Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield says there is a very low chance of Covid-19 in the community, even though a person released early from managed isolation is no longer in contact.
There is one new official case today and one unofficial case, but both people are contained in managed isolation facilities and have been or will be transferred to quarantine facilities in Auckland and Rotorua.
Bloomfield also confirmed that up to 63 per cent of the 2159 people who should have been tested before leaving managed isolation from June 9 were not tested. But they pose a low risk because they completed 14 days in isolation.
All of the current 12 active cases are in isolation, and despite the highest number of tests yesterday, there remains no evidence of domestic transmission.
"We're not detecting any covid outside our isolation facilities," Bloomfield said.
One of the new cases is a woman in her 60s who flew into the country from India on June 18 on the Air India repatriation flight AI1316.
She was staying at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland but has now been transferred to the Jet Park quarantine facility.
Bloomfield also said there is a positive case in Rotorua following the city's Ibis Hotel being put into lockdown.
This case is yet to be added to the official tally as the result wasn't known before the 9am cut-off this morning.
Bloomfield said he was confident the Rotorua facility was being safely managed to prevent the spread of the virus, and the person will be transferred to an appropriate quarantine facility in Rotorua.
More than 20,000 people have been through managed isolation in New Zealand, Bloomfield said.
Since June 16, when two sisters who flew in from Britain returned positive tests after being allowed to drive to Wellington on compassionate grounds, there has been more than 45,000 tests done across the country.
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Enforcement called over no contact
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health finally revealed how many of the 55 people who left managed isolation early on compassionate leave were not tested for Covid.
The answer was 51.
Keriana Brooking, deputy director-general health system improvement and innovation, said that 34 people were granted an exemption to attend the funeral of a family member or grieve with family.They later returned to the facility or self-isolated in an agreed location.
Sixteen people were allowed to leave to self-isolate with a family member who was close to dying. Four were granted day visits to see a family member who was close to dying. One was granted leave because of a terminal medical condition.
People who visited family members who were dying had to wear PPE while visiting, were not allowed to leave their vehicles and were required to undergo a Covid-19 test at a community testing station.
Thirty-nine of the group of 55 have been tested and returned negative results. Eleven will not be tested because of health reasons or because they're children.
Three are awaiting test results and one person who has had a test has not returned contact.
Brooking confirmed the person had been referred to enforcement services.
That person posed a low risk because the ministry would have been alerted if they had returned a positive test result, Bloomfield said.
The only people released from isolation on compassionate grounds who have since tested positive were the two sisters who flew back from the UK.
Of the 190 people were may have come into contact with the two sisters while they were at the Novotel Ellerslie, five people had still not responded to health authorities.
They are less risky than the group of 55, but have been referred to the ministry's enforcement services.
"We can call on police if necessary," Bloomfield said.
"We're doing everything we can to reassure New Zealanders these people do not pose a risk."
Brooking said many of the compassionate leave applications were approved on the conditions that existed before June 9, when leave was no longer meant to be granted without a negative test or at least a week spent in managed isolation.
She couldn't say how many applications were approved when they shouldn't have been.
"A large number of the applications that were approved during June 9 to June 16 related to previous applications.
"We had a large number that were approved that weren't related to compassionate grounds and a large number were people who completed seven days and returned a negative test."
Between June 9 and 16, 2159 people left managed isolation after 14 days and should have been tested before leaving. Only 800 so far, or 37 per cent, have been confirmed as having been tested first. At least 210 were tested after they left.
Bloomfield said 1010 people had been contacted and tested negative, 239 are awaiting test results, 791 are still being contacted, and 119 will not be tested for various reasons including refusing a test.
Bloomfield said people couldn't be forced to be tested once outside managed isolation unless there was good reason to think they may be Covid-infected.
He had no reason so far to think any of them might be.
'Escalating pandemic offshore'
Bloomfield said the wide testing being done across New Zealand should reassure people there is no community outbreak of Covid-19 undetected.
"Our job is to make sure we're preventing the virus coming into New Zealand and to have really good mechanisms to detect the virus if it is out there.
"The last week has been a reminder for all of us that we need to remain vigilant and there is an escalating pandemic offshore."
All DHBs need to have ready access to testing and to keep their community testing centres open, Bloomfield said.
He had not heard reports of an eight-day wait for test results to come back in the Hawkes Bay, but if that was the case it would be unacceptable.
National MP Michael Woodhouse said this morning that the interactions between Health Minister David Clark and Bloomfield in the past week show that the relationship has broken down.
But Bloomfield rejected that when asked during the press conference.
New testing regime
Two new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed yesterday, and with one of the sisters from Britain recovered, the current number of active cases is 10.
Six are from India, one from Britain, two from Pakistan and one from the United States.
All are in quarantine except the sister from Britain who is in self-isolation in the community in the Hutt Valley.
Health Minister David Clark yesterday announced a new testing regime would also include such people as drivers who ferry arrivals from the airport to isolation, cleaners, immigration, customs, and biosecurity and security staff.
Air New Zealand crew would be regularly tested, Clark said, but he could not say whether air crew from non-New Zealand airlines flying from hotspots such as India or the United States would be tested.