• Patrick McBride

Three Days with No New Cases of COVID-19

Today there are no new cases of COVID-19 to report.

It has now been 87 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source.

The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 remains at 1206, which is the number reported to the World Health Organization.

There are no new recovered cases today, which means the total number of active cases in New Zealand's managed isolation and quarantine facilities remains at 21.

There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.

Yesterday laboratories completed 550 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 456,227. 270 of these were swabs completed from managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

This week, there is an effort to increase the amount of community-based testing for people with respiratory symptoms.

There are three areas of action underway, with the Ministry working closely with the Colleges of GPs, Urgent Care and Emergency Medicine and their members to offer testing to all people who present with symptoms.

The second area of focus is working with the district health boards to ensure testing is widely available, including at general practices and community-based assessment centres.

Thirdly, as New Zealanders the Ministry encourages anyone who is offered a swab, to take up that offer.

Testing remains an important part of the overall strategy to detect any community cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible.

It’s also important to remember the basic public health measures which keep communities protected: staying home if you’re sick, frequent hand-washing, and good sneeze and cough etiquette.

Traveller to South Korea

The Ministry of Health continues to work with its counterpart in South Korea for more information about the traveller from New Zealand who has tested positive.

The individual left New Zealand six days ago on 21 July and arrived in South Korea on 22 July after transiting through Singapore.

The traveller has no symptoms but returned a positive test on arrival.

South Korean authorities have informed that based on their initial investigations they suspect the traveller was infected during the transit in Singapore airport.

However other causes, including infection in New Zealand, can’t be ruled out at this stage so the Ministry is in close contact with South Korea and is expecting further information from the authorities later today New Zealand time.

The Ministry is actively looking at whether any steps need to be taken here, based on the information available.