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NZ Free from community cases, three imported cases in managed isolation today

There are three new cases of COVID-19 to report from managed isolation in New Zealand today. There are no new cases in the community. 

The first two cases reported today arrived from Ethiopia via Dubai on September 23. They have been in managed isolation at the Ibis in Hamilton and tested positive at routine testing around day 12 of their stay. 

The third case reported today arrived from Dubai on September 29. They have been staying in managed isolation at the Four Points Hotel and have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility upon returning a positive test result. 

NZ’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 1,505, which is the number reported to the World Health Organization. 

Nine previously reported cases are now considered to have recovered, which include the six remaining active cases from the recent community outbreak. 

The total number of active cases is now 37 – all imported cases. There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining. 

The Auckland August cluster will officially close when there have been no new cases for two incubation periods from when all cases complete isolation. 

One person remains on a ward in Middlemore hospital with COVID-19 today. 

Yesterday the laboratories processed 5,334 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 990,973. 

Statement from Health Minister Chris Hipkins

There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

“This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems that have been developed and strengthened since our first wave of COVID-19 have worked very effectively to chase down the virus, isolate it, and eliminate it,” Chris Hipkins said.

“It’s really good news, but as always we cannot sit back. Constant vigilance and team work, with everyone playing their part to ensure we stay on top of the virus, needs to be our new normal for some time to come.”

Since August 11, there have been 186 community cases of COVID-19 reported – 179 people linked to the Auckland August cluster, six people linked to the Christchurch returnees group, and the worker from the managed isolation facility at the Rydges.

“The scale and speed of the response ensured the virus was not allowed to spread unimpeded, as people worked around the clock to rapidly identify and isolate cases as they emerged in our communities, then trace and test their contacts,” Chris Hipkins said.

“The Auckland August cluster has been our largest by some margin, and it has taken considerable effort from across the health system, and from all New Zealanders, to contain this outbreak so quickly.”

In the two months since this outbreak began, laboratories nationally have processed nearly half a million tests – almost the same number as in the whole six months prior.

“This has been an extraordinary effort, and just one facet of our resurgence plan that responded to the virus re-emerging in our communities,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Everyone played their part. That came once again with enormous sacrifices, and I thank everyone for their efforts. I especially want to acknowledge members of the Pacific community in Auckland who were particularly affected by this outbreak, and whose cooperation was critical in the success of our response.”

“While having stamped out COVID-19 in our community for the second time is a real achievement that New Zealanders should be proud of, there is an ongoing risk that further community cases will emerge in the future.

“I urge New Zealanders to remain vigilant and to not let complacency creep in.”

Everyone should continue to keep a record of where they have been and who they have been with and maintain good hygiene practices. Doing this will support us remaining in Alert Level 1 as the risk of the virus spreading in the community is much greater when there are no restrictions on gatherings or going out.

“If you become unwell, stay home and seek advice on getting a COVID-19 test,” Chris Hipkins said. 

One of the successes of this outbreak was the ability to rapidly trace contacts of confirmed cases, including in instances where cases had kept track of every place they had been via the NZ COVID Tracer app.

“We must all continue to keep a detailed record of where we have been and who we have seen. Part of the reason we were so successful in tracing contacts of cases so quickly in this outbreak was through the details that cases were able to provide us.

“Even though we will all be in Alert Level 1 from tomorrow, please keep using the app as part of your daily routine – it will help protect your whanau and community.”

We expect the Auckland August cluster will officially ‘close’ in four weeks – which is when there have been no new cases for two incubation periods from when all cases are considered recovered.

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