Any new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand will be managed in a quarantine facility, says director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield.
Speaking to media Thursday afternoon, Bloomfield said there were 13 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Auckland, all linked to the four people who tested positive on Wednesday.
“As part of our national response to this outbreak, I am now directing all medical officers of health that all confirmed cases are to be managed in a quarantine facility.”
Bloomfield said this was different to how positive cases were managed when we the country was last at levels 4 and 3, “and shows how serious we are about limiting any risk of ongoing transmission, even in self-isolation, and including others in the household”.
“These facilities are expressly set up to help minimise any risk of further infection in the community. Since we have them there and they are available, we felt it was best.
“We have been working the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment team on ensuring there is enough capacity, particularly in Auckland where this outbreak is occurring.”
Bloomfield also confirmed the movements of the Auckland family at the centre of the latest outbreak, who had visited Rotorua and Taupō over the weekend.
The family checked-in to Rotorua’s Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort at 3.30pm on Saturday 8 August, and visited the Herbs and Spice Thai Restaurant at 8pm that evening.
At 2.30pm the following day, Sunday 9 August, they visited a Pak n Save supermarket before heading to the Heritage Farm and 3D Art Gallery at 3.30pm. At 4pm they went to Rotorua Skyline’s gondola and luge attraction.
The following morning on Monday 10 August they visited Sail Barbary Eco Sailing in Taupō at 10.30pm and took a boat trip. All those on the trip had been identified and contacted.
About 35 staff at Skyline Rotorua were now in self-isolation following Sunday’s visit.
Further testing stations had been set up in Auckland, Rotorua and Taupō.
Bloomfield said at this stage the Government was not considering wider restrictions outside of Auckland.
“What we are finding is that the source of this outbreak and where all the confirmed cases are, are in Auckland. We are of course doing the follow up of those visits where they have occurred around the country,” he said.
“Our experience earlier in the year was the vast amount of cases, around 95%, occur in workplaces and households, not in casual visits to places. At this point in time, it seems very clear that the locust of the outbreak is in Auckland.”
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said any decisions about extending Auckland’s lockdown would be made as more information came to light about the current outbreak.
She reminded Aucklanders to work from home if possible and only go out for essential items and to wear a face covering.
There were currently 10 checkpoints operating by the Police. By 7am Thursday morning, 312 drivers had been turned away as people tried to travel to their holiday homes out of the region.
A further update on the situation would take place at 1pm Friday and again at some point in the afternoon.
There was also one new case in managed isolation, bringing the total of new cases on Thursday to 14, and the total number of active cases in New Zealand to 36, 17 of which were related to the new outbreak.
One of the people who had tested positive had visited an aged residential care facility in the Waikato.
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