Authorities 'working very fast' to prevent alert level shift after Covid-19 case visited Auckland pub - Health Minister

Health Minister Chris Hipkins says authorities are “working very fast” to prevent a shift in alert levels after a person who later tested positive for Covid-19 visited a pub in Auckland’s Greenhithe last Friday night. 

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Chris Hipkins says effective contact tracing can “stop the virus in its tracks”. Source: Breakfast

Hipkins told TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning that the “small group” of people who visited the pub with the positive case had been tracked down, and authorities were getting in contact with them. 

“There’s no zero risk strategy here. We are going to have to, from time to time, deal with these small cases,” he said.

“We want to keep them as isolated as possible. If our contact tracing systems work at speed and we can isolate people who are contacts of positive cases, then the need to escalate alert levels shouldn’t be as necessary.

“We’re working very fast at the moment to make sure we get this contained so we don’t have to reconsider alert levels.”

He urged people who visited the pub while the positive case was there to stay home, self-isolate and get tested. 

The case was infectious while at the pub from 7.30pm until 10pm on Friday, October 16.

While most people at the pub would be considered “casual contacts” and the risk was low, Hipkins said there was still a small risk. 

He said people who had scanned into the pub using the COVID Tracer app would have received a push notification "more or less straight away” after authorities had found out about the case.

Hipkins urged people to continue using the app because that can help "stop the virus in its tracks".

He said there will be a pop-up community testing centre in the Greenhithe area today. 

The location and times of the centre will be confirmed on the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website today.