Health officials confident in systems as 12 more people with coronavirus enter NZ

Health officials are confident in the airport and isolation transfer process after 12 new imported Covid-19 cases were announced today, 10 of which were all from the same flight.

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Dr Caroline McElnay says every step of the process is designed to manage the cases closely. Source: 1 NEWS

Ten of the people arrived from India on September 26 on flight AI1354 and tested positive to the coronavirus on their day three tests.

They'll spend the next 14 days at Jet Park quarantine facility in Auckland.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay says it “is a high number”, but “that’s what our systems are set up to detect and manage”.

She says she is confident in the transfer process from airport, to isolation, to quarantine. 

“This is where we have to take universal precautions at all times. Our assumption is for anybody coming into New Zealand is that they may have possibly already been exposed to Covid, they may be already infectious or they may be incubating.

"So every step of our process is designed to make sure that people are managed from when they get off that plane to being transferred to their initial isolation facility and then while they’re in that facility."

McElnay says everything has to be "tightly managed", and the guard can't be let down even after that transfer and first testing process.

Twelve new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, all in managed isolation

"Because individuals may be incubating disease, they may be infectious, which is why we then hold people in isolation for the full 14 days, do another test at day 12 and it's only at that point that we can then be certain that they are Covid free."

The Air India crew from the flight were in managed isolation when they arrived which McElnay says is standard practice. They have since left the country and were in New Zealand for two days. 

McElnay says there "may be" a few other confirmed cases from that same flight, but results are yet to be provided.

The other two cases announced today arrived from separate flights; one from the US on a September 26 flight and the other from the Philippines on a September 23 flight who was a contact of another case.