over 2.3 million COVID Tracer app users. A new minor update has been applied enabling users to find their nearest testing centre.

Health officials are working hard to identify cause of infection in MIQ worker, and Dr Bloomfield warns "it's possible we will find other cases". He says there may also have been a protocol breach.

He adds that the new community case's isolation at home has nothing to do with capacity issues at facilities, with these decisions dependent on individual living situations.

1:20pm: The first international mariners who were due to complete their isolation period on Tuesday morning have had their period there extended for at least another 24 hours.

Three lineages of the virus have been found in eight of the mariners by genome sequencing.

Genome sequencing on the infected staff member is expected later on Tuesday.

Dr Bloomfield praises New Zealand's "ongoing low number of cases compared to what is happening globally".

He reminds Kiwis that while there is intense public interest in each individual case here, "the virus is the problem, the people are the solution".

1:17pm: The case is isolating at home and remains well with mild symptoms.

Staff at the MIQ facility are being contacted and tested if they were on the same or overlapping shifts.

1:15pm: Last night's new community case is a member of health team at Sudima Christchurch Airport MIQ facility, where the mariners are staying.

They tested negative on October 29, developed symptoms on Saturday, tested on Sunday, and returned a positive result on Monday.

They have one household contact, who is a student at Cashmere High School. That student tested negative, and will isolate for 14 days.

Staff and families at Cashmere High School received a letter advising that they do not need testing or to isolate.

1:11pm: The four imported cases are all staying in the Jet Park Hotel, Auckland's quarantine facility.

  • The first arrived from Kabul via Dubai on October 19, testing positive around day 12
  • The second arrived from London via Doha and Brisbane on October 21, testing positive around day 12
  • The third arrived from the US via Sydney on October 29, testing positive around day 3
  • The fourth arrived from the US via Doha and Brisbane on October 29, testing positive around day 3

Eleven cases have recovered, meaning there are 75 active cases in total.

1:09pm: There are five new cases in total - four of which are in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

Just one of the new cases is in the community. Dr Bloomfield said this person is the previously reported Christchurch health worker.

1:08pm: The Auckland August outbreak cluster has now officially closed, Hipkins reveals.

He says it was a "phenomenal effort from everyone" to prevent it developing into a huge outbreak.

It finishes with 179 cases and 261,130 tests completed.

1:06pm: Hipkins says the Russian mariners staying at the Sudima Christchurch Hotel will be kept there as a precaution after a staff member was infected there.

1:05pm: Hipkins gives a spiel about his new role as COVID-19 Response Minister - a position created within Jacinda Ardern's Cabinet in response to the global pandemic.

He says he's under no illusions about the scale of this portfolio ahead of the next term.

He says there are rigorous systems in place to prevent community cases, and promises contact tracers are already investigating the case that emerged yesterday.

"It's a reminder to us all that if we develop symptoms, we should get tested."

1:00pm: Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and new COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins are making their way to the Beehive Theatrette stage.

12:57pm: The new case announced on Monday marked the sixth border failure since the start of August, public health expert Nick Wilson says.

He's calling on the Government to undertake an "urgent review" after the latest case.

"It's not adequate that workers are being placed at risk," he told RNZ.

"We've had a nurse infected, a maintenance worker, a port worker. These are system failures because we should be stopping all cases at the border."

12:50pm: Dr Michael Baker, a professor of public health at the University of Otago, said there is always the threat of transmission to a worker with thousands of people moving through MIQ facilities and hundreds of staff.

"It's a risk that we know can happen... That's the nature of the disease. It is very infectious," he told Newshub. "We will occasionally see cases like this where staff have been infected."

However he said ideally, no staff should be getting infected - and the new case should be cause for investigation by health officials.

"Whenever this happens, we need to investigate very carefully to see what went wrong so we can prevent it happening again."

12:45pm: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier ruled out an imminent alert level change for Christchurch after the community case was revealed.

"Definitely not facing anything like that. This actually is an example of exactly what we've built all of our systems and expectations around," she told The AM Show on Tuesday morning.

New Zealand's alert level system doesn't require the country to move into lockdown just because a single community case has been found.

Ardern said it serves as a good reminder to Kiwis to continue using the COVID Tracer App.

12:40pm: Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Chris Hipkins will speak to media in 20 minutes.

They are expected to provide more details about the activity of a community case revealed on Monday night.

The case is a staff member working in the Sudima Christchurch Airport managed isolation facility, where the international mariners are in quarantine.

"On Saturday they developed symptoms and sought a further test on Sunday and a positive result was received [on Monday]," the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

"The person is now in isolation at home and reports taking care to isolate themselves as soon as they developed symptoms."