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There was no media conference today. The Government is due to announce on Monday whether alert levels will change in New Zealand this week.
Auckland is on level 2.5, while the rest of the country is at level 2.
In a statement released at 2pm today, an hour later than usual, the ministry said the two community cases are household contacts of a case reported on Saturday, which is not connected to the large Auckland cluster.
The case reported on Saturday is a recent returnee who arrived in New Zealand from India on August 27 and completed managed isolation, returning two negative tests at the facility in Christchurch before returning home to Auckland on September 11.
The case reported yesterday was tested after developing symptoms on September 16, and returned a positive result. He and his household contacts self-isolated when he developed symptoms. They were all moved into the Auckland quarantine facility on September 18, when the first case returned a positive result.
All identified close contacts have been isolated and tested.
The source of the case’s infection is still under investigation, but genome sequencing is consistent with two confirmed cases from the same flight from India to New Zealand that landed on August 27.
The ministry said it is possible that this case was infected during that flight and has had an extremely long incubation period - there is evidence that in rare instances the incubation period can be up to 24 days. This person developed symptoms 21 days after he arrived in New Zealand. If this is the case, it sits well outside the standard incubation period of the virus.
The ministry said another possible scenario is that the case may have been infected during the flight from Christchurch to Auckland - other passengers from that flight are currently being contacted and assessed as a precautionary measure in order to exclude them as the source of infection.
The first imported case reported today is a man in his 30s who arrived from London via Dubai on September 16. He tested positive at routine testing around day 3 of his stay in managed isolation at the Novotel Ellerslie, and is being transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility today.
The second imported case reported today is a man in his 20s who arrived from India via Singapore on September 12. He returned a negative test for Covid-19 around day 3 of his stay in managed isolation at the Grand Millennium.
The man was moved to the Auckland quarantine facility as a close contact of a confirmed case, retested, and has returned a positive result.
There are 47 people isolating in the Auckland quarantine facility from the community, which includes 20 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and their household contacts.
Three people are in hospital with Covid - one each at Auckland City, Middlemore and North Shore hospitals. All are in isolation on a general ward.
Since August 12, the ministry's contact tracing team has identified 3916 close contacts of cases, of which 3912 have been contacted and are self-isolating, and we are in the process of contacting the rest.
The total number of active cases is 71 - of those, 36 are imported cases in managed isolation/quarantine facilities, and 35 are community cases.
The total number of confirmed Covid cases in New Zealand is now 1464.