Today we are reporting two new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.
Two women from the same family, one in her 30s and the other in her 40s, who recently arrived from the UK via Australia have today been confirmed with COVID-19.
Both women arrived in New Zealand together on 7 June, stayed in a managed isolation hotel in Auckland and were permitted on compassionate grounds to leave managed isolation to travel to Wellington via private vehicle on 13 June.
There was an agreed plan in place as part of the compassionate grounds, including for the travel. Both women have followed all the conditions of the plan – including not having any contact with anyone on the journey or using any public facilities.
One woman experienced mild symptoms, the other was symptom-free.
Both presented for testing at a Wellington community assessment centre (CBAC) as part of their agreed self-isolation plan.
Following today’s positive results, local public health staff are testing and isolating all others who may be at risk of exposure. In this case, it is one additional family member.
Potential contacts include people on the same flight from Brisbane, and people who are in or have been in the same managed isolation facility, including staff. The contact follow-up is being managed by the national contact tracing unit at the Ministry of Health, with support from the local DHBs.
Staff at the isolation facility who had close contact during the period the women were there will be stood down and tested. Footage from the period when the women transited through Customs and Immigration at Auckland Airport is also being reviewed. Any staff at the border who are considered possible close contacts will also be stood down and tested.
Public health staff have been in contact with their counterparts in Australia so they can take appropriate action for passengers on the flight the two women were on from the UK to Brisbane.
Both women are self isolating in the Wellington region. We are confident this is the best place for them to be right now.
The family has asked for their privacy to be respected.
‘A new case is something we hoped we wouldn’t get but is also something we have expected and planned for,’ says the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.