There are six new cases of Covid-19 today including a border worker linked to the November quarantine cluster.
That person, who is already in quarantine, is a close contact of one of the cases from
the November cluster. The cluster now has six cases.
Despite the new community case, the Health Ministry said the cluster was contained.
Health officials said this person was self-isolating at home from November 7, and chose to transfer to managed isolation five days later. They had a negative day five test and are now confirmed as a case today after returning a positive test at around day 12.
They remain in the managed isolation facility in Wellington. All close contacts have been followed up, tested and returned negative results.
There are now active cases in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Results of genome sequencing for today's case, known as case F, are expected Monday.
"We have the best chance of staying ahead of Covid-19 if everyone who becomes unwell with cold or flu like symptoms stays at home and seeks a test quickly, and all New Zealanders are keeping track of where they've been and who they've seen," said the ministry.
The ministry continued to encourage anyone who visited a location of interest during the relevant time period for the November cluster to get tested to ensure officials could quickly identify anyone who might have been infected.
The ministry also urged people to keep using the contact tracer app to scan into locations displaying a QR code or use a contact tracing diary. "The more every person scans, the safer we will all be," said the ministry.
The November cluster began when a Defence Force worker at the Jet Park quarantine facility tested positive (Case A).
The worker met another Defence Force worker (Case B) in Auckland. That person then flew to Wellington the following day, and did not wear a mask on the flight. This person is the close contact of today's case.
Case B ate at Malaysian restaurant Little Penang on the Terrace. Another Defence Force worker (Case C) was at the lunch and also contracted the virus.
Then, an AUT student (Case D) aged in her 20s who works at the A-Z Collections store in the CBD, tested positive. She was genomically linked to the Defence worker who was infected at the quarantine hotel.
And last Friday, a neighbour (Case E) who lives in the same apartment building as the Auckland student with Covid-19 returned a "weak positive" test for coronavirus.
The cluster continues to vex health officials who are yet to work out how Case A became infected working at a quarantine facility transmitted the disease to the inner-city tertiary student.
Health authorities yesterday revealed they were still continuing to follow up contacts from existing cases that were part of this cluster.
Managed isolation cases
The other five cases in New Zealand today are recent returnees in managed isolation.
Those who have tested positive include two people arrived from Qatar who arrived here on November 17. They returned a positive result to routine day three testing and are being today transferred to Auckland's quarantine facility.
The third person to test positive arrived from Germany via Qatar and Australia on November 10. They returned a positive result following a series of previous tests returning inconclusive results and have also been transferred to quarantine in Auckland.
Two people who arrived from the United States on November 14 have also returned positive tests and are now in quarantine in Christchurch.
There are now 42 active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.
The Health Ministry said laboratories yesterday processed 7014 tests , bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 1,224,397.
"This level of testing as well as the prompt identification, tracing, testing and isolation of close contacts provides reassurance that this cluster is contained at this stage," said the ministry in a statement today.
The central Auckland pop-up testing location is on High St, close to a number of locations of interest and would be open this weekend.
As part of increased surveillance the ministry said it would continue to have two pop-up testing facilities in central and east Auckland. Both locations were walk-in and didn't require a pre-booked appointment.
The east Auckland location is at 292A Botany Rd (Spectrum House) and would also be open this weekend. All testing locations are listed on the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website.
This weekend is a significant test for automatic tracing at Beervana festival in Wellington, with people not needing to individually scan in QR codes.
Beacons will be in use and the results of the trial will help digital agency Paperkite, which is working with the Ministry of Health, to decide whether there will be any further rollout.
But promisingly, the Ministry of Health said wide testing around the known cases allowed officials to have greater confidence there were not possible undetected links in the chain of transmission.
A deadly day
The new cases comes as World Health Organisation data reveals the coronavirus is killing one person every eight seconds around the world.
The WHO recorded 9989 new deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours – making yesterday the third deadliest day since the beginning of the pandemic as a third wave sweeps many parts of the globe.
In Europe, where cases are surging in multiple countries across the continent, the outlook is also grim, and WHO Europe's director warned one person is being killed by the virus every 17 seconds.