No new cases or community transmission but New Zealand remains on alert

No new cases or community transmission but New Zealand remains on alert

Wellington, July 1, 2020

Director General of Health Dr Ashely Bloomfield speaking to the media today (Screenshot)

 

There have been no new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand for the second day in a row.

The total number of confirmed cases remains at 1178, with confirmed and probable cases combined totalling 1528.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said that the number of active cases remains at 22. One person remained in Auckland City Hospital in a stable condition. There are no cases of community transmission.

There were 4530 tests completed yesterday and there have now been more than 400,000 tests processed, Dr Bloomfield said.

Worldwide increase

He said the number of cases worldwide continued to increase.

“We are seeing of course resurgences in some countries where controls, including lockdown controls, have been relaxed. He said that yesterday’s developments in Victoria in Australia where they have re-imposed some conditions around people’s movements are a reminder that community transmission in the future is a real possibility.

“We may need to take local measures in New Zealand to counteract community transmission if it occurs again. We will be watching carefully and continue to work on a daily basis with our Australian colleagues,” he said.

Dr Bloomfield said that New Zealand should remain vigilant.

“Things feel very much back to normal here in New Zealand. However, we do not want to give up our hard-won efforts and the opportunities afforded by being in alert level 1 and our ability to have our domestic economy and how we live our daily lives compromised at all,” he said.

Reinforced measures

He reinforced public health measures: If you are sick or your child is sick please stay at home. If you have symptoms ring Healthline. Practise good hand hygiene, keep track of where you have been and make sure your contact details with your GP are up to date.

Dr Bloomfield reminded everyone to show tolerance and support people who may have Covid-19.

He revealed that Air New Zealand staff had faced hostility over Covid-19.

He said he had met with Air New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Foran who told him that some staff had been targeted by members of the public.

Dr Bloomfield said there were still 367 people that had been through managed isolation who were unable to be contacted.

He said that they present a very, very low risk to the community as they had all completed the 14 days of managed isolation.

Situation in Melbourne

When asked about the situation in Melbourne, Dr Bloomfield said there is a whole range of measures in place to protect guests and staff from infecting each other in managed isolation.

“These protocols have been in place and working effectively since April 9, 2020, where we have seen no cases come out of those facilities and into the community either – people who have been in isolation or people who have worked there,” he said.

If there was an outbreak, Dr Bloomfield said that there could be localised measures rather than blanket measures across the country.

Dr Bloomfield said that the delay in getting the New Zealand Covid Tracer App up and running was because they wanted to launch it with some other functionality. He said it was not necessary on April 20, 2020 when the country was heading into Alert Level 3.

The App was launched on May 20, 2020.

Non new cases

There were no new cases yesterday for the first time since 19 June.

Earlier today, Dr Bloomfield said similar measures to those being used in Melbourne may be applied if areas of New Zealand suffered outbreaks of Covid-19.

He told Morning Report implementing targeted lockdowns was “definitely something that could happen and we have done some work and are doing further work on if there was a localised outbreak either in a suburb, town, city or region what sort of measures should we put in place.”

New Zealand had worked closely with Australia since the start of the outbreak, so it would be watching to see how the second lockdown was handled across the ditch, he said.

“We would be looking to use exactly these sorts of measures and approaches [being used in Melbourne] to avoid having to put the whole country up an alert level.”

Manage Isolation costs

Also today, the European Union’s representative in New Zealand said the country will not have to open up to European tourists in order for New Zealanders to be able to travel to the EU.

Yesterday, the union announced a list of 14 countries deemed to be “safe”, and whose citizens would be allowed entry from today.

EU representative Nina Obermaier told Morning Report that reciprocity was one of the criteria to be included on the list, however, the most important consideration was the epidemiological situation.

However, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against all international travel despite the EU’s decision.

Both Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters have warned travellers they would probably need to pay the full cost of managed isolation on their return.

Published under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz

 

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