Covid 19 coronavirus: Zero community cases, one case in managed isolation

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New Zealanders have extra reason to celebrate their new freedoms today – a full week of zero community cases.

The seventh straight day of no community cases comes as Aucklanders enjoy the first day of level-2 freedom after a week of lockdown – and the rest of New Zealand returns to level 1.

There is one case in managed isolation – a person who arrived in the country on March 4 from South Africa via Qatar.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is now 72. Our total number of confirmed cases over the past 12 months is 2043.

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Earlier today, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced there had been no overnight community cases but it was likely there would be more cases in managed isolation.

“It would appear to be contained at the moment – I never want to speak too soon. I’ve learned from experience never to say it’s all over before it is actually all over but at this point it’s looking pretty good,” Hipkins told Newstalk ZB’s Francesca Rudkin.

Hipkins said the Government was reviewing whether some of the public advice was too complicated, after claims from some people they had received mixed messages about whether they should be self-isolating.

In one case, a woman went to work at KFC, saying she had been told she did not have to isolate – and later tested positive for Covid. The woman’s actions raised the ire of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“It is a constant learning exercise and we will now have the opportunity to sort of do a bit of a debrief and say okay what did we do well [and] if we had to do this again what would we do differently?” Hipkins told Newstalk ZB.

“We do that after every community outbreak that we deal with and every incident that we deal with. Every time we do things a little bit differently and we get a little bit better.

“This time we did rely more heavily on our contact-tracing system rather than lockdown so we had a very short, sharp lockdown, and then put the emphasis back on our contact tracing system.

“It was clear that not all of the information that our contact tracers needed…they didn’t get it all. And that created an added complexity.”

Rudkin asked him if people had received clear advice and communication.

“One of the things we did [in] this current community outbreak is we had additional kind of layers – so we’ve had the casual plus and the close contact plus categories. So one of the things that we will go back and look at now is did that work? Was that too complicated for people? Would we do that again if we were in the position again? We will go back and have a look at that.”

Meanwhile, excited Aucklanders have burst their bubbles this morning with coffee catch-ups, brunches and trips out of the city after a week cooped up under tough Covid-19 restrictions.

And life is returning to normal across the rest of the nation as level 2 restrictions give way to the freedom of level 1 life.

No more than 100 people are allowed at sports events, church services and social gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga.

Businesses can open, but they legally must follow public health rules. These include physical distancing and record keeping.

Everyone — workers, contractors and customers — with cold, flu or Covid-19 symptoms should also stay home, health officials say.

And experts are reminding Aucklanders they should take their alert level precautions with them and be extra cautious if they leave the city today.

In its update today, the Ministry of Health revealed the total number of Covid tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,779,213.

On Saturday, 6733 tests were processed. In the last seven days 71,831 tests were conducted. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 10,262 tests processed.

Since January 1, there have now been 37 historical cases, out of a total of 233 cases.

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