As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington

Health authorities are scrambling to identify close contacts after a confirmed case of COVID-19 flew from Sydney to Wellington for three days at the weekend.

As a result, the Wellington region moved to COVID-19 alert level 2 at 6pm on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health confirmed on Wednesday morning the case tested positive upon returning to Australia, however they most likely contracted the virus in Sydney prior to their trip to New Zealand. 

What you need to know:

  • The Australian traveller was on two flights - one from Sydney to Wellington on flight QF163, arriving on Saturday at 12:12am. They returned to Sydney on Monday, June 21 on flight NZ247, which left at 10:13am
  • Wellington moved to COVID-19 alert level 2 at 6pm on Wednesday and will be there until at least 11:59pm on Sunday.
  • All passengers on the two flights are currently considered close contacts and must immediately isolate and call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing.
  • Four close contacts, who met up with the confirmed case during his trip to Wellington, are currently isolating - but have tested negative for COVID-19.
  • New Zealand authorities are contacting the case's close contacts and getting further information about their movements while in Wellington. 
  • The current locations of interest in Wellington are: Qantas Flight QF163 Sydney to Wellington, Rydges Hotel, Unichem Wellington Central Pharmacy, Te Papa Tongarewa - general, Te Papa Tongarewa - Exhibition Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Jack Hackett's Bar, Floridita's Restaurant, Highwater Eatery, Pickle & Pie café, The Weta Cave shop, The Lido café, Unity Books, Countdown Cable Lane, One Red Dog, the toilets at 4 Kings Bar, Prince Barbers and Wellington Airport. More information can be found here.
  • Whitby Collegiate, north of Wellington, is closed after it was confirmed eight staff were at Te Papa at the same time as the COVID-19 case. The staff were setting up for the school's ball, which was held on Saturday night.
  • On Tuesday, quarantine-free travel with New South Wales was paused for 72 hours.

These live updates have finished.

8:20pm - Here are some maps showing the location of interests. A list with all the details is available here.

As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington
As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington

7:55pm - Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles says there is a good reason Wellington has moved to alert level 2 and not level 3, like Auckland has in the past.

"Alert level 3 is used when there is no clear link to how a confirmed case came to be in the community and so there is the potential for unknown chains of transmission," she says.

"In this instance, the confirmed case came from Sydney and their travelling companions used the COVID Tracer App during their time in Wellington so health officials know where they went and have been able to quickly issue a list of potential exposure sites."

Wiles says moving Wellington and the surrounding area to level 2 adds another layer of protection, mainly by limiting gathering sizes, in case someone infected by the confirmed case isn't isolated in time.

"We should keep in mind though that the alert levels were devised before the more infectious variants arose. Alert level 2 places an emphasis on being able to maintain physical distancing of 1-2 metres to reduce spread," she says.

"Given the virus is airborne, keeping one to two metres away from others is unlikely to offer much protection in indoor environments, especially if they are not well ventilated. I think it would be better for people to be wearing masks when indoors, at least in venues where they aren't eating and drinking."

Siouxsie Wiles.
Siouxsie Wiles. Photo credit: The AM Show

7:20pm - Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker believes New Zealand has been "very behind" the rest of the world in terms of wearing masks, and says these are needed to stop transmission.

"[The Delta variant] is about twice as infectious as the original Wuhan model, which typically infected two to three people, each case, on average, and now this one infects maybe five people typically, or even more unless you do things to stop it," he told The Project.

But Baker says the one thing that could "save" New Zealand is the fact the infected traveller is partially vaccinated.

"One of the lessons from this episode is, obviously, we need to do a bit of fine-tuning on the Green Zone with Australia. And there are extra things we could do - if we see an outbreak, we could suspend travel more quickly and we could use pre-travel testing."

7pm - Earlier, the Ministry of Health released further advice for people who have visited locations of interest.

It said if someone has been in contact with a person who has been asked to isolate because they were in a location of interest, advice is on the Ministry of Health website.

"You do not need to stay home or get tested unless the contact becomes symptomatic at which point, you need to stay at home until they return a negative test result," the ministry says.

"If you've been in contact with a person who has been asked to stay at home and get a test after five days, you do not need stay at home or get tested.

"If you become symptomatic yourself, please get tested."

6:35pm - The principal of Marist School in Mt Albert, Auckland is self-isolating after attending a principals' conference at Rydges Hotel Wellington over the weekend.

Board chairperson Catherine Gilchrist confirmed to Newshub principal Carolynn Phillips was tested on Wednesday morning after learning about her Rydges connection and is waiting for her results.

Gilchrist says the school won't be making any further statements at this time.

Marist School is a year 1-6 primary school.

6:10pm - The Ministry of Health has further advice on Wellington Airport and Te Papa locations of interest.

"Public health officials have determined that only those seated in the foodcourt at Wellington Airport between 8:30am and 9:55am on Monday 21 June need to stay at home, get a test around day 5 after last exposure and remain at home until negative test result is received," it says.

"All other people at Wellington Airport between 8:30am and 10:30am on Monday 21 June should self-monitor for COVID symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, get tested and stay at home until negative test result is received.

"People at the other large exposure site, Te Papa, between 3:05pm and 5:45pm on Saturday 19 June are advised to stay at home, get a test around day 5 after last exposure and remain at home until a negative test result is received."

Everyone who returns a negative test should keep an eye out for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, they're asked to call Healthline on 0800 358 5453, get a further test immediately, and stay at home until negative result is received.

6pm - Wellington is now officially in alert level 2.

5:35pm - The rugby game between the Māori All Blacks and Manu Samoa will take place behind closed doors at Wellington's Sky Stadium on Saturday.

5:15pm - If you're in the Wellington region and need to get a COVID-19 test, a full list of centres in the area is available here.

5pm - A total of 1,019,364 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. This number is made up of 637,847 first doses and 381,517 second doses. This means about 7.6 percent of New Zealand's population is fully vaccinated.

4:40pm - The Government is being accused of reacting too slowly to the COVID-19 situation in Sydney.

University of Auckland medical professor Des Gorman says the Australia travel bubble should have stopped once New South Wales had community COVID-19 cases.

"We're not vaccinated and because we're not vaccinated, we are very vulnerable," Dr Gorman told Newshub. "As a result, I think our threshold to react should be very low."  

4:30pm - Wellington Mayor Andy Foster is urging people to support local businesses during COVID-19 alert level 2.

He told Newshub some sporting events are cancelled and hospitality will be hit as well.

"It's inconvenient but keep on supporting our business community, but let's do it all safely."

4:24pm - Several areas of Wellington Airport have now been identified as locations of interest.

  • People seated at the Wellington Airport foodcourt between 8:30am and 9:55am on Monday are asked get tested for COVID-19 five days after exposure and isolate until a negative result is returned
  • All people at Wellington Airport between 8:30am and 10:30am on Monday are asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if they develop
  • People in the Wellington Airport Customs between 11:35pm on Friday 12:48am on Saturday are asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if they develop.

4:18pm - The Royal NZ College of General Practitioners is reminding Wellington residents that GPs are still open under COVID-19 alert level 2.

"Our GP workforce has been at the forefront throughout the pandemic and they are well-versed in adapting to the changes in alert levels, while continuing to provide excellent community healthcare to patients," college president Samantha Murton said.

4:16pm - A reminder that Kāpiti and Wairarapa is included in the COVID-19 alert level 2 shift, while the rest of New Zealand remains at level 1.

4:05pm - Wellington will move up a COVID-19 alert level in just under two hours.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told an earlier press conference the change to alert level 2 was necessary while testing takes place.

"This is not a lockdown," he reiterated. "If we can all contribute and follow the health behaviours... we can break a potential chain of transmission." 

4pm - University of Canterbury disease modeller Michael Plank says Wellington's move to COVID-19 alert level 2 is a sensible one.

"Although we don't yet know whether they have passed the virus on while in New Zealand, there are a number of risk factors that make this more likely," Prof Plank said.

3:52pm - Whitby Collegiate, north of Wellington, closed early on Wednesday and won't re-open until Monday after eight staff confirmed they were at Te Papa during the period of concern.

The staff were setting up for the senior school ball, which was held on Saturday night.

"Staff members are considered casual plus contacts and will be tested tomorrow," the school said in a statement. 

"The school is not required to close but will do so as a precautionary measure and because of the reduced staffing numbers."

3:48pm - University of Otago epidemiologist Amanda Kvalsvig says there are too possible outcomes of the latest COVID-19 case.

"If we're lucky, the COVID-19 positive visitor may not transmit the infection to anyone. But if we're unlucky we may soon be dealing with a large outbreak," Dr Kvalsvig says.

"The traveller from Sydney has visited a large number of Wellington venues, many of which are indoor, crowded places that have potential to trigger superspreading events. The fact that they've had one dose of vaccine helps to nudge the odds in a good direction, but it may only provide partial protection.

"So, the rationale for moving to alert level 2 is not clear to me... A far safer and more proportionate response to this risk would be to move to alert level 3 and sit tight until more information is available."

3:43pm - The Ministry of Health is reminding people that anyone at a location of interest during the relevant timeframes is considered a contact of the COVID-19 case.

3:35pm - Events are being scaled down in Sydney in a bid to slow its growing COVID-19 outbreak.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says socialising will require precaution.

"At hospitality venues; no vertical consumption, all people must be seated," she told reporters. "Wherever you are mingling will mean transferring the virus.

"Obviously, no singing or dancing at any venue except for weddings."

3:30pm - Wellington's Te Papa museum is closed for deep cleaning after a visit from the positive COVID-19 case on Saturday, but 150 people were in the building for a conference on Wednesday morning.

Conference organiser Simon McManus says they weren't told about the risk until after 9:30am.

"At that stage we literally had minister Michael Wood about to walk onto stage, getting a round of applause - and we had to cancel at that stage and let everybody go home," he told Newshub. 

Wellington residents have been sent an emergency text alert advising them of the new COVID-19 restrictions.
Wellington residents have been sent an emergency text alert advising them of the new COVID-19 restrictions. Photo credit: Newshub.

3:25pm - It's been confirmed Wednesday night's Wellington Sports Awards will be held virtually due to the city's move to COVID-19 alert level 2.

The Wellington Marathon, due to take place on Sunday, will now be postponed until later this year - either October 10 or 17.

3:20pm - A busy sporting weekend for Wellington has been disrupted by the lift to COVID-19 alert level 2.

Postponements and changes are expected. The international rugby season was supposed to launch at Wellington's Sky Stadium on Saturday night, with the Māori All Blacks taking on Manu Samoa.

The Central Pulse are also due to host the Mainland Tactix in the ANZ Netball Premiership on Sunday, while the New Zealand Squash Champs in Hutt Valley could be shifted to a later date.

There's also the Saints at home in the National Basketball League, the Wellington marathon on Sunday and the city's major sports awards on Wednesday night - just hours after the city moves to alert level 2.

Expect a flurry of announcements imminently.

3:15pm - Wellington Mayor Andy Foster is confident the region can get through increased alert levels calmly.

Foster told Newshub the region has been here before.

"We do the things that we should be doing; so that's the contact tracing and good hygiene - but we do support each other and we support our business community, and that together we get through this."

3:10pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says COVID-19 alert level 2 is a precautionary step.

"What we tend to do is plan for a worst case scenario [and] be cautious in our approach because you're always better to plan in that way, than have regrets later." 

3:05pm - COVID-19 alert levels could still change if people with no known links to the Sydney case test positive in New Zealand, Chris Hipkins said earlier.

A reminder the rest of New Zealand will remain at alert level 1 when Wellington moves to level 2.

3pm - Wellington, Kāpiti and Wairarapa will be under COVID-19 alert level 2 restrictions until at least Sunday, when the region moves there at 6pm.

At the earlier press conference, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins defended the trans-Tasman travel bubble - which burst with New South Wales on Tuesday night.

"If we were to react every time there was a case associated with the border, the trans-Tasman bubble would potentially be closed more than it is open," he told reporters. "We have to actually make sure we've got good systems in place."   

2:52pm - Across the Tasman, Australia's New South Wales recorded 16 new cases of COVID-19 - four of which with no known links to previously reported infections.

The state has tightened restrictions, including a five person limit for home visitors. Crowds at weddings, concerts and sports events will also need to be scaled down.

2:48pm - A reminder that all locations of interest can be found on the Ministry of Health's website.

2:42pm - Experts say moving Wellington to COVID-19 alert level 2 is a sensible precaution.

"Moving to alert level 2 in Wellington will reduce the risk of further transmission and limit potential superspreading events," said Michael Plank, a disease modeller from the University of Canterbury.

"Level 2 means we need to change our behaviour, but it is not a lockdown. Let's stick to the guidance and advice to stay at home and get tested if that applies to you to reduce the risk of any further escalation," added clinical psychologist Sarb Johal.

2:35pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is defending the speed of the Government's response to the latest COVID-19 case.

She says contact tracing has been very efficient.

"That information was put out first thing this morning. Officials have worked quickly here." 

2:30pm - The infected Sydney traveller was using New Zealand's COVID Tracer app throughout his visit, Ashley Bloomfield said earlier.

"We now feel we've identified all the locations of interest," the Director-General of Health said. "There will be some more specific detail about one or two venues within Wellington Airport that we will provide when CCTV footage has been reviewed," said Dr Bloomfield.    

2:25pm - Officials believe they've already identified the COVID-19 case's link to the current Sydney cluster.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told the earlier press conference that means the infection date can be pinpointed.

"This person works in a healthcare setting that is very near the Bondi Junction - which is the focus of the outbreak in Sydney at the moment," Dr Bloomfield told reporters. "One of the cases that is part of the current outbreak had been seen at that healthcare setting." 

2:20pm - A woman who visited the Surrealist Art Exhibition at Te Papa - one of the locations of interest - told Stuff it was "very crowded" at the weekend.

"There are lots of spaces to get close to things, and you can sit on benches and watch films.

"It was a bit of a shock finding out I was there at the same time," the unnamed woman told Stuff.

The infected Sydney traveller visited the exhibiton on Saturday. Anyone who visited between 4 and 5:45pm is being asked by the Ministry of Health to get tested for COVID-19 immediately and isolate for two weeks.

2:10pm - The Ministry of Health has added an additional location of interest. Anyone who was at Prince Barbers Featherston St on Saturday between 8:45am and 1pm is being asked to isolate for two weeks and get tested for COVID-19. 

The full locations of interest list can be found here.

2:05pm - A reminder that Wellington, Kāpiti and Wairarapa will enter COVID-19 alert level 2 at 6pm.

COVID-19 Response Minister told the earlier press conference that alert levels could change again.

"If we start seeing additional cases coming up that we haven't identified through our contact tracing, that's the sort of environment in which we would reconsider whether any further changes might be required." 

2pm - COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has just confirmed all four close contacts of the Sydney case have now tested negative.

"I was advised on the way to the House the remaining two [test results] have also come back and they have also been negative," he told MPs during Parliament sitting.

1:52pm - Meanwhile, there are four new coronavirus cases in managed isolation, the Ministry of Health said in its regular COVID-19 update.

"The number of active cases in New Zealand is 24," a ministry spokesman said. "The seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border is two.

"Our total number of confirmed cases is 2367."

1:50pm - Earlier in the press conference, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins echoed previous comments from Jacinda Ardern that New Zealand's vaccine rollout was moving as quickly as possible.

"We are expecting to get some bigger deliveries of the vaccine in July which we have canvassed before," he told reporters.

1:40pm - Chris Hipkins says the Dawn Raids apology due to take place on Saturday will be postponed.

1:32pm - To recap what we have heard from Hipkins and Dr Bloomfield so far:

Wellington, Kāpiti and Wairarapa will move to COVID-19 alert level 2 from 6pm.

Dr Bloomfield said the coronavirus case works at a healthcare centre in Bondi - the suburb at the centre of Sydney's cluster.

There are four close contacts - two of whom have tested negative for COVID-19 and the other two pending.

1:30pm - Meanwhile, Te Papa's chief executive has confirmed she is the close contact of the COVID-19 case, the NZ Herald reported.

1:25pm - It's worth noting it's only Wellington, Kāpiti and Wairarapa that will be under COVID-19 alert level 2 restrictions - the rest of the country will stay at level 1.

1:19pm - Asked whether the Ministry of Health was slow to notify the public of the COVID-19 case, Dr Bloomfield said he was notified at 8:30pm on Tuesday.

"The contact tracers were working into the night to get that information out," he told reporters. "That was done as quickly as possible this morning."

1:16pm - Across the Tasman, there are another 16 community COVID-19 cases in New South Wales, four of which do not have have any known link to previously reported cases.

1:14pm - Dr Bloomfield says community COVID-19 testing stations will be open on Wellington's Taranaki St, Upper Hutt and Kilbirnie.

1:10pm - Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says two of the Sydney COVID-19 case's close contacts were from Palmertson North and two from Tauranga.

The two cases from Palmertson North have tested negative, while the Tauranga results are pending.

1:04pm - Wellington will move to alert level 2 from 6pm on Wednesday, Hipkins confirms.

The region will stay at that alert level until at least 11:59pm on Sunday.

1:03pm - Hipkins confirms two of four close contacts of Sydney COVID-19 case have tested negative for the virus.

1:02pm - COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins is speaking now. Watch live in the video above.

1pm - Newshub's breaking special is underway with officials due to front media to provide an update. Watch live in the video above.

12:47pm - We're not too far away from that 1pm press conference, where officials will advise whether any restrictions will be placed on Wellington. You can watch it live on Three and in the video above. 

12:43pm - It's understood Cabinet is currently in an emergency meeting ahead of the 1pm press conference.

Wellington's Taranaki St testing centre.
Wellington's Taranaki St testing centre. Photo credit: Newshub.

12:35pm - We are not too far away from finding out whether COVID-19 alert levels will change in Wellington.

Experts say the Government needs to look at a range of options.

"Given what we know this morning it would seem reasonable to upgrade the alert level for Wellington now... perhaps to an alert level 1.5," said Nick Wilson, from the University of Otago's department of public health.

"None of us want alert level increases in any of our towns or cities, but if the alert level has to rise for Wellington as a precautionary measure to minimise transmission this is a further reminder to maintain, effective hand hygiene, mask up on public transport, up your tracer app use and self-isolate if you feel unwell, have any symptoms or are identified as a possible contact," added Otago primary health care and GP senior lecturer Lesley Gray.

12:25pm - A new location of interest has been added to the list - "4 Kings Bar at Jack Hacketts - Toilets only". 

People who frequented the toilets at 4 Kings Bar at 5 Inglewood Place at 8:45pm on June 19 must isolate/quarantine for 14 days from last exposure along with getting a COVID-19 test "immediately" and on day 5 after last exposure and day 12 after last exposure. They should also call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

12:10am - Newshub has put together an explainer on the Delta variant of COVID-19 which is believed to be the variant the Australian traveller had.

It was first detected in India in early 2021 and has now spread around the world. Delta is believed to have been responsible for the massive wave of infections and death the country experienced in early 2021 due to being more transmissible.

Here's what you need to know.

11:44am - Speaking to media earlier, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said four close contacts had been identified in New Zealand so far.

"They are all isolating, so that interview process will identify where they've been, who they've been in contact with.

"I'd ask people to identify whether they've been in those locations of interest at the times in question.

"At this point while the risk remains low, having had somebody with COVID in Wellington for a 48-hour period does create some additional risk so the work really at this point is making sure we understand the true extent of that."

11:40am - Eight more locations of interest have been added to the Ministry of Health's website.

"New Zealand's contact tracing team are working with their Australian counterparts to gather more information about the visitor's movements and the website will continue to be updated as further exposure sites are confirmed," a Ministry of Health spokesman said.

"Wellingtonians and visitors to Wellington last weekend are urged to check the website and continue checking throughout the day."

The current locations of interest in Wellington are: Qantas Flight QF163 Sydney to Wellington, Rydges Hotel, Unichem Wellington Central Pharmacy, Te Papa Tongarewa - general, Te Papa Tongarewa - Exhibition Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Jack Hackett's Bar, Floridita's Restaurant, Highwater Eatery, Pickle & Pie Cafe, The Weta Cave shop, the Lido cafe, Unity Books, Countdown Cable Ln, and One Red Dog. More information can be found here.

As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington
Photo credit: Ministry of Health
As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington
Photo credit: Ministry of Health

11:35am - Speaking from outside Wellington's Te Papa - one of the locations of interest - Newshub's Rosie Gordon said staff have been putting red retractable tape in front of the museum's escalators.

11:29am - Earlier, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the woman who travelled with the case from Sydney is still awaiting her test results.

11:26am - Epidemiologist Michael Baker is calling for a COVID-19 alert level increase in Wellington.

He earlier told The AM Show people could be wearing masks in indoor environments throughout the city.

11:24am - A reminder that details about potential COVID restrictions in Wellington will be revealed at a 1pm press conference with Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. You'll be able to watch that live on Three and in the video above.

11:19am - A Wellington Airport spokesperson has told Newshub it's working with both health and transport officials in relation to the COVID-19 case.

The spokesperon says CCTV footage is being offered to help identify close and casual contacts.

Most staff at Wellington Airport are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and face coverings are a requirement in the international terminal.

11:15am - Newshub understands Qantas is working with New Zealand's Ministry of Health and NSW officials, and the airline has contacted the crew working on the flight of the COVID-infected passenger.

The Qantas crew will follow advice from relevant health authorities.

11:10am - Wellington's Floriditas cafe has confirmed the Sydney COVID-19 case visited the location between 1pm and 3pm on Saturday and is closing for deep cleaning.

"All staff working that day are isolating," the cafe said in a statement.

11:04am - COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has confirmed the infected Sydney traveller has received one dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

Hipkins told reporters he'll be briefed at midday ahead of the 1pm press conference.

It was still too early to speculate about a change in COVID-19 alert levels, he said.

11am - A Newshub journalist at the Taranaki Street testing centre says it's "absolutely packed" with people.

"There's lines of cars down the road and around the corner and footpath full of people who have walked to get a test.

"Nurses are looking flustered, telling people to go home and isolate and make an appointment if they're not a close contact."

10:50am - A Wellington Airport spokesperson said it is "working closely" with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transport to understand any additional requirements needed as a result of the NSW COVID outbreak.

"We are also offering assistance as required to help identify close and casual contacts, such as sharing CCTV footage. Most staff at Wellington Airport are fully vaccinated and all staff and passengers are required to wear a face covering while in the international terminal. The international terminal is also regularly cleaned to a high standard in line with the Ministry of Health’s infection prevention protocols."

10:40am - Here's a reminder on the four different levels of COVID-19 contacts in New Zealand - casual, casual-plus, close and close-plus.

A close contact is someone who is more likely to be at higher risk of being infected because they have spent time in close proximity to a confirmed case during the case's infectious period.

They are required to isolate for 14 days from last exposure, get a COVID-19 test immediately, and if symptoms develop, get an additional test immediately.

"A casual or casual-plus contact is someone who has had only limited exposure to a confirmed case, usually by being in the same location of interest either at the same time or soon after a confirmed case," a Ministry of Health spokesperson previously told Newshub.

"In some specific situations, we will ask casual contacts to take additional steps where there may have been a higher risk of transmission - that's what we refer to as casual-plus."

Close plus contacts don't have a specific definition but they are required to isolate, get tested immediately and get an additional test if symptoms develop.

10:30am - A manager of Jack Hackett's bar told Newshub they had been open on Wednesday morning at 7am for a football game.

They were disappointed they weren't told they were a location of interest sooner.

10:20am - Air New Zealand's chief operational integrity and safety officer captain David Morgan said the company was alerted to the positive case on Tuesday night.

"Upon receiving this information, the operating crew have been asked to self-isolate and get tested.The aircraft was cleaned per our usual standards upon arrival into Sydney and then again yesterday evening.

"The cleaning of our aircraft exceeds international and domestic guidelines and requirements. Aircraft are cleaned thoroughly with Calla 1452 which kills the COVID-19 virus. This is approved for use by aircraft manufacturers, the World Health Organisation and IATA."

As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington
Photo credit: Newshub

10:10am - Location of interest Jack Hackett's Irish Pub will remain closed on Wednesday for a deep clean. 

Staff who worked on Saturday night have been told to stay home and get tested for COVID-19.

As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington
Photo credit: Newshub

10am  - The Wellington COVID-19 testing centre on Taranaki Street opened early on Wednesday morning to cope with high demand following the news of the Australian traveller who tested positive for the virus.

A casual contact told Newshub they had no symptoms but wanted to be careful and get tested.

"I'm not worried we're just making sure we're doing our job to keep the country safe," they said.

Another person said they were a close contact because they had been in the Te Papa Exhibition Surrealist Art at the same time.

"I'm fairly worried getting a bit paranoid about whether I'm sick or not but I'm feeling okay at the moment," they told Newshub.

"I saw the information online to isolate - I couldn't get through to Healthline so that was a bit difficult.  I think it's annoying but it's just a risk of having the bubble - I think there could be some more stringent measures next time."

As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington
Photo credit: Newshub

9:40am - Newshub visited Te Papa, one of the locations of interest.

Staff were seen closing off the escalators and the cafe downstairs and the museum confirmed in a post to social media that it is closed.

"Te Papa will be closed today. We are a location of interest after three contacts of covid cases visited on Saturday."

9:25am - Health Minister Andrew Little told The AM Show there will be no immediate COVID-19 alert level change for Wellington.

"We don't do that just on a whim. We will assess what the situation is once we get that information. But that will be a wee ways down the track before any decision on that would be taken."

He is not calling for compulsory face mask wearing at this stage.

9:10am - The Ministry of Health has updated the information regarding the locations of interest:

As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington

9:05am - More information about the case will be announced during the 1pm press conference on Wednesday which we will have live on Three and on

8:59am - Here are the full details on the times and days for locations of interest:

As it happened: All the latest following confirmation of COVID-19 case in Wellington

8:54am - The first locations of interest have been revealed by the Ministry of Health. They include: 

  • Qantas Flight QF163 Sydney to Wellington
  • Rydges Hotel
  • Unichem Wellington Central Pharmacy
  • Te Papa Tongarewa - general
  • Te Papa Tongarewa - Exhibition Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Jack Hackett's Bar

8:45am - Prof Baker says there will also be difficulties dealing with the virus in the colder months.

"The difficulty with this variant is we have not had it circulting in New Zealand to date outside of MIQ facilities. We don't know what it is capable of and of course it has arrived in a period of winter when people are indoors so there is a higher risk of transmission."

He said it was also a "reminder" New Zealand needs to update the alert level system.

"We could be looking at increasing the alert level in Wellington to 1 plus where people start wearing masks in a lot more indoor environments and so on.  We could take our cue from what is happening in Australia at the moment. They are avoiding a lockdown and implementing a much wider use of masks. No one wants to stay at home and we can avoid that problem if we start recognising how this virus is transmitted - mostly indoors, mainly in aerosols."

8:30am - Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker says the variant of the virus the Australian traveler carried is twice as infectious as the original Wuhan virus.

"A lot of challenges here at the moment. A challenge that we know is that we are now dealing with a more infectious Delta variant," he told The AM Show.

"It's the same virus and is still transmitted in the same way. It's just that it is much better at being transmitted. It's roughly twice as infectious as the original Wuhan virus from a year ago. That means in a short period of time it will affect more people in indoor environments. It puts a lot more pressure on contact tracing and if it causes an outbreak it could be a lot more explosive."

8:15am - Michael Plank, a modeller from the University of Canterbury, tweeted that New Zealanders should have been using COVID Tracer App over the past few months so Kiwis were prepared for if cases like this occured.

"The best time to start using the app was Friday. The second best time is NOW. Bluetooth is good but not enough on its own, please SCAN!"

8am - University of Auckland associate professor and leading microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles told Newshub any case of COVID-19 in New Zealand is not something we want. 

"Especially the Delta variant which we know is much more infectious," she said. 

"We know the Delta variant is more transmissible than Alpha variants, which were more transmissible than other variants. In the UK the Delta has replaced the Alpha variant as the most dominant one. It has done that in just weeks. 

"What they are seeing in Sydney is transmission takes place from what they call fleeting encounters, people who have shared the same airspace. 

"The Delta variant is very infectious and it is important people with symptoms get tested. Just remember everything we have been saying over the past year and that is if you have any symptoms of COVID get tested and isolate. 

"It is really important we scan with the contact tracing app, have the Bluetooth on and wear masks in public. Let this be a reminder the virus is still out there and we should be taking these precautions."

7:55am - National Party leader Judith Collins says contact tracing is particularly important now to ensure an outbreak doesn't occur in New Zealand.

"You're always going to get something where there's basically a lockdown on various things... or else you stop flights if there's a problem, or else you actually find situations like this and you deal with them quickly. That's where the contact tracing is important. No one's said the bubble is going to be open forever - it has to be able to be  managed depending on what's happening with risk."

7:48am - A full update on New Zealand's COVID-19 situation is expected to be delivered at 1pm.

7:40am - Dr Bloomfield appeared to reveal the case is a man.

"I am not the person who spoke to the case. It was the team at Regional Public Health who spoke to him late last evening."

7:38am - The person who tested positive had come to New Zealand as a tourist. They knew people in the country who are their close contacts and they are now isolating.

Dr Bloomfield said they are believed to have visited a few locations in Wellington.

"They were out visiting a number of venues but the weather in Wellington wasn't too flash over the weekend so there was probably a lot of time inside."

Locations of interest are expected to be released in the next hour.

7:35am - New Zealand health authorities also don't yet know is the person has been vaccinated. 

7:32am - Dr Bloomfield says they haven't considered an alert level raise for Wellington yet, but all options are on the table.

"We haven't considered that yet but we know we need all options on the table to be successful at [fighting] off this virus."

7:30am - Dr Bloomfield says while the person was asymptomatic while in New Zealand, the pattern suggests they were almost certainly they were infectious during the period they were in Wellington.

"We are now in the process of finalising the locations of interest that this person visited and we will make those public as quickly as possible with the request that person who were there at the times of interest to get tested and isolate and wait for a result before they come out of isolation."

7:28am - Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has told The AM Show the case became symptomatic on Monday after returning to Australia from Wellington. They were then tested and the result came back on "late yesterday afternoon" as positive.