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Rise in number of UK Covid-19 variant, first case of South African strain among 31 new cases at border

New Zealand has recorded 31 new and historical Covid-19 cases in the past three days, all at the border.

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There were 31 cases of Covid-19 recorded in the last three days. Source: 1 NEWS

There are no new cases in the community, the Ministry of Health said today in a statement.

All 31 cases have since been transferred to quarantine facilities in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch. 

Eleven of the Covid-19 cases which arrived in the country on January 6 have since been identified as part of a group of 190 international mariners who are staying in managed isolation and quarantine facilities in Christchurch arrived in the country on Wednesday. 

A person being tested for Covid-19 (file). Source: istock.com

A number of mariners were not able to board flights to New Zealand after testing positive during pre-departure testing.

The managed isolation and quarantine facilities have strengthened procedures and protocols to ensure the risk to others in the group and in the facilities is reduced, the Health Ministry said.

Whole genome sequencing has identified a total of 19 cases at the border with the highly contagious new UK variant and one case with the variant first identified in South Africa since December 13, with most of the cases entering New Zealand from the UK via the UAE, Qatar or Singapore.

"These people are all cared for with the same high level of infection prevention measures as all Covid-19 positive cases, with daily health checks and use of PPE. Infection prevention control protocols are in place for all staff and we can assure the public that there is no increased risk to the community," the Health Ministry said.

On Thursday, the Health Ministry announced there had been four new cases in the preceding two days. It also announced at the time two more cases of the UK B.1.1.7 variant were recorded.

Eighteen cases have now recovered over the past three days, bringing the total number of active cases in New Zealand to 75. Our total number of confirmed cases is 1,863.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date to 1,438,446.

NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,435,400 registered users.

Poster scans have reached 150,344,922 and users have now created more than 6,067,898 manual diary entries.

The new Covid-19 cases are as follows:

December 26

- One case arrived from India via the UAE and tested positive during routine testing around day 12.

December 28

- Two cases arrived and tested positive during routine testing around day 12.

December 29

- One case arrived from the UK via the UAE and tested positive on day 10 as they were in a bubble with a case.
- One case arrived and tested positive during routine testing around day 12.
- One case arrived from the UK via the UAE and tested positive during routine testing around day 12.

January 3

- One case arrived from India via the UAE and tested positive on day six as they were a contact of a case.
- One case arrived from Zimbabwe via the UAE and tested positive on day 7 as a contact of a case.
- One case arrived from India via the UAE and tested positive on day 6 as a contact of a case.
- One case arrived from Austria via the UAE and tested positive during routine testing on day 3.
- One case arrived from Russia via the UAE and tested positive during routine testing on day 3.
- One case arrived from Zimbabwe via the UAE and tested positive during routine testing on day 3.
- One case arrived and tested positive during routine testing on day 3.
- One case arrived and tested positive during routine testing on day 3.

January 4

- One case arrived from the UK via Singapore and tested positive during routine testing on day 3.
- One case arrived from Poland via Germany and Singapore and tested positive during routine testing around day 3.
- One case arrived from the USA and tested positive around day 5.

January 5

- One case arrived and tested positive during routine testing around day 3.

January 6

- Three cases arrived from the Ukraine via Russia and Singapore and tested positive on arrival.
- Eight cases arrived from Russia via Singapore and tested positive on arrival. They have now been classified as historical cases.

January 7

- One case arrived from the USA and tested positive on arrival.
- One case arrived and tested positive on day 2.