New Zealand confirms seven new COVID-19 cases

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2020

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there were no new cases to report from managed isolation.

"We're doing the environmental testing".

All 12 community cases were based in Auckland, and none were believed to have travelled outside the region recently based on early investigations. Two are in an Auckland city hospital ward and one is in a Middlemore hospital ward.

People were also encouraged to download official COVID-19 contact tracing app.

Mr Hipkins said the delay could also be attributed to "other elements in the process", including the reporting of the test results back to primary care as well as the patient.

Forced to cancel campaign events due to restrictions on movement and crowds due to the health scare, the opposition has accused Ardern of using the pandemic to shore up support as she appears on television almost everyday to reassure New Zealanders, while their own leaders struggle to draw audiences.

On travel exemptions on the Auckland border, Dr Bloomfield said they had received more than 100 requests.

"It means that the usual 24-hour time frame for turnaround, in some cases, is extended to 48 hours", he said.

NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 1,303,200 registered users, which is an increase of 655,000 in the last four days, and 130,000 in the last day.

Hipkins told TVNZ's Q&A the Government's working through supply issues, but once they're sorted he won't rule out making masks mandatory.

Together, the opposition National party and government partners New Zealand First, amount to a parliamentary majority, which could force Ms Ardern's hand.

As is the Ministry of Health's usual protocol all close and casual contacts of today's new cases are being traced, and will be getting tested for COVID-19. However, some exemptions are allowed - for example, people entering or leaving Auckland to: return home, access medical services or to transport a child as part of a shared caregiving arrangement.

Details of this and how to apply for an exemption can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

This raised serious questions, he said, such as whether there is operational capacity to cope with the volume of postal votes in Auckland and potentially elsewhere, if the postal system can ensure no legitimate votes are rejected and the fairness of the result if older and more vulnerable New Zealanders cannot vote in-person.

Ardern will reveal tomorrow morning if the election will go ahead next month, or if it will be delayed because of the cluster of Covid-19 in Auckland. For more information, including how to apply, see advice for travellers.

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