COVID-19: Two new imported cases of COVID in New Zealand

Two new imported cases of COVID-19 have been detected in New Zealand's managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQ), the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday.

There is no evidence of COVID-19 in the community.

The two new imported cases arrived in New Zealand on November 14. The first returnee travelled from Moscow via London, Qatar and Brisbane, while the second made the trip home from Dubai.

Twenty-nine people are considered recovered as of Thursday, the Ministry of Health revealed, bringing the country's active case total down to 39.

New Zealand's total number of confirmed cases now stands at 1654.

On Wednesday, laboratories processed 8665 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 1,208,091.

Update: November quarantine cluster

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) continues to chase contacts connected to the existing cases in the November quarantine cluster, the ministry said.

All 23 close contacts of Case A - a New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) worker who contracted the virus while stationed at the Auckland quarantine facility - have now returned negative day 12 tests. Routine testing is carried out at around day three and day 12 of the 14-day quarantine or isolation period.

All occupants of Case A's apartment, the Waldorf Apartments, have also returned negative day 12 tests.

Genome sequencing has confirmed that Case A, Case B, Case C, Case D and Case E are all part of the same outbreak.  

The Defence Force staffer had passed COVID-19 onto another - Case B - at a meeting. It was subsequently revealed that a close contact of Case B, another Defence Force worker, had also been infected - Case C. 

Case D, an Auckland University of Technology (AUT) student, is believed to have contracted the virus from Case A, The pair share an identical genome sequence - however, it remains unclear how the student, who also works at a central Auckland retail job, crossed paths with the NZDF employee.

"As we said yesterday, wide testing around these known cases allows us to have greater confidence that there are not possible undetected links in the chain of transmission," the ministry said in Thursday's statement.

"To provide further reassurance, we continue to encourage anyone who visited a location of interest during the relevant time period to get tested - to ensure we can quickly identify anyone who may have been infected."

Anyone who develops cold or flu symptoms anywhere in the country should immediately get in touch with their health care provider or Healthline (0800 358 5453) and get a test.

NZ COVID Tracer app

The official contact tracing app, the NZ COVID Tracer, now has 2,372,000 registered users. QR code posters have been scanned 119,725,227 times, and users have created 4,939,520 manual diary entries.

"Please continue to use the app to scan into locations displaying a QR code - you never know when you will need to call on your contact tracing diary. The more every person scans, the safer we will all be," the ministry concluded.