New Zealand has three new Covid-19 cases today - one in Rotorua and two in Christchurch.

All are in managed isolation.

One of the cases is a woman in her 30s, from Peru. She is staying in Rotorua, and was known about yesterday afternoon but was not part of yesterday's official count.

She is at the Ibis. Everyone staying at the hotel is being tested and isolated.

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The woman arrived on June 20. She tested positive after routine testing on day three of her managed isolation.

Everyone on the bus from Auckland to Rotorua is being followed up, as is the driver. They will be tested.

Bloomfield conceded there "may be more" Covid cases in Rotorua after yesterday's new infection and the fact that travellers were taken there on crowded buses.

The second case is a man in his 70s, who arrived in New Zealand on June 20.

The third is a man in his 30s from India.

Both are staying at the Commodore Hotel in Christchurch in managed isolation.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield gave today's update and said he was confident that "very safe protocols" were followed on the transfer flight to Christchurch.

He also said they were satisfied appropriate protection was taken for those who had travelled alongside the infected passengers on the plane.

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Testing border staff and air crew was being worked on at the moment.

Expert advice was still being sought around sampling of workers and frequency of testing.

'Very good' relationship with Health Minister

The press conference was the first time he had faced media since a video went viral of Health Minister David Clark saying Bloomfield had taken responsibility for the border blunder as the health chief looked on.

Bloomfield today reaffirmed his commitment to Clark. He said his relationship with the minister was "very good".

Asked if the Minister of Health had apologised to him, Bloomfield's reply was curt: "No".

The clip was on Newshub's 6pm bulletin last night and was shared by its political editor Tova O'Brien on Twitter, where it's amassed more than 100,000 views.

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Some have opined that Clark threw Bloomfield under the bus.

National leader Todd Muller called Clark's treatment of Bloomfield "a disgrace".

Bloomfield said he was not aware of a public fundraiser to buy him flowers after Clark's criticism yesterday, but said he would prefer that people gave money to a local charity instead.

10,436 tests yesterday

There are now 1169 confirmed cases in New Zealand.

Yesterday 10,436 tests were done throughout the country. It's a new record.

There have now been 368,432 Covid tests done to date.

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Testing will continue with ongoing community surveillance and those considered in high-risk jobs on the border that may bring them into potential exposure with Covid.

Five of 190 guests who stayed at the Novotel Ellerslie at the same time as the sisters who returned to New Zealand from the UK are still outstanding - they are still being followed up.

The two women are now considered recovered, Bloomfield said.

Since 11pm last night, a team had been at Auckland Airport working with Customs to get information on passenger arrivals. They were linking the passengers to those on New Zealand's NHI database.

Those without an NHI, for example if they had been living overseas for some time, were working with local DHBs to generate one.

"I'm really pleased our team has been able to put that in place. At the moment it is quite a manual process. We are working with Customs and aviation security to be able to get a data feed from when a door is closed on an aircraft and once it is landed and we can start to make that match automatically through the data system."

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Compassionate exemptions

When asked about compassionate exemptions, Bloomfield said that people were still awaiting the results of tests.

They continued to work with enforcement services to follow up one person.

But he said the person presented a "very low risk".

It was revealed this week 51 of the 55 people who left managed isolation early on compassionate leave were not tested for Covid.

Forty had returned negative virus results and 11 were not being tested, for a range of reasons.

He said work was under way over reinstating compassionate leave before the full 14-day isolation period but couldn't give an indication when that would happen.

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He wanted to ensure anyone leaving quarantine wouldn't put the community at risk.

If compassionate leave was reinstated, it would likely include a minimum period of isolation, a negative test result and also some conditions around self-isolation once people left managed facilities.

Testing of people who have left managed isolation

Of the 2159 people who had left managed isolation between June 9 and 16, 1184 had and tested negative for Covid-19.

Eight hundred of those were people who were tested before they left managed isolation. The remaining 384 were tested after departure; 143 people had also been referred for a test and results are pending.

"We are still connecting with the balance, which is 695 people," Bloomfield said, adding 168 of those had invalid numbers.

"As needed, we will refer people who we do not make contact with to finding services. They get a text first and then a number of phone calls. So it is very clear who the call is coming from and we are very keen that those people actually pick up the call."

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READ MORE:
Covid 19 coronavirus: Revealed - more than 1000 people may have left isolation without a test
Covid 19 coronavirus: Health chief Ashley Bloomfield reveals two new cases of Covid-19, one in locked-down Rotorua hotel
Covid 19 coronavirus: Ministry of Health raises criteria for testing
Covid 19 coronavirus: Virus spread hits a 'new and grim global record' with 183,000 new cases in 24 hours

Bloomfield on definition change

Yesterday, the ministry gave an update on the Covid-19 case definition and removed the definition of "suspected" case to introduce a new higher index of suspicion (HIS) category.

It means not everyone who has a sore throat or cold symptoms must be tested.

Bloomfield said it was best to seek advice from their doctor or healthline whether one was needed.

Instead they could be tested as part of the wider surveillance testing programme to ensure there isn't community transmission.

And only people who meet the case definition and HIS criteria will need to be notified to the Medical Officer of Health.

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Those HIS criteria are that, in the 14 days before their illness, they:

• Had contact with a confirmed or probable case.
• Travelled internationally.
• Had direct contact with a person who has travelled overseas (eg Customs and Immigration staff, staff at quarantine/isolation facilities).
• Worked on an international aircraft or shipping vessel.
• Cleaned at an international airport or maritime port in areas/conveniences visited by international arrivals.
• Were subject to any other criteria requested by the local Medical Officer of Health.

It comes as GPs and testing stations have seen a rush on demand because of the onset of cold and flu season combined with heightened anxiety about Covid-19.

The clinical symptoms of Covid-19 remain any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms: new or worsening cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, a head cold, loss of smell with or without fever.

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