Christchurch on edge, test results due from second linked household

People are already queuing at the Pages Rd Covid Testing Centre. Photo: Geoff Sloan
People are already queuing at the Pages Rd Covid Testing Centre. Photo: Geoff Sloan
It's a nervous wait for Christchurch with at least two households caught up in the latest South Island community outbreak with more test results to come and a threat of restrictions looming large.

Officials are scrambling to retrace the footsteps of a Christchurch pair who have tested positive for Covid-19 overnight, with one of the couple feared infectious for up to a fortnight.

Christchurch's mayor is in shock and the Covid Response Minister is mulling over whether the Garden City needs to go into a snap lockdown as more details emerge of the infection involving a person who had recently arrived in Christchurch from Auckland. The South Island is currently at alert level 2.

The Ministry of Health said a public health risk assessment of the situation is underway with the local public health unit gathering information from the pair who were now "quite unwell", after one member of the family who had been in the North Island spread the infection to the other.

Neither of the sick pair are vaccinated and described as not "particularly good" users of the tracer app.

At this stage health officials had pinpointed one other household as close contacts in the Garden City.

But officials were working to identify other close contacts and potential exposure events, including locations of interest with the situation expected to be updated at today's 1pm press conference.

This morning Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins he could not rule out a snap lockdown in Christchurch, but officials were still waiting on more information before making that call.

He told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking the sick person had travelled from Auckland to Christchurch and had been back a week. They could have well been infectious in the community for "quite a portion of that period", he said.

Hipkins said the initial case had travelled from Auckland to Christchurch with a child care exemption and had tested negative before arriving in Christchurch.

He described an infections outside the current alert levels as "worrying".

It comes on the same day as Government officials meet with primary principals in Alert Level 3 regions today to discuss the graduated return of children to class in mid-November and a major announcement about shortening stays in managed isolation for international travellers.

Meanwhile, a third person has tested positive in the small King Country town of Ōtorohanga after two cases at the weekend, linked to an outbreak in neighbouring Te Awamutu.

Ōtorohanga mayor Max Baxter confirmed the new case on social media this morning and urge people in the Waikato township to get tested.






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