Two close contacts of COVID-19 case test negative

Two close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 have tested negative, according to the Ministry of Health. 

A 56-year-old woman, who left Auckland's Pullman Hotel MIQ facility on January 13, later developed symptoms and returned a positive test.

The woman visited several shops and cafes in the Northland region before testing positive. 

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told The AM Show the contacts include the woman's husband and her hairdresser. 

"They are the first of the close contact test results to come through. This woman only had six close contacts, there were some additional contacts of people who potentially could have been contacts," Hipkins said on Monday. 

"So two out of six so far, that's good."

"There will be a lot of testing over the next 24 to 48 hours of that wider group of contacts."

Hipkins said the woman's wider contacts should have received an alert through the COVID-19 Tracer app and should self isolate and get a test.

"The wider circle, which is the people who were at the same locations, would have received push notifications if they have been scanning in using their QR codes, if not we are asking them to go out and seek a test.

"We've released the timetable… which tells you just being at that location isn't a sign of risk itself. Have a look at the time and day you were there to identify whether it is likely there was any overlap."

He said so far no one else has returned a positive test and stressed that it's still too early to know whether an alert level change or lockdown is necessary. 

"At this point the piece of the puzzle, as always, is identifying where this person picked up COVID-19 - whether it was something they brought with them into the country and it had an unnaturally or an unusually long incubation period, whether they picked it up in managed isolation, or somewhere else.

"Our investigation looks at all of those things and until we really have been able to identify that it's difficult to make any predictions about what might happen."

He said the genomic sequencing is underway and will help to identify where the woman picked up the virus. 

The negative tests come as good news for the residents of Northland who were on edge this morning as they waited for more information. 

Newshub reporter Madison Reidy said there was apprehension among the community.

"We know that she [positive case] visited 30 locations so there probably will be some panic among the people, in this area and as far south as Helensville near Auckland, who did visit those places.

"I would imagine they are feeling a bit apprehensive this morning and they should be self-isolated as we speak and are going to get a test today."

Reidy said there will be extra popup testing facilities in the area to meet any added demand.

On Sunday, epidemiologist Michael Baker said the case is a wake-up call and that the risk of a border incursion is bigger than ever before.

"The countries where we receive most of our travellers from going to MIQ, are countries where the pandemic is unfortunately still out of control."

The Government recently announced it was extending the list of countries where pre-departure testing is required.

Dr Baker says tougher restrictions should be considered for hotspots like the UK and the US.

"We could require a brief period of self-quarantine at an airport in their source country and potentially a rapid test before the person gets on a flight, as well as the PCR test three days beforehand," Dr Baker said. 

"There's a range of things we could do." 

Full list of locations: 

  • FreshChoice Ruakaka - January 14 - 3.03pm-4.33pm

  • Aesthetic Clothing Store - January 15 - 8.48am-9.53am

  • Noel Leeming Whangarei - January 15 - 9.02am-10.12am

  • Bendon Whangarei - January 15 - 9.03am-10.30am

  • The Warehouse Whangarei - January 15 - 9.28am-10.58am

  • Flaming Fires - January 15 - 10.24am-11.34am

  • Whangarei and Kamo Testing Stations - January 15 - 10.40am-11.45am

  • Bed Bath and Beyond Whangarei - January 15 - 10.54am-12.04pm

  • Fat Camel Cafe - January 15 - 11.34am-1.34pm

  • Parua Bay Tavern - January 15 - 3.20pm-5.20pm

  • Bream Bay Butchers Ruakaka - January 16 - 11.02am-12.07pm

  • Ruakaka General Store - January 16 - 11.08am-12.10pm

  • FreshChoice Ruakaka - January 16 - 11.10am-12.15pm

  • Urban Remedy Cafe - January 17 - 8.17am-9.47am

  • Joseph Taylor Homewares - January 17 - 2.08pm-3.18pm

  • Eutopia Cafe - January 18 - 8.55am-10.55am

  • Maungaturoto 2nd hand shop - January 18 - 10.06am-11.36am

  • Maungaturoto FourSquare - January 18 - 10.44am-11.49am

  • White Rock Gallery - January 18 - 11.15am-12.24pm

  • The Kauri Museum - January 18 - 11.21am-3.21pm

  • Gumdiggers Cafe Matakohe - January 18 - 12:39 pm - 2:39 pm

  • The Dune Restaurant & Bar - 18 January - 4.47pm-7.17pm

  • Kaipara Coast Plant Centre & Sculpture Gardens - January 19 - 11.04am-1.04pm

  • The Ville Turkish Cafe Helensville - January 19 - 1.08pm-2.38pm

  • Countdown Helensville - January 19 - 1.46pm-3.01pm

  • Super Liquor Helensville - January 19 - 2.03pm-3.08pm

  • South Head General Store - January 19 - 2.44pm-3.49pm

  • Macnut Cafe Helensville - January 21 - 10.20am-11.50am

  • Orrs Unichem Pharmacy Ruakaka - January 22 - 11.21am-12.26pm