There are no new Covid-19 cases in the community today as Aucklanders edge ever closer towards more freedom under alert level 2.
There are nine new cases in managed isolation. Eight of the cases in managed isolation were from India and one was from the US. Two pairs of cases that arrived from India are from the same bubbles.
“Today’s managed isolation case numbers underscore the value of having the day 0/1 testing in place,” the Ministry of Health said.
“All people arriving into New Zealand must remain in their rooms until those day 0/1 tests results come back, and in these cases, all 9 people are transferred to a quarantine facility following those positive results.
“It’s also not uncommon to see some of the day 0/1 cases be reclassified as historical cases, which are not infectious,” health officials said.
Warning to Aucklanders
“It’s encouraging to see another day without any community cases, and as New Zealand prepares to move down Alert Levels, we must all remain vigilant and continue to do our bit,” the ministry said.
“This includes staying home if you have any symptoms and phoning Healthline for advice on getting a test, wherever you are in the country, and by keeping a record of where you have been at all times The CovidTracer app is an easy way to do this. Please continue to scan QR codes wherever you go and turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app dashboard if you haven’t already done so.Continue to wash your hands, and cough or sneeze into your elbow,” the ministry said.
Six previously reported cases have recovered. The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 71. Since the pandemic began, 2042 people have tested positive for Covid-19 locally.
On Friday, 9,471 Covid tests were processed. More than 71,000 tests have been processed in the last week, with a seven-day rolling average up to yesterday of 10,159 tests processed.
The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,772,480.
Freedom on the horizon
Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare’s revealed this morning there were no new community cases overnight. Today’s update confirmed there were no more cases detected since.
It comes as Auckland prepares to move into alert level 2 at 6am tomorrow, while the rest of New Zealand goes to alert level 1.
Henare said they had “gained considerable confidence” they had managed to contain the Valentine’s Day cluster before Sunday’s 6am alert level drop.
From 6am on Sunday, the regional borders will be reopened, meaning Aucklanders will be free to travel around the country and others can come into the Auckland region.
However, experts say Aucklanders should take their alert level with them, meaning being extra cautious when outside the region.
Aucklanders can return to work and school, eat out at restaurants, move outside their bubbles, return to gyms, hair salons and nail bars.
But restrictions remain.
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.
Alternative ways of working are encouraged where possible.
Everyone — workers, contractors and customers — with cold, flu or Covid-19 symptoms should stay away home.
After a week being accused of sending out mixed messages, the Government has taken an additional step of issuing a Health Act Section 70 order requiring contacts from the Valentine’s Day outbreak to isolate and get tested.
“It does make it very crystal clear to everybody that there is a formal legal requirement for people to do this,” director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said.
The order applies to everyone who was at the City Fitness gym with Case L and anyone already contacted by public health officials and told they’re a close, casual plus or casual contact and must isolate.
It legally requires them get tested and stay home until they get their results.
It also means health officials can visit those people’s home or place of work to ensure they are following the instructions.
Bloomfield pointed out a legal framework already underpinned what contacts of cases were required to do.
But issuing a Section 70 order made the instructions simpler and reinforced the legal requirement. Maximum penalties for not complying are six months in prison or a fine of up to $4000.
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