Health officials can't rule out that a person from New Zealand who tested positive for Covid-19 after landing in South Korea wasn't infected here.

It comes as they reveal that there are no new Covid cases in the country today.

The Ministry of Health said it was continuing to work with South Korean authorities about the traveller.

The person left New Zealand six days ago on July 21 and arrived in South Korea on July 22 after transiting through Singapore.


"The traveller has no symptoms but returned a positive test on arrival. South Korean authorities have informed us that based on their initial investigations they suspect the traveller was infected during the transit in Singapore airport," the Ministry of Health said.

"However other causes, including infection in New Zealand, can't be ruled out at this stage so the ministry is in close contact with South Korea and is expecting further information from the authorities later today New Zealand time. The Ministry is actively looking at whether any steps need to be taken here, based on the information available," the Ministry said.

Still 21 active cases

The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 remains at 1206, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand's managed isolation and quarantine facilities remains at 21.

There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for Covid-19.

Yesterday New Zealand laboratories completed 550 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 456,227.

Two hundred and seventy of these were swabs completed from managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

"We regularly see lower testing rates at weekends. Additionally, the country enjoyed a generally mild weekend of weather, which continues to contribute to unusually low levels of people presenting with flu-like symptoms and respiratory issues," officials said.


The ministry is supporting efforts this week to increase community testing for people with respiratory symptoms.

"There are three areas of action underway, with the Ministry working closely with the Colleges of GPs, Urgent Care and Emergency Medicine and their members to offer testing to all people who present with symptoms."

Healthcare staff working across multiple sites

The ministry is set to unveil new guidelines to oversee hospital nurses who are moonlighting in managed quarantine facilities and also working in hospital EDs.

The Herald revealed last week there were concerns about hospital nurses moonlighting in managed quarantine facilities, and the risk of infection posed to vulnerable hospital patients.

The ministry said it was working through updated advice with the Covid-19 Clinical Governance Group which has oversight of clinical practices, including nursing, within managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

"There are already in place systems and processes at the managed isolation facilities which are robust and sufficient to keep safe the nurses working there, and the individuals they interact with. Nurses are also already provided with guidance on infection control, PPE and procedures to reduce the risk of transmission."


The updated advice will recommend rostering guidelines, limiting staff same-day redeployment to different workplaces and improving managers' knowledge of which staff have secondary employment so additional risk factors can be assessed and managed.
"Nurses are trained professionals, well versed in infection prevention and control and in the Covid-19 context.

"Within managed isolation and quarantine facilities nurses have access to appropriate PPE, follow sound personal hygiene practices and keep to physical distancing requirements. They also have regular health checks and are regularly offered testing for Covid-19, even if they are not symptomatic."

The updated advice will apply to all healthcare staff working in managed isolation and quarantine facilities. It will be shared tomorrow with DHBs that have managed isolation and quarantine facilities in their region, before being finalised.

The Ministry will also provide the updated recommendations to other agencies employing staff within managed isolation and quarantine facilities to help ensure a consistent approach in terms of these types of work practices.

The National Party has condemned the practice of ED nurses moonlighting in quarantine facilities, saying the Government should put an immediate halt to such activity.

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The global number of coronavirus cases crossed 16 million on Sunday, according to renowned resource centre Johns Hopkins University and AFP tallies.


The pandemic has killed more than 645,715 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year.

The United States is the worst hit country with the highest infection rate, registering 4,178,021 infections and 146,460 dead.

Brazil has the second highest rate of infection, with 2.3 million cases while India places third, with 1.3 million.

Covid Tracer app

The NZ COVID Tracer app has now recorded 620,000 registered users.

There have been 80,789 posters created to date and 1,573,159 poster scans.

The ministry continued to remind New Zealanders to keep a record of where they've been as this remains one of the best tools in the continued fight against Covid-19.


"That's why we are continuing to encourage all New Zealanders to download, register and use the app."