Six new Covid-19 cases, as NZ marks two months without community transmission

Source: 1News

There are six new cases of Covid-19 today, all caught at the border.

Testing for Covid-19.

There are no new community cases in today's update provided by the Ministry of Health, marking two months since the last community case in New Zealand.

One of the cases identified today is considered historical and is not infectious.

The ministry clarified that two passengers who had flown to Fiji and been diagnosed with Covid-19, as reported yesterday, had in fact transited through New Zealand on their way to Fiji from Doha.

Of those who got off the flight from Doha in New Zealand, none have tested positive during their managed isolation.

No additional UK or South Africa variants of Covid-19 have been identified in the latest weekly sequencing run by ESR, but due to a post-holiday season lag, positive samples from Auckland were not included in this sequencing run and will be sequenced and report on Wednesday.

The ministry said MedSafe is aware of reports of deaths in very frail patients after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in Norway.

"We are closely monitoring this situation as well as the results of the vaccine rollout out in other countries, including reported reactions and the overall safety profile of the vaccine," the update said.

"This includes the frequency of some reactions, the severity, and any previously unknown reactions. This monitoring will add to the clinical data we expect to receive from Pfizer.

"Medsafe will stay in contact with the European Medicines Agency as the vaccine rollout continues and will also continue to work with Pfizer and other companies producing vaccines.

"As with all medicines, Medsafe will thoroughly evaluate the Covid-19 vaccines to make sure they are safe, effective and appropriate for use in New Zealand."

The ministry also said that saliva PCR tests are now being looked at as a way to strengthen Covid-19 testing at the border.

"Saliva testing is considered a good additional option for those that require frequent testing, such as border workers, where saliva-based testing can complement regular nasopharyngeal testing.

"Using the PCR nasopharyngeal swabbing method is considered the gold standard for Covid testing as it detects the virus the most effectively.

"Border workers in New Zealand will continue to be tested on a regular, routine basis with the nasopharyngeal swabs due to their high sensitivity in detecting the virus."

There are currently 85 active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealland, all in managed facilities. No one is being treated in hospital.

New Zealand has recorded a total of 1906 confirmed Covid-19 cases so far, as well as 356 probable cases.

A total of 1868 tests were processed yesterday, bringing the total number of tests processed in New Zealand to 1,465,758.

The last routine update was provided yesterday and the next will be on Wednesday.