No new Covid cases overnight, but testing over 'next day or two' key to revealing any more virus spread - Bloomfield

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield is reporting a "good start to the day" with no new Covid-19 cases recorded overnight.

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Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says any new cases linked to the weekend's cases will start emerging from now. Source: Breakfast

However, New Zealand's not out of the woods yet.

Bloomfield told Breakfast this morning that any new cases linked to the weekend's cases will start emerging from now.

On Saturday afternoon, the Ministry of Health and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were advised of a positive community case, known as Case M, with initially unclear links as to how the 21-year-old man was infected.

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Case M is part of the February Auckland cluster. Members of his family were tested and case M's mother - Case N - tested positive for the virus. 

It was yesterday discovered Case N, a woman in her 40s, had contact with a woman in another family who were meant to be isolating under Alert Level 3.

Since Case M had community exposure, including at a gym, polytech and food outlets, Auckland moved into Alert Level 3 on Sunday morning, and the rest of the country back to Level 2. The restrictions are in place for seven days.

"One of the key drivers behind our advice to go into Alert Level 3 in Auckland was just the number of exposure events, the number of students at MIT (Manukau Institute of Technology), people at this gym who might have been exposed, and we've seen these cases pop up unexpectedly with this variant," Bloomfield said.

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"It's really the testing over the next day or two, which will be about day five for the last of the people that were exposed, that'll really give us some indication of whether we have got any further spread."

For people who would have been exposed earlier last week, including those at MIT mid-last week, Bloomfield said those cases would be emerging now.

"We would be starting to see that now, but he (Case M) was also out and about until Friday and the mother (Case N) on the Saturday, so it's really day five when we really do that first test because that gives people, if they're incubating the virus, a chance to develop the infection."

Anyone who experiences Covid-19 symptoms is tested right away, though, he added.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the 15th case linked to the Auckland February cluster, which started with a family at Papatoetoe High School in South Auckland last month, was revealed. But Case O had already been in quarantine with other family members.