Covid 19 coronavirus: Latest update on Christmas and Boxing Day cases

There have been 16 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand in the past four days.

Fifteen of the cases are at the border.

The other was a historical case in the community from seven months ago which has now been confirmed.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 50 after 15 cases recovered.

Our total number of confirmed cases is 1788.

The 16 new cases

• One case arrived on December 17 from the United States. The person tested positive on day seven as they were a close contact of another case on the same flight. This person is now in quarantine in a facility in Christchurch.

• One case arrived on December 19 from India via the United Arab Emirates. This person tested positive at routine testing around day three and has been transferred to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

• Two cases travelling together arrived on December 20 from India via the United Arab Emirates. They tested positive at routine testing around day three. They have both been moved to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

• Two cases, travelling separately, arrived on December 20 from India via the United Arab Emirates and tested positive from routine testing around day three. Both people have now been transferred to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

• One case, an air flight support crew member, arrived on December 22 from France. This person tested positive following routine testing on day two and has been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility. One close contact has been identified and that person has returned a negative result and is in self-isolation.

• Two cases arrived on December 21 from the United States. They tested positive at routine testing around day three. Both have been transferred to quarantine in a facility in Christchurch.

• One case arrived on December 22 from Pakistan via Qatar and Australia. This person was symptomatic and tested positive on day one. The person has been transferred to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

• One case arrived on December 22 from Malaysia via the United Arab Emirates. The person tested positive at routine testing around day three and has been transferred to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

• One case arrived on December 22 from India via Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. The person tested positive at routine testing around day three and has been transferred to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

• One case arrived onDecember 22 from India via the United Arab Emirates. The person tested positive at routine testing around day three. The person has been transferred to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

• One case arrived on December 22. The last leg of their journey was from Singapore but their country of origin is yet to be confirmed. The person tested positive at routine testing around day three and has now been transferred to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

• One case arrived on December 24 from India via the United Arab Emirates. The person was tested on day one as they were symptomatic. The person has been transferred to Auckland’s quarantine facility.

The historical case is a person who returned a weak positive in May.

The person, based in Christchurch, had results from additional testing which were inconclusive and it was determined the case was likely historical at the time of diagnosis, the Ministry of Health says.

At the time, the person was in close contact with a family member who recently returned from overseas and who was self-isolating at home as MIQ facilities were yet to be established.

The person fully recovered in May and is now being recorded as a community case. The investigation has formally been closed.

Over the summer break, the ministry is asking Kiwis to continue scanning their NZ Covid Tracer apps.

There are now 2,420,400 users on the app, scans have reached 144,622,903, and app users have created 5,829,315 manual diary entries.

Meanwhile, the total number of tests processed by the ministry’s laboratories to date is 1,394,812.

The next scheduled Covid-19 update will be provided on Tuesday, December 29.

Seven new cases linked to Sydney outbreak

Across the Tasman there are seven new cases of Covid-19 connected to the Northern Beaches outbreak in Sydney.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the news came after nearly 24,000 people were tested overnight.

Six were part of the Avalon cluster, and of those six, five were already in isolation. The seventh case is still under investigation.

Officials monitoring new strain in UK

Back in New Zealand, the ministry also made note of the emergence of a new strain of Covid-19, known as B.1.1.7, in the United Kingdom and officials were monitoring the situation.

They had also been told a Kiwi based in Taiwan had tested positive for the virus. The person had not been in New Zealand while infectious.

Kiwis in UK beg to return as new variants spread

The rapid spread of new Covid-19 strains in the UK has some New Zealanders pleading with the Government for help to get home.

Meanwhile people here – including health experts – want the Government to tighten the screws on its border controls.

One new highly infectious Covid-19 variant is spreading across Britain while another, imported from South Africa, is under investigation by experts.

A New Zealander in the UK, Ranko Berich, described the situation for fellow Kiwis as “hundreds of people in dire straits”.

He has been trying to get home with his wife and two young children, having left his job and given notice on his flat, but they have found themselves in the thick of travel disruption.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled after Singapore and Hong Kong stopped allowing transits.

“We’re effectively jobless and homeless and we have to sort of scramble to make alternative arrangements,” he said.

“There are many people in a worse situation where they’re struggling to find accommodation, they’re worried about money and really they’ve just got no options.”

The situation is made more complex by New Zealand’s managed isolation booking system which is full for about 10 weeks.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment said people could keep their managed isolation bookings if they rebooked new flights on the same day as their cancelled ones.

It expected between eight and 20 arrivals a day to be affected by the disruption in coming weeks, and said the cancelled bookings would be re-released on days with flights from the UK.

Additional reporting by RNZ

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