'Significant milestone' - New Zealand hits 100 days without community transmission

Source: 1News

New Zealand has reached a new milestone — 100 days since the last case of community transmission of Covid-19.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield

The Ministry of Health today reported no new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand remains at 23, all in managed isolation.

It’s been 100 days since the last Covid-19 case was found locally from an unknown source.

The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield acknowledged the milestone, but urged caution.

“Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone. However, as we all know, we can't afford to be complacent," Dr Bloomfield said.

“We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand."

He urged people to continue seeking advice from their GP or Healthline if they had Covid-19 symptoms. He also urged people to continue keeping track of their movements.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also called today “a milestone”.

But, she remained cautious.

“It actually doesn't lessen any of the risk,” Ms Ardern said.

“We are still having to, of course, manage our borders very, very carefully.

“One hundred days is a milestone to mark but, again, we still need to be vigilant regardless.”

Deborah Callahan, integrated services programme manager at Canterbury Clinical Network, told 1 NEWS she wasn’t surprised New Zealand had hit the 100-day mark “because we have such good systems, we have such good clinical teams, we listened to the science”.

“It's confidence in our systems. It's confidence in our procedures and processes, the teams that are working hard every single day,” she said.

“At the airport, at the maritime borders, at the border controls, and the quarantine facilities all across the system … we're all working to make sure that New Zealand stays safe and this is a good testament to that.”

She said Kiwis needed to be mindful a simple human error could cause Covid-19 to enter the community again, like in Melbourne. 

“I think we're becoming relaxed rather than complacent.”

The number of confirmed cases remains at 1219. 

There were no new deaths reported, with the national toll remaining at 22. No-one is receiving hospital-level care for the virus in New Zealand.

Laboratories processed 4249 tests yesterday, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 494,481. There were 542 swabs taken in managed isolation and quarantine facilities yesterday.

The Ministry of Health said District Health Boards' pop-up testing centres continued to be well-attended.

Yesterday, a pop-up testing centre in Manurewa tested 153 people, and a further 326 people were tested at a pop-up testing site near Christchurch Airport.

On Friday, 133 people were tested over a two-hour period at New World in New Plymouth.

There was no live 1pm briefing today, with the Ministry of Health releasing the numbers in a statement instead.