Ministry of Health
One new community case of Covid-19 in Auckland is announced by Dr Ashley Bloomfield on Sunday.
A vessel carrying people considered close contacts of a new community case of Covid-19 is being met by health officials at Napier Port.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield fronted a surprise press conference on Sunday, revealing details about a worker on a vessel who tested positive for the virus on Saturday.
Just how the worker picked up the virus is still being established, with genomic testing set to be carried out next week.
He first began showing symptoms days before. Health officials are meeting the vessel as the infected person had been on it earlier this week.
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Dr Ashley Bloomfield announces one new case of community transmission on Sunday.
While his infection is being treated as community transmission, Bloomfield said it was likely the man caught the virus at the border.
The man’s job has seen him work on ships at ports in New Zealand, including at the ports of Auckland and Taranaki over the past two weeks.
“The people from that vessel that he worked on in New Plymouth are being treated as close contacts. That ship is on route to Napier and arrives there this afternoon.
“The public health unit in Napier and other port authorities there will work carefully and closely to get in place plans to isolate and test the crew there … no one on board is symptomatic at this time,” Bloomfield said.
A vessel arriving into Napier Port on Sunday afternoon will be met by health officials. (File photo)
Historically, concerns have been raised about the ports being a potential weak point in the country’s Covid-19 border system. However, Bloomfield said the public should have confidence in the systems in place.
“The measures around our ports now are very strict, including things like the use of PPE on board ships, the regular testing regimes – and just again to point out that this person had actually had four negative tests, the last on the second of October as part of that regular testing. He was assiduous in getting his fortnightly tests.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the man had been “diligent” about getting regular Covid-19 workplace tests. Previously, he had returned a negative test result from routine testing at the Ports of Auckland on October 2.
On Friday, the man left work after developing symptoms and was testing for Covid-19 as soon as he became symptomatic – this was when his positive result was picked up.
“We are using our rapid contact tracing and testing systems to ensure there are not more cases associated with this man. His close contacts have been asked to isolate or go into the quarantine facility,” the ministry said.
The man was potentially infectious on Wednesday and Thursday. Over that time, he checked into a hotel and a motel in New Plymouth, with officials advising those facilities to carry out deep cleans in the rooms he used.
After learning about the positive result, Bloomfield notified Health Minister Chris Hipkins shortly after 6pm Saturday.
Speaking on Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was “nothing to suggest” the need to change alert levels, because the man was already working in a high-risk area.
“I understand this individual was already tested, as part of routine testing, four times.
“Actually, it is an example of the system working,” Ardern said.