‘We can’t rule out community transmission’

Two of the 13 new Covid-19 cases announced on Saturday have not yet been linked to overseas travel, raising the spectre of community transmission, Marc Daalder reports

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told reporters today that the Government "cannot rule out a risk of community transmission" in two of the 13 new Covid-19 cases announced this morning.

Bloomfield said neither of the people had travelled overseas but that their close contacts were still being traced. The Government has said previous instances of individuals contracting Covid-19 in New Zealand were not community transmission because they were infected by people in the same household.

One of the two cases is in Auckland. Neither they nor their partner have travelled overseas, although Bloomfield said the partner - whose test is processing - regularly comes in contact with people who do travel overseas.

The other person is in the Wairarapa, but no other details were given.

"We can’t rule out that there was community transmission, but what we’re interested to find out is whether that community transmission happened there or somewhere else in the country," Bloomfield said of the Wairarapa case.

"And also understand, of course, whether there’s any further risk of community transmission in the country."

Bloomfield declined to label these cases community transmission, saying: "It certainly raises the risk of that. The investigation is still ongoing. In the case of the Wairarapa person, there are a couple of close contacts who are still being tested as well so we're awaiting the results of those tests."

Read more of Newsroom's Covid-19 coverage here. 

Covid-19 is transmitted like the flu. The Ministry of Health recommends that all New Zealanders wash their hands frequently and refrain from touching their face in order to protect themselves and others. Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have been to any countries or territories of concern or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with Covid-19.

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