All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1.
At Alert Level 1, everyone must continue to do their bit to keep New Zealand COVID free.
- Stay home if you’re unwell and get tested
- Sign into places using the NZ COVID Tracer app and enable Bluetooth
- Practice good hygiene (includes washing your hands often and coughing into your elbow) 4. regularly clean high touch surfaces.
The following COVID-19 information below is accurate as at Thursday 14 January 2021. This has been provided by the Ministry of Health.
Border control; cases and new emerging variants
- The recent increase in COVID-19 cases at New Zealand’s borders is expected, given case numbers continue to increase globally.
- The Ministry of Health continues to monitor overseas developments very closely and is constantly reviewing and strengthening our response to COVID-19. This includes optimising our current stringent border processes including testing, regularly reviewing infection prevention procedures and undertaking whole genome sequencing of all cases to ensure New Zealand stays free of COVID-19.
- All positive COVID-19 tests in New Zealand are sent to ESR for whole genome sequencing as part of ongoing surveillance and our overall elimination strategy.
- As reported in the Ministry of Health’s press release on 11 January 2021, whole genome sequencing has identified a total of 19 cases of COVID-19 at the border with the variant known as B.1.1.7 (UK variant) and one case with the variant identified as B.1.351 (South Africa variant) in New Zealand since 13 December 2020.
- Further work to identify and better understand these variants is ongoing in New Zealand and internationally.
- Current research suggests the B.1.1.7 variant is around one and a half times more transmissible than previous variants but there is no evidence at this stage that the length of the infection period is any different to any other variant of COVID-19, nor is there evidence that it causes more severe illness.
- The Ministry of Health are closely monitoring emerging research on the B.1.351 variant (South African variant).
- We are also expecting to see more historical cases being detected in managed isolation due to an increasing number of people becoming infected and recovering before travelling to New Zealand. While these individuals may still have residual viral particles in their nasopharynx, which are picked up by our tests, they are no longer considered to be infectious.
- Anyone who has tested positive must meet the recovered case definition before being allowed to leave the facility as assessed by the medical team. This includes a period of at least 72 hours without any symptoms and a minimum of 10 days since symptom onset or a positive test