New Health Minister Chris Hipkins has revealed that there are two new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, both in managed isolation.

And, speaking to reporters this afternoon, he put the boot into the Ministry of Health over the dwindling levels of Covid-19 testing in New Zealand.

"Over recent days the number of tests that you would have seen processed has not met the Government's expectation around the rate of testing," he said.

READ MORE:
Covid 19 coronavirus: Hysterical scenes as passengers in Auckland taken off plane to quarantine
Covid 19 coronavirus: Locked-down Melbourne resident says conditions 'worse than prison'
Covid 19 coronavirus: Victoria's virus cases skyrocket
Covid 19 coronavirus: Govt restricting seats on Air NZ flights for Kiwis returning home

Advertisement

There were just 1641 tests yesterday.

"I have instructed health officials to ensure that there is an enhanced rate of testing over the next week."

The aim, he said, was to get the number of daily Covid-19 tests up to 4000.

At that level, the Government would have "sufficient confidence" that if there was any case of Covid-19 in New Zealand, it would be picked up.

And ramping up to that level would also provide peace of mind for New Zealanders, he said.

"I don't want any New Zealander to think that the reason we're not seeing Covid-19 in the community is because we're not testing for it."

Both of today's new cases are women from the same family – one in her 20s and the other in her 30s.

Subscribe to Premium

The pair arrived back in New Zealand from Afghanistan on a repatriation flight on July 2 and tested positive on day three of their stay in a managed isolation facility.

Advertisement

The new cases mean there are 22 active cases in the country – they are all in managed isolation or quarantine.

Hipkins also confirmed there is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for Covid-19.

The person who was in Auckland City Hospital has been discharged back to a quarantine facility.

It has been 67 days since the last case of community transmission in New Zealand.

But new testing levels need to be ramped up to give New Zealanders assurance that there is no transmission within the community.

He said New Zealand does not need to be testing at the peak level of around 12,000 tests a day.

Advertisement

"But we do want to maintain a good degree of surveillance across the country so, should… there be any undetected Covid-19 transmission in the community that we pick that up."

He said he would be getting into "in some detail" on the reasons behind why there has been a drop off in testing numbers when he meets with officials on Thursday.

He said had not yet had a good enough answer from health officials as to why the test numbers were so low.

But he said one of the reasons may well be that clinical guidance has been changed.

If this was the case, he said he would be expecting the clinicians to be relooking at this to ensure they can get the numbers back up again.

He said guidance around who should be tested was changed about a week ago – "that may have had an impact on the rate of testing".

Advertisement