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* Police issue nearly 50 warnings to rule-breaking returnees in managed isolation and quarantine facilities this summer
A bank and a supermarket have been added to a list of new locations and times visited by the latest two Covid community cases in Auckland. It comes as hundreds of people have swamped testing stations today but with, so far, no additional new positive cases.
The Ministry of Health this evening revealed the new locations of interest that were visited by the cases – a North Shore father and daughter who are now in quarantine.
The updated list includes a bank (ASB Wairau Valley) and a supermarket (the DaHua Supermarket in Northcote). The full list, published below, covers locations and times from January 15 to January 26, after the pair left managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel.
Several of the locations of interest visited by the Auckland pair were already on a list released yesterday by the ministry but the list has been updated with additional and new times.
They include new visits to BBQ King in Albany and Pak’nSave Silverdale.
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Hundreds of concerned Aucklanders swamped Covid testing stations today – with so far no further positive tests, said director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
More than 600 Covid tests had been conducted at the Ōrewa station alone, Bloomfield told Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan.
Bloomfield said it was still too early to say whether people should be staying put for Auckland anniversary weekend – or for Waitangi Day the following weekend.
“There’s been a lot of testing – so it’s been great to see the response. The more tests we get back that are negative, the more confident we can be that we have headed off community transmission. We can give firm advice tomorrow [Friday].”
Bloomfield announced earlier that all returnees in managed isolation would now be required to stay in their rooms for the last two days of their time in quarantine after the three new Covid-19 cases were discovered in the community.
Bloomfield said he could not confirm reports out of Australia that 12 people had left the Pullman Hotel – where the three community cases originated – and since travelled to Australia.
“I can’t confirm that,” he told du Plessis-Allan. “I do know that of the 354 people who we have followed up from the 9th (of January), that three of those people had subsequently travelled overseas – I do not know where to.
“There’s been a lot of testing – 600 in Ōrewa and no further positive tests. So that’s good news so far.”
Australia’s deputy chief medical officer revealed today that 12 people who completed quarantine at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland, where the highly infectious South African variant infected three people, travelled to Australia.
No more former Pullman guests had tested positive. Health officials were chasing 48 remaining former guests – from a total of 354 guests – to ensure they had not only had a test, but had come back negative.
Bloomfield said the latest two community cases, who were re-tested yesterday and announced last night, were a father and his young daughter from Auckland’s North Shore.
They had been moved into quarantine and the child’s mother is isolating at home for 14 days. It’s been confirmed the father and daughter also have the South African variant. They recently returned to New Zealand and left managed isolation at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel on January 15.
The Ministry of Health has updated the locations of interest list relating to the Auckland community cases, including removing a location and amending time periods for other locations.
Tai Ping Supermarket in Northcote, which was on the list yesterday, has been removed completely, while DaHua Supermarket in Northcote has been added.
The pair visited DaHua Supermarket on January 26 from 12.57pm-1.45pm.
The time of the pair’s visit to Farmers in the Westfield Albany Shopping Centre has been changed from noon-1pm to 11.29am-12.08pm.
The date of the pair’s visit to New World Ōrewa has also been updated from January 25 to January 23.
* = updated location details below
The full list is:
• BBQ King Albany – Jan 15, 5pm-6pm*
• BBQ King Albany – Jan 16, 5pm-6pm*
• BBQ King Albany -Jan 17, 11am-2pm
• Pak’n Save Silverdale – Jan 17, 2pm-2.30pm
• BBQ King Albany – Jan 17, 5pm-9pm
• Pak’n Save Silverdale – Jan 18, midday-12.30pm
• BBQ King – Albany Jan 18, 12.30pm-3pm
• Caltex Ōrewa – Jan 18, 1pm-1.30pm
• BBQ King Albany – Jan 18, 5pm-9pm
• Pak’n Save Silverdale – Jan 21, 1.37pm – 1.53pm*
• ASB Wairau Valley – Jan 21, 2.06pm – 2.09pm*
• New World Ōrewa – Jan 23, 12.30pm – 1.30pm*
• Hickeys Pharmacy Ōrewa – Jan 23, 12.30pm-1.30pm
• Farmers Albany-Jan 24, 11.29am – 12.08pm* (updated time)
• Tai Ping Supermarket Albany – Jan 24, midday-1pm
• Pak’n Save Silverdale – Jan 25, 2.35pm – 3.02pm*
• DaHua Supermarket Northcote – Jan 26, 12.57pm – 1.45pm *
• Caltex Ōrewa – Jan 25, 2.15pm-2.30pm *
Pullman Hotel under microscope and new MIQ rules
The Pullman Hotel managed isolation facility is under the microscope after three people were infected during managed isolation.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the Pullman Hotel is closed to new arrivals while an investigation is underway into how the virus spread. Once all its current guests have left it will also undergo a deep clean. Investigators will also look at whether there are any risks that need to be mitigated – including whether exercise rules needed to be changed.
Hipkins said everyone who has a MIQ voucher will still have a place and taking the Pullman out of action wouldn’t affect their spots.
The Pullman is one of the largest MIQ facilities and Hipkins said, on the whole, it had performed very well.
Hipkins said the investigation has established that the source case and the other cases have been out of their rooms at the same time but for different reasons.
So it appeared that there could have been some circumstantial conditions where the virus could have spread, such as in a lift or hallway, he said.
Hipkins said even countries that accepted fewer returnees or Australia, where people can’t leave their rooms, have Covid-19 incidents.
“There is absolutely no risk-free pathway here.”
The CCTV upgrade at the Pullman “has not been completed” so it’s not as good as other facilities and Hipkins said it was “unfortunate” the Pullman was one of the last facilities to get the upgrade.
All returnees are now required to stay in their rooms after their day 12 test – this is an interim measure and will come into effect from Saturday. It could, however, become permanent, he said.
Hipkins said he was also due to get more advice at the end of the week as to whether they needed to change the spread and arrival of returnees.
Hipkins said everyone who had a MIQ voucher would still have a place.
The introduction of day 0 testing was introduced after the latest cases and that “will make a difference in the future”.
There were 219 staff working in the Pullman between 9 to 13 January – 201 have been tested and all have been negative except the two positive cases last night. They are awaiting two test.
Hipkins said the 52 guests from the Pullman who haven’t yet been tested or had their results have been contacted and been told to isolate.
Bloomfield said those people were being continued to followed up and they had codes on their samples so the laboratories knew to expedite the tests.
Asked what happened during a deep clean, neither Hipkins nor Bloomfield knew exactly what was involved.
PM on new community cases
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier said she seeking advice from health officials on extra measures for travellers after completing managed isolation.
Ardern said “something had happened”, resulting in the virus being spread among guests at the Pullman Hotel. As a result no new returnees were coming into the hotel while the situation was being investigated.
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