Tuesday, 20 Apr 2021

Covid 19 coronavirus: Border worker understood to have contracted virus

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield is holding an unscheduled press conference at 1 pm today suggesting a new case of Covid-19 has been detected outside of arrivals to New Zealand.

However the Herald understands that the case has been identified in a border worker and there is no evidence of community spread.

Border workers undergo regular testing for Covid-19 and were in the first priority group to receive vaccinations.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has cancelled plans to go to Dunedin today but that was forced by fog, not by Covid-19 issues. She is likely to hold a press conference later today in Auckland.

The ministry announced the unscheduled press conference this morning.

Yesterday, there were no reported community cases but seven in MIQ.

They included one person from the US, who arrived on March 22 on a direct flight and tested positive on about day 14 of their stay after contact with a positive case.

The other six cases were all from India, having all flown through the United Arab Emirates.

Bloomfield said officials have had a “specific look” at people coming from India given the large number of positive cases recently.

He said the CT value of the majority of people who were returning positive test results when arriving in New Zealand show that they caught the virus in transit.

Because of this, he said there were no concerns with the level of accuracy of the Covid-19 pre-departure tests in India.

A CT – cycle threshold – value is a figure indicating how much Covid-19 a person has in their body.

The CT value is the number of copies it takes for the virus to show up.

A low rate of infection will take more cycles to show up but if the patient is highly infectious, it’ll show up quickly, so your CT value would be low.

Bloomfield and Associate Minister Peeni Henare also gave an update on the vaccination rollout yesterday.

At that stage there had been 90,200 vaccines administered with the 100,000 mark expected to be passed in the next couple of days.

A total of 19,273 people have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

So far, New Zealand is at 96 per cent of where it is at on the rollout compared to its expectations.

Bloomfield added that the ministry would have more up-to-date information on its website about the vaccine effort.

The dashboard will include information “such as the number of people receiving their first vaccination, the number receiving their second dose and a graph showing vaccinations administered each week compared to the total number that had been planned”, the ministry said in a statement.

“Other information on the dashboard will include the number of vaccinations administered on a given day, the number of first and second doses given by individual district health boards and vaccinations given by ethnicity, age and sex.”


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