The lockdown at Rotorua's Ibis Hotel has been lifted, hours after one of its guests tested positive for the coronavirus.

Guests at the managed isolation facility were confined to their rooms from around 11.30am today amid reports that one of their number had returned a positive test.

Rotorua became the new base for managed isolation at the weekend as returning New Zealanders outnumbered the available rooms in Auckland.

A 232-strong group of arrivals were taken by bus from Auckland to Rotorua at the last minute. They were all tested at the Ibis Hotel yesterday.

WHO warns coronavirus pandemic is "accelerating" and has reached "a new and dangerous phase". Video / AP

Many aboard the bus were shocked at the lax attitude towards physical distancing, with one traveller describing the crammed journey as "awful".

Guests in lockdown told the Rotorua Daily Post they had not been given any information on the situation, but noticed that officers at the facility had donned masks, which they had not before.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield today confirmed that the lockdown was in response to a positive case at the hotel.

This case was 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.

Shortly after 7pm on Wednesday, guests were notified via a slip of paper that the lockdown had been lifted.

"Thank you for your patience this afternoon," it read.

The lockdown was lifted after 7pm after health officials deemed the hotel to be safe. Photo / Supplied
The lockdown was lifted after 7pm after health officials deemed the hotel to be safe. Photo / Supplied

"Clinical staff have assessed that the facility is safe and thus the lockdown has now been lifted.


"All restrictions prior to the lockdown are now reinstated.

"Please ensure you maintain two-meter social distancing."

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.

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More than 20,000 people have been through managed isolation in New Zealand, Bloomfield said today.

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.

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.

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