Covid 19 coronavirus: No new cases in the community, four in MIQ; transtasman bubble to open tonight

There are no new coronavirus cases in the community and four in managed isolation, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

One of the four cases announced today is historic.

Today’s Covid-19 update also takes into account Saturday, as the ministry’s last update was Friday.

Two of the new cases in MIQ arrived in New Zealand from Kenya on April 10.

The other arrived on April 15; they were from Lebanon and their infection was detected upon arrival.

The other case was from Pakistan – they arrived on April 5.

The historic case arrived from Papua New Guinea via Singapore on April 14 and was tested on arrival. They are not infectious, according to the ministry.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand today is 102.

Today’s update is the last one before the Australian travel bubble opens at 11.59pm tonight.

The Ministry of Health said this was a “timely reminder that people who visit New Zealand as part of quarantine-free travel will be able to download the NZ COVID Tracer app – there are no restrictions”.

“People may need to search their App Store or Google Play for ‘NZ COVID’ not just COVID as the search will prioritise the app from their country, therefore adding ‘NZ’ will be important to discovering the app,” a ministry spokesman said this afternoon.

Alternatively, he said, people can visit the ministry website and the link on the tracer app page will take them directly to the correct app in app stores.

“We recommend people continue to scan the NZ COVID Tracer app. The more we all scan, the safer we’ll all be. The data is stored on your phone until you choose to share it.”

There are 2,2785,282 registered users of the Covid-19 tracer app.

Meanwhile, the total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,972,640.

On Friday, 4688 tests were processed. On Saturday, 3965 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 4356 tests processed.

Two months since last community case

It has been almost two months since the last community case was detected in New Zealand.

Friday’s update by the Ministry of Health revealed just one case of Covid-19 in MIQ – someone who had arrived in New Zealand on March 30.

They had travelled from India – a country New Zealand has temporally suspended travel from, given the high number of Covid-19 cases.

Last week, Indian officials reported there had been 200,000 new confirmed cases of the virus in a day.

As the country remains on the no-travel list, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Government officials are looking into ways of reducing the Covid risk for New Zealanders travelling from India.

Speaking to Q&A this morning, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said there were two main things the Government had been looking at.

The first was more could be done on the ground in India to reduce the risk of people with Covid-19 getting on a plane to New Zealand.

The second was how the Government could best manage the risk when New Zealanders, travelling from India, arrived home.

“We will have announcements on that shortly. We’re working our way through the advice we’re getting from officials on that,” Hipkins said.

But he said it would include the pre-departure regime and whether more could be done in that space.

“On the New Zealand side, one of the things we will look at is cohorting.

“We’re already doing planeloads of people together, but we will look at whether there is more we can do to further strengthen our cohorting of arrivals to manage that risk.”

He suggested grouping the cohorts who flew together in the same MIQ facility when they arrive in New Zealand.

Today’s Covid-19 is the last one before the transtasman bubble official opens.

From tomorrow, Australians will be allowed to travel to New Zealand and not have to stay in MIQ for two weeks.

The bubble will be a lifeline to some tourism operators who, before the pandemic, relied on overseas travellers for their income.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, initially, the bubble would be a way for people on both sides of the Tasman to reconnect.

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