COVID-19: No new cases in the community, five recorded in managed isolation

Five new imported cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday. 

No new cases have been detected in the community.

The Air New Zealand crew member who tested positive for the virus on Sunday has now been added to the official tally and is classified as a border-related case.

The ministry confirmed the case, who was identified due to routine surveillance testing, is asymptomatic.

Public health officials are now "conservatively" considering the crew member may have been infectious since February 28, the day they returned to Auckland on flight NZ90 from Tokyo, Japan. They were tested that day, but returned a negative result. They also tested negative for the virus on February 22.

The person has been transferred to Auckland's quarantine facility, the Jet Park Hotel. Their household contacts have tested negative, but remain in isolation at home as a precaution.

Genome sequencing for the case is due late on Tuesday afternoon.

The case has a limited number of contacts, the ministry said, and therefore the wider public health risk is considered to be low. Specific advice is being provided to individuals identified as contacts by public health staff.

How the crew member contracted COVID-19 is under investigation, but health officials believe the most likely scenario is that they were exposed to the virus overseas. It's thought the case was likely incubating COVID-19 - or was already infectious - before they were vaccinated last week.

The vaccine requires two doses and takes around two weeks until it begins to provide protection. The air crew member has received their first dose, and the second will be administered at least 21 days after the first.

The ministry clarified that it is not possible to catch COVID-19 from this vaccine, as it does not contain any live, dead or deactivated virus.

"The vaccine does not cause people who have had it to test positive for COVID-19," the Ministry of Health spokesperson said.

Speaking to The AM Show on Monday morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was "nothing to suggest" that Auckland needed to move up an alert level in response to the latest case. The region moved to alert level 2 at 6am on Sunday after spending a week under alert level 3 restrictions.

Locations of interest and self-isolation requirements

Public health officials say there is a low risk to the public due to Auckland being at alert level 3 for the period in which this case was in New Zealand - and they were at home for most of that time.

Further interviews are being conducted with the case, the ministry said. Information on the current locations of interest is available here.

Anyone who has visited a location of interest at the specified times is advised to contact Healthline if they develop symptoms.

A golf course visited by a member of the case's household on Sunday morning is not considered a location of interest. The household member returned a negative test on Sunday afternoon and was therefore not infectious while at the golf course.

Details on new border cases

Three of the five new imported cases detected in the past 24 hours travelled from India via the United Arab Emirates and arrived on March 6. All tested positive on arrival and are quarantining in Auckland.

The remaining two travelled together from Brazil via Qatar and tested positive on arrival. They are also quarantining in Auckland.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 78, with the total number of confirmed cases sitting at 2049.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,783,178.

On Sunday, 3962 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to Sunday is 10,164 tests.

Since January 1 2021, 37 cases out of a total of 239 have been classified as historical infections.

Auckland cluster contact tracing update

Nearly 6000 contacts were required to be tested and isolate during the outbreak in Auckland. No new cases connected to the cluster have been detected since last weeked.

"We do wish to thank all members of the community who did the right thing in order to keep the community safe," the spokesperson said.

One person from the gym remains outstanding and staff are working with other agencies, including the police, to try and contact this person.