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Covid-19: The case of the community is a ‘new frontier incursion’ and a new type of virus

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The new Covid-19 case in the community is a new frontier incursion and is not related to the Auckland August cluster or any other previous case, says the director general of health.

At a rare press conference Sunday, Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced that a man working on the boat around New Zealand had received a positive Covid-19 test result on Friday.

However, he shifted to public fears of another outbreak, saying the risk that the virus had spread to the community was low.

A person has been stabbed at a coronavirus testing center in Wellington.  (Photo file)

KEVIN STENT / Sende

A person has been stabbed at a coronavirus testing center in Wellington. (Photo file)

Bloomfield, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Chris Hipkins all said Sunday that a change in restrictions was not necessary at that stage.

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At a second press conference at 1 a.m. Monday, Bloomfield said the genome sorting by issue was complete.

It fits in with the scenario that this issue is a border incursion case, rather than a community case of unknown origin, he said.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield announces a new case of community broadcasting on Sunday.

Katarina Williams / Stuff

Dr Ashley Bloomfield announces a new case of community broadcasting on Sunday.

Results from genome sequencing show that this type of COVID-19 is not a type we have seen before in New Zealand and is not related to any existing New Zealand case.

Particularly reassuring is that it is not related to the recent Auckland eruption or other recent cases.

Bloomfield said following the community case, no new infections were found, either in managed isolation or in the community.

Tampons of close contacts of persons who had returned so far had negative results.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the source of the broadcast. However, they believed it was likely to come from another boat the man had worked on last Tuesday or Wednesday.

That ship, the Sofrana Surville, had left New Zealand and was heading for Brisbane.

The health minister had now demanded that the crew of ships in transit be tested, which was not the case before, Bloomfield said.

In total, 1530 confirmed cases of coronavirus were found in New Zealand, 37 of which were active, he said.

Five previous cases had been healed on Monday.

A coronavirus testing pop-up station was set up in the Ports of Taranaki, where another ship was anchored on which the man, Ken Rei, had worked.

What is known so far about the latest case of the Covid-19 community

The latest community case is an electronic marine technician who recently worked on a ship that traveled to Auckland, Taranaki and Lyttelton.

It was anchored near Napier on Sunday as the crew waited for public health leave before disembarking.

No one on board had symptoms.

The crew is being considered to have close contact with the man and is being tested.

The man was wearing a mask and gloves while on the boat for six hours when he anchored at Taranaki Ports on Wednesday.

He was tested hours after he showed symptoms of Covid-19 on Oct. 16 while at his workplace in Auckland.

The man was likely to be contagious two days ago, Bloomfield said.

Rooms at a hotel and motel where he stayed while on a business trip to New Plymouth last week were thoroughly cleaned.

He drove alone from New Plymouth to his home in Auckland Wednesday night.

It is not known if he stopped somewhere on the trip.

The man spent Thursday at home, leaving only to get food.

His home contacts are in isolation and are being tested.

Bloomfield said staff at the test center where the man was hit on Friday did everything right.

The man is now in the Jet Park quarantine facility near Auckland Airport.

The case showed how well the New Zealand processes were working, but the issue is another reminder that Covid-19 will not disappear soon, Bloomfield said.

The man was tested for coronavirus regularly because of his work.

On October 2, he had a negative result.

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