Covid-19 coronavirus: Eight new MIQ cases, Perth lockdown traveller revealed

A traveller from Perth was able to enter New Zealand despite the lockdown in the Australian city, it has been revealed.

Immigration NZ has alerted the Ministry of Health to a person who travelled from Perth to Auckland, via Sydney, on April 26, during the Perth/Peel lockdown period.

“The person arrived in Auckland and travelled on to Northland. Immigration’s border operations became aware of this person’s arrival during routine passenger screening checks after they arrived in Auckland,” Ministry of Health officials said today.

“The person is currently self-isolating.

“Any person who enters New Zealand who is ineligible for quarantine-free travel is required to isolate for 14 days and is subject to penalties.”

Immigration NZ has launched an investigation into how the person was able to enter this country.

The current risk to New Zealand has been assessed as low but a further update will be provided this afternoon.

New Zealand health officials remained in contact with their Australian counterparts and are closely monitoring the situation in Western Australia, the ministry said.

Eight new cases in NZ MIQ

There are eight new Covid cases in managed isolation facilities today.

There are no new cases in the community, the Ministry of Health says.

The eight travellers infected with the virus arrived in New Zealand between April 12 and 25.

Two from Pakistan are contacts of another case and tested positive on day 12.

Another two cases from Pakistan tested positive on day 0 and day 1 of routine testing.

Two others came from Japan, one from Germany and another from the United States.

Covid detected in Auckland wastewater

Meanwhile a “very weak positive” Covid result has been detected in a wastewater sample in Auckland.

It is the same area where 10 recovered people have recently returned, after spending time in the Auckland quarantine facility.

“Seven of these people were released within one-two days prior to the sample being taken.Another sample is being taken today with results expected later this week.

“The recovered cases are no longer infectious and there is no evidence that the wastewater is infectious.”

The ministry said that people who had recently had Covid can continue to shed “fragments” of the virus for several weeks, without being infectious to others.

“Wastewater sampling can detect these fragments, which are not infectious and their presence is not considered a risk to the community.

“Wastewater testing in New Zealand is being increased, and when unexplained detections occur this will help support prioritisation of surveillance and testing of potentially infectious individuals.”

Meanwhile all 39 close contacts of the Auckland Airport worker who tested positive last week have returned negative test results.

The close contacts will continue to self-isolate and they will be retested.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand today is 36.

Today’s update follows New Zealand being knocked from its top ranking as the best place to be during Covid-19 after being pipped to the post by Singapore.

Singapore has overtaken New Zealand and is now rated number one due to the fast speed it has rolled out the Covid-19 vaccine and due to having virtually no local-transmission.

Until now New Zealand held the top spot on the Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking since it was launched in November 2020.

Earlier today Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson signalled that the Government was working closely with Indian officials to establish what New Zealand can do to help

Speaking to TVNZ’S Breakfast show, Robertson said: “It’s awful. Our heart goes out to the people in India.

“Along with the rest of the international community, we’re poised to support India.

“I know a number of countries have already got oxygen and other things coming in and we’ve just got to back the Indian Government and the Indian community to get past this terrible situation they’re in at the moment.”

The situation in India has become crippling – with more than 2000 deaths and 350,000 new Covid cases being reported each day.”

Officials, however, believe those numbers are not the true toll.

Having the health system overwhelmed by the sheer number of Covid-19 cases was a real fear for all the world’s countries, Robertson told the AM Show, which is exactly what is playing out in India right now.

Covid-19 figures on Sunday

There are no new cases of Covid-19 in the community or in managed isolation reported on Sunday.

On Sunday, the seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border was one.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand today was 33 on Sunday – making the total number of confirmed cases 2245.

As at Sunday 1pm, there have been 49 historical cases this year, out of a total of 429 cases.

Travel bubbles with Pacific on the cards

Robertson has also given an indication of more travel bubbles potentially opening up in what he said was the “near future”.

“We’re going to step out the kind of opening you’ve seen with the transtasman bubble – and we’ll look to do that in some of our Pacific neighbouring countries in the near future.”

Those comments come as countries including the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa remain completely Covid-free.

“But Covid will be with the world for a long time – and we’ve got to see that vaccination campaign around the globe before that sense of normality comes.

“This is a pandemic and New Zealand and Australia – we’ve all done really well here and we’re enjoying a lot of freedoms as a result.

“But across the world there is still a lot of death, unfortunately, a lot of cases and a pandemic that still needs very close management.

Fiji, however, is dealing with a lockdown after cases emerged from a funeral that has been dubbed as a super-spreader event.

Robertson also acknowledged the situation in Fiji, where 12 new cases were confirmed in the island nation last night.

“We are supporting our friends in Fiji at a number of levels – both in terms of their Covid response, but their overall budget as well.

“It is concerning and worrying. They’ve taken pretty drastic and dramatic action – which is what you’d expect in a situation like this. No flights going in and out for a period of time.

“But it just reminds us all – doesn’t it – that the risk of Covid isn’t going anywhere.”

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