Seven new Covid cases announced

There is one new Covid-19 case in managed isolation in New Zealand today, in addition to the six Pakistani cricketers announced last night.

Health officials have just released today's case numbers update.

The sole new case today arrived in New Zealand on November 23 and tested positive during routine day three testing in managed isolation.

Yesterday, it emerged six members of the Pakistan cricket team, who are in managed isolation in Christchurch ahead of their New Zealand tour, had tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in New Zealand. All six are now in quarantine.

The entire team is also on notice from the Government after players were issued a final warning for breaching rules in managed isolation.

The Ministry of Health said Pakistan's cricket team members were now set to undergo day three testing today as planned.

Authorities will only grant the team an exemption to train while in managed isolation once the outcome of these day 3 results are known.

A medical officer will also need to be satisfied that the team members are unlikely to transmit Covid.

Health teams were now interviewing close contacts of the cricketers who tested positive. This included authorities contacting or being in the process of contacting flight contacts of the players on the same flight.

"Any of the team identified as a close contact would not meet the requirements for the exemption as there is a risk that they could transmit Covid-19 to fellow team mates," the Ministry of Health said.

The Pakistan team members had earlier met agreed "pre-departure requirements" necessary for travel into New Zealand, including multiple PCR tests, and symptom checks.

However, the ministry said exemptions allowing people to train while in managed isolation "are very difficult to obtain and any team that receives such an exemption is in a privileged position".

"A number of the incidents reported yesterday that constituted breach of the rules of managed isolation, included players leaving rooms without masks, mingling and chatting in hallways, and passing items," the ministry said.

The team is staying in the Christchurch managed isolation facility the Chateau on the Park, but their isolation breaches did not affect other guests at the facility, the ministry said.

"Since the team was issued with a warning, compliance with MIQ rules in the facility has significantly improved," the ministry said.

"We thank members of the team for their cooperation with the case investigations following the announcement of positive cases within the team."

The six cases involving the Pakistani team and the seventh case reported today take the number of active Covid cases in New Zealand to 66.

There has now been 1691 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in this country since the pandemic began.

More than 1.2 million tests have now been undertaken, including 7454 yesterday.

Infected Air NZ crew member latest

Meanwhile, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, meanwhile is still working to identify "locations of interest" linked to an Air NZ cabin crew member who caught Covid-19 while overseas.

The crew member tested positive in Shanghai on Sunday, and returned another positive result when they returned to New Zealand on Tuesday.

"Results of genome sequencing show that the lineage of this infection is not associated with any New Zealand cases that have been sequenced, indicating international exposure is most likely," the ministry said earlier in the week.

So far 17 close contacts of the Air NZ staff member have been identified. Eleven have returned a negative result and the remaining six results are pending, the ministry said.

The Ministry of Health has sent out six push notifications through the NZ COVID Tracer app for locations of interest that were visited by the Air New Zealand worker.

As at 10am today, 106 app users have received contact alerts from these notifications.

The ministry also reminded shoppers rushing out for Black Friday sales to scan into stores using the NZ Covid Tracer app.

"Customers should also wear a mask in places where you cannot physically distance yourself from others, and wash and sanitise your hands regularly," the ministry said.

"As always – if you are unwell, stay at home and seek advice on getting a test – you can still shop online while keeping your community safe."

The NZ Covid Tracer app now has 2,384,300 registered users.

Poster scans have reached 127,285,389, and users have created 5,173,924 manual diary entries.

Sport Minister disappointed

Earlier today, asked if he was disappointed with the Pakistani cricket team, Sports Minister Grant Robertson said "of course".

"The rules are very, very clear for anyone who is in managed isolation, but particularly for those people who have the privilege of being able to train while they are in managed isolation."

He said he knew the expectations had been reiterated to the team and he expected that they would now be understanding of the rules, and fully comply with them.

The team was "on its final warning".

Robertson said it was up to the Ministry of Health as to what happened next.

But he said it showed that the "system is working" and the breaches were all within the facility.

"No one tried to break out or anything like that," he said, "there is no danger to public health here."

A guest staying at the same hotel said players had flouted social distancing rules despite warnings from security. There have also been issues over mask use and socialising in corridors.

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