Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has warned New Zealanders it's too early to feel "comfortable" after reporting no new community coronavirus cases this afternoon.
Wastewater testing showed no Covid-19 had so far been detected around the Wellington region, Hipkins said at today's 1pm update.
There were two new Covid cases in MIQ.
Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield reinforced Hipkins' message, saying test results from Wednesday and Thursday were important and would be available by Sunday.
"We are not out of the woods yet."
Of the infected Australian traveller's 1752 contacts, 532 had returned a negative result. The rest were awaiting their results.
Just over 500 of the infected man's 1752 contacts were deemed close contacts and needed to self-isolate for the full 14 days, including a day-five test.
The results of the traveller's genome testing were not yet known. Hipkins said it had not affected officials' decision-making as they were presuming the variant was Delta.
Bloomfield said they had seen greater impacts of this variant in Sydney and the UK, where vaccination rates were high. Delta had a clear evolutionary advantage over other strains, and impacted young people more.
Hipkins said he had looked at mandatory QR code scanning, but there were big logistical hurdles around enforcement. It would add significant additional compliance for small businesses.
Hipkins said the Government was encouraging people to wear masks where they could not socially distance. Mandatory mask wearing was something officials were looking at. Compliance was an issue, and authorities also did not want to ask people to do things where there was not a good public health rationale.
Hipkins said authorities were encouraged by today's results, but it was still early. New Zealand had become "comfortable" and needed to stay vigilant a while longer.
More than 10,000 Covid tests were completed yesterday, including more than 3000 in Wellington.
The permanent testing station on Taranaki St in Wellington was at capacity, but there were many other testing stations around the city, Hipkins said. Wait times were reasonably low.
Bloomfield said there were more than 50 testing sites in the greater Wellington region. He urged anyone with symptoms and/or who had been at the places of interest at specified times to get tested.
Hipkins said people who had been around someone who had been at a place of interest did not need to be tested or self-isolate. They should just monitor their symptoms.
If they were at a location of interest and had a negative test earlier this week, people should continue to monitor their symptoms for the full 14 days.
Hipkins said the rules applied to all people who had been at the places of interest at the specified times, regardless of whether they were still in Wellington or not.
Hipkins said New Zealand was monitoring the Australian situation "very closely".
The recent case numbers in Sydney indicated the travel pause extension was the right call.
Risk decreasing - expert
Otago University Professor of Public Health Nick Wilson said today's results are good news.
"When you look at the whole picture, it is looking like the risk of an outbreak is going down."
Wilson said there's really four strands of evidence.
"The fact the individual was vaccinated; the fact their close contacts have tested negative, including his partner; the fact that thousands of people have now been tested in Wellington and they've all come back negative; and the wastewater results are pretty reassuring.
"All those things combined would suggest there's a relatively small chance that this is going to be a big outbreak. It may still be a small outbreak but yeah, pretty unlikely it is a big outbreak."
He said the Covid scare is still not over.
"The incubation period can be up to two weeks so we won't be really completely sure for further time.
"It might be quite reasonable if all those results are negative for the Cabinet on Sunday to change down the alert level."
Wilson said the response was not making good use of masks and was another missed opportunity to get QR code scanning mandated for high-risk settings.
"This is an example where the Government has not really used these low-cost tools to rapidly reduce the risk."
Wilson said the Government needs to seriously look at the success of various interventions such as mass mask use inside, similar to Victoria during its lockdown.
"They need to actually explain why it can't work in New Zealand when it works so well in Australia."
New location of interest
Earlier today, one location was added to the locations of interest: the men's toilets on the first level at the southern end of the domestic concourse of Wellington Airport.
Anyone who used the public bathroom between 9.15am and 9.30am on June 21 is being asked to stay home and get a test around day five. If that test is negative they are asked to self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days.
Wellington is into its second day at alert level 2, which remains in force until 11.59pm on Sunday.
Link to Bondi cluster
Yesterday New South Wales health officials confirmed an epidemiological link of the infected tourist to the Bondi cluster, providing reassurance the person did not contract Covid in Wellington.
The Health Ministry said four initial close contacts - two couples from Palmerston North and Tauranga - who were previously identified were isolating, following public health advice, and had all returned negative test results.
Meanwhile, the Government yesterday extended the pause on flights to New Zealand from Sydney for a further 12 days.