The Wellington region will move to alert level 2 from 6pm tonight after an Australian man with Covid-19 visited the capital last weekend.
So although there were no immediate cases confirmed as a result of the traveler's visit from Sydney to New Zealand's capital Wellington, authorities were asking people at more than a dozen locations to self-isolate for two weeks and get tested. They had received one dose of Covid vaccine, Hipkins said, potentially making them less infectious.
He says an alert level change in the city was "possible".
He said there were still too many unknowns to work out just how risky this could be for New Zealand but he would hope there would be a lot more information, including the places of interest the person visited released today.
"Our customer team is contacting impacted customers and we are providing customers the option to rebook, put their flight into credit, or receive a refund if they purchased a refundable ticket", said Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and safety officer captain David Morgan.
The person was in Wellington from Saturday, June 19, until Monday, June 21.
Based on the time of their symptom onset and CT score it was most likely the traveller contracted the virus in Sydney prior to their visit to New Zealand.
The travel bubble with Australia has been paused several times since it began on April 19.
Health authorities said the traveler visited Wellington from Saturday through Monday before returning to Australia and testing positive for COVID-19. In Wellington now, we should be moving to the next alert level.
"This variant of concern means that you can start to become more infectious to people earlier on, so we know that you're very infectious with any variant or wild strain at about day 5 when you become symptomatic but certainly from day 3 onwards you can of course still infect people", McLaws said.
Meanwhile, University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker is calling for half-levels to be added to the Covid-19 alert system to better respond to outbreaks.
Potential exposure sites in Wellington Health authorities met this morning to produce a list of places of interest, with the first of number of potential exposure sites in Wellington released.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says he is happy at the speed with which Australian authorities notified New Zealand of the case from Sydney.
New South Wales Health issued the alert late on Tuesday night.
They subsequently tested positive in New South Wales.
The latest surge in cases in the Sydney Bondi cluster led NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to extend the state's mask mandate for all indoor public venues to midnight on Wednesday June 30.
Genome sequencing was underway in Australia to see if the case is linked to the current outbreak in Sydney.
Local government areas of Wollongong and Shellharbour, which had compulsory masks for public transport, would be subjected to the same mask rules as Sydney.
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