Covid 19 coronavirus: Dr Ashley Bloomfield to give update on suspected border worker case

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield is set to give details about a border worker suspected of having Covid-19.

The Herald understands there is a case involving a border worker, but there is no evidence of community spread.

Border workers undergo regular testing for Covid-19 and were in the first priority group to receive vaccinations.

Dr Bloomfield was not due to hold a press conference today. The ministry was scheduled to issue its usual press release.

They announced the unscheduled press conference this morning.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cancelled plans to go to Dunedin today but that was forced by fog, not by Covid-19 issues. She is likely to hold a press conference later today in Auckland.

Dr Bloomfield will also provide an update on whether there are any other new cases of the virus, including in managed isolation facilities.

There were seven new cases in MIQ yesterday, including one person from the US who arrived on March 22 on a direct flight and tested positive on about day 14 of their stay after contact with a positive case.

The other six cases were all from India, having all flown through the United Arab Emirates.

He will likely also give an update on the vaccination programme which will see 35,000 doses a week being delivered through DHBs and that number only increasing.

“We’re in a very different situation from most other countries,” he said.

Other countries have had major outbreaks, New Zealand has not.

“We don’t want to take our eye off the ball.”

He also confirmed yesterday that the Valentine’s Day cluster was now officially closed.

That was because it had now been 28 days since the last identified case in the cluster had recovered.

The source of the outbreak has not been determined but all cases were linked through genome sequencing.

Bloomfield said that it was “very likely” that the source of the Valentine’s Day outbreak will never be found.

Associate Minister Peeni Henare also fronted yesterday’s conference.

Henare, who had his vaccination yesterday, said he had since been feeling well and looking forward to spread the message around the vaccine.

He would promote it in the South Island to Māori communities this week.

The MoH has been in conversations with Māori health providers about the rollout.

Iwi leaders and communications networks have been utilised, and social media will be used too.

He is working with Māori health providers to train more Māori to administer the vaccine.


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