No new cases; Kiwis urged to stay vigilant

There are no new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, but Kiwis are being urged to remain vigilant.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said five of the previously reported cases had recovered, meaning there were now 22 active cases in managed isolation in the country.

He said one single case outside managed isolation could turn into a wider outbreak if people were not vigilant.

"We have worked too hard to let that happen here," Bloomfield said at today's Covid-19 update.

Bloomfield again said that everyone who has Covid-19 symptoms should get a test.

He made it clear that tests were free.

There have been 1217 Covid-19 cases in New Zealand, Bloomfield said.

He said the message from the World Health Organization was clear: Stopping outbreaks comes down to public health measures.

He said an action plan regarding clusters in NZ's aged care facilities would be released soon. The review was commissioned in April.

He is now canvassing a response and the action plan will be released today - including an outbreak policy for aged residential care.

"We will be getting on to that very quickly."

He praised those who worked with older people through the lockdown period.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Chris Hipkins again reminded New Zealanders to have "constant vigilance".

"We have to keep our pedal to the metal," he said, when it comes to locking in gains the country had made.

He said New Zealanders can't afford to be complacent.

"We cannot afford for Covid-19 fatigue to set in."

He said every link in New Zealand's chain needs to be strong to prevent another outbreak.

Hipkins said every New Zealander needed to make small sacrifices, like signing in with the Covid app.

There have been 627,000 downloads of the app, and 82,000 posters put up, he said. Some 31,000 businesses and organisations are displaying them.

Hipkins said he would write to every mayor in the country, asking them to also ensure their local businesses and public facilities are displaying the QR codes.

Asked at what point making putting up QR posters will be become mandatory, Hipkins said: "We're not there yet."

He said he hoped to have more to say about new Covid-19 tracing technology on Thursday.

Hipkins said he wanted the rate of testing to increase.

He said a pop-up testing clinic in Queenstown today had attracted more than 400 people by midday.

Hipkins said going to a GP was still a barrier for some people getting tests. Because of this, the Government would be using more pop-ups across the country.

He said there was testing of hotel staff in MIQ facilities in Rotorua and Hamilton.

"It is happening."

He said the Government was aiming to have tests every two weeks for those in contact with people in managed isolation.

At the moment, every staff member who deals with people in managed isolation gets symptom-checked every day before going to work.

On a new, quicker test in the UK, Bloomfield said the Government was looking into a range of testing methods. The Government was looking into the UK example, he said, but more work needed to be done.

Hipkins said anyone leaving New Zealand was "essentially entering a hot zone; the rest of the world."

He said "if you leave, you will come into contact with people who might have Covid-19".

 

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