Covid 19 coronavirus: Five new cases in MIQ as ship with sick crew approaches Lyttelton

There are five cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation and no cases in the community today.

The Ministry of Health said there were now 48 active cases in New Zealand.

There were also four new historical cases– all of whom are also in managed isolation facilities.

The ministry said a previously reported case, from 11 July, has now been reclassified as a historical case. All five historical cases are included in the confirmed case tally.

The latest cases were from Indonesia, Fiji, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

Officials say there is one case where it is not known where an infected person came from.

This person was a mariner, unrelated to the Viking Bay or Playa Zahara.

The ministry said this person’s travel history was still being determined.

“We expect to be able to provide an update following case interviews,” said the ministry.

Of those returnees who tested positive, two people from the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates were found to be infected with Covid on day zero routine testing.

One person who arrived from Fiji on July 12 initially had an indeterminate result on day three routine testing. A further test on day five came back positive.

The minstry said there four new historical cases of Covid who were all in managed isolation.

A previously reported case fromJuly 11 had now been reclassified as a historical case. All five historical cases wereincluded in the confirmed case tally.

Viking Bay

In its latest update on the Viking Bay which is currently docked in Wellington the ministry said four crew members remained in quarantine onboard the fishing vessel at Queens Wharf.

The crew members would continue to be tested during their quarantine.

The remaining 16 crew members remained in quarantine in a Wellington facility onshore.

The crew member who was transferred to the onshore quarantine facility on Tuesday night after becoming unwell, had now returned a second negative test.

Playa Zahara

The ministry said when the second vessel with infected seamen on board arrived at Lyttelton Port 13 of the crew would be moved to a quarantine facility in Chrischurch.

Five crew would remain aboard to maintain basic functions of the vessel.

The transport of the 13 crew to the quarantine facility would be done using standard Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) protocols, including the use of appropriate PPE. IPC protocols would also be adhered to for the ship while it was docked at the port, said the ministry.

The ministry was keeping quiet on the timing of the ship’s arrival saying it would not be provided at this stage for security reasons.

The most recent crew aboard the Playa Zahara arrived in New Zealand on June 18 and spent two days at a managed isolation facility in Auckland. They provided negative pre-departure tests before arriving in New Zealand and again tested negative before boarding the ship.

The 13 crew to be transferred to the quarantine facility would include the two crew who returned negative tests.

Whole genome sequencing of the crew aboard the Playa Zahara was underway.

The ministry said Playa Zahara’s shipping agent and its crew were cooperating with officials to ensure the health of those aboard and the safety of the New Zealand public.

By mid-morning it was stationed east of Kaikōura after travelling south from Taranaki where testing took place earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Australia’s growing Covid crisis last night saw the New Zealand Government pause all travel to and from Victoria.

Yesterday there were 10 new community cases in the state that had previously avoided the outbreak surging in neighbouring New South Wales.

The government halted all travel to the state at 1.59am today and would review the decision on Monday.

The move followed updated public health advice from New Zealand officials and a growing number of cases and locations of interest.

Health officials asked anyone who had been in Melbourne in the past week and had since returned to New Zealand to monitor their health, and be aware that the number of locations of interest were steadily increasing.

Travel was suspended to New South Wales on June 23 with the emergence of community cases.

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