Covid 19 coronavirus: Ministry of Health update on cases, Auckland MIQ worker

The Ministry of Health will today provide an update on current Covid-19 cases in New Zealand, including the MIQ security guard who tested positive for the virus.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday announced the 24-year old Grand Millennium worker, who was tested on Tuesday, had returned a positive result. The man reported having a sore throat for four days.

Readings from an initial PCR test suggested the man could be either early on in his infection, nearing the end, or have a historical case.

However, a second test yesterday confirmed it was a current case.

The man lives alone and test results from four members of an adjoining household were all negative. A colleague who often drove the security guard to and from work also tested negative.

No locations of interest had yet been identified, and the Ministry of Health said the risk to the wider community was low.

The infected worker had not yet been vaccinated and it was understood the man had missed two appointments to get the jab for personal reasons, the ministry said. Further information was being sought from his employer.

As part of the follow-up actions in response to the case, the testing frequency for staff in the Grand Millennium was increased to weekly for the next fortnight.

A spot infection control audit of the Grand Millennium was undertaken yesterday in response to the new case, as well as the cleaner who caught the virus at the same facility last month.

There were also 19 new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation yesterday. All cases came via the United Arab Emirates and 16 originated in India. There were also four historical cases confirmed.

The spike in positive cases arriving in the country, the majority from India, prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to yesterday announce a temporary suspension of flights from India as of Sunday. It will remain in place until April 28.

While arrivals from India had triggered the risk assessment, Ardern said the Government would be looking at risks posed by other Covid hotspot countries.

Health teams would use the time until April 28 to try and plan safer ways to accept travellers from India.

She wanted to look at the quality of PCR Covid testing in other countries and whether tests were being taken in the 72 hours before departure.

It was very clear from the fact New Zealand had had more than 60 cases in MIQ in the past two weeks that the Government had to review its options to reduce the risk, she said.

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