COVID-19: One new community coronavirus case in Auckland

A new case of COVID-19 has been found in the Auckland community on the city's first day back at alert level 1, the Ministry of Health says.

The case, a Papatoetoe High School student, is a casual-plus contact of the existing Auckland cluster, who had been advised to self-isolate and get a COVID-19 test.

"We are working actively with Auckland Regional Public Health staff on next steps and will release further information at a 1pm media conference at Parliament," a Ministry of Health spokesman said.

Papatoetoe High School said in a statement the student who tested positive hadn't been at school this week.

"We will begin re-testing of staff and students before they leave school this afternoon.

"More information will be emailed this afternoon around additional testing of households."

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield will front the media conference, Hipkins' office said. 

Hipkins appeared on The AM Show earlier on Tuesday but said he wasn't aware of any new COVID-19 cases overnight.

Auckland only joined the rest of New Zealand at COVID-19 alert level 1 on Tuesday, nine days after three new community cases were discovered, plunging the city into a brief level 3 lockdown. There is now a total of nine community cases.

There was one new community case of COVID-19 on Monday, but it was detected in quarantine and of low public health risk.

The source of the latest outbreak remains unclear.

Chris Hipkins.
Chris Hipkins. Photo credit: The AM Show

What is a casual-plus contact?

Due to the risk of more transmissable coronavirus variants, some casual contacts are being referred to as "casual-plus".

A casual-plus contact is someone who had limited exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case, but are asked to take extra precautionary steps due to possible higher risks of transmission, the Ministry of Health said.

The latest COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed to be the highly infectious UK variant.

Join us for the Government's COVID-19 media conference on Three and online from 1pm.