COVID-19: One historical case in managed isolation, no new community cases

One new imported case of COVID-19, a historical infection, has been detected in New Zealand's managed isolation facilities in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Thursday.

There are no new cases in the community.

Historical cases are defined as individuals who had previously contracted COVID-19, but are recovered at the time of testing. These people can sometimes return a positive test result as the PCR swabs may detect some residual viral material, however they are not considered to be infectious.

The person arrived in New Zealand from the United States on February 8 and tested positive on arrival, which was later deemed to be a historical infection. They are currently quarantining in Christchurch.

Five previously reported cases have now recovered. One previously reported case has also been reclassified as 'under investigation', the ministry said.

There are now 54 active cases in New Zealand. To date, 1968 confirmed cases have been recorded.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,573,692. On Wednesday, laboratories processed 5740 tests, with a seven-day rolling average up to yesterday of 3837 tests.

Historical cases

From this week, the Ministry of Health's case updates will include a running total of historical cases recorded since January 1, 2021, due to an increasing number of infected travellers recovering from the virus before entering New Zealand.

"Our testing may detect residual viral material on people's swabs, but it's important to reiterate they are no longer considered to be infectious," the ministry said.

"As we've previously stated, an increase in historical cases is not unexpected."

Since January 1, there have been 26 historical cases detected out of a total of 158 cases. These historical cases have all been previously reported.

Advice on vaccine suitability

There's ongoing interest around who is able to receive the vaccine, the ministry said.

Patients receiving the following therapies should get advice from their specialist before receiving the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. This includes those receiving:

  • pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
  • nivolumab (Opdivo)
  • ipilimumab (Yervoy)
  • atezolizumab (Tecentriq).

The Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is also suitable for use in immunocompromised individuals.


NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,563,440 registered users.

Poster scans have reached 176,173,733. More than 618,006 poster scans have been recorded since midday on Wednesday.

Users have created 7,189,887 manual diary entries.