Saturday, November 27

Covid-19 Outbreak May Be Smaller Than Expected After Border Link Found


A Covid-19 modeler says that a promising link connecting the Auckland group to the border means that the outbreak could be significantly smaller than initially feared.

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Professor Shaun Hendy.
Photo: Shaun hendy

Genome sequencing has found that the current positive cases closely match those of a recent returnee from Sydney, who arrived on a managed flight in the red zone on 7 August.

Professor Shaun Hendy said that means the number of people infected in the community at the time the outbreak was first detected may now be “several dozen.”

“This was really positive news. The news that there is a potential genomic link to a recent returnee really changes our perspective,” Hendy said.

“Obviously, there is still work to be done to really make that connection; we still don’t have an epidemiological link to that returnee, but certainly the genomic evidence is pretty strong circumstantial evidence …

“But certainly the genomic evidence is quite strong circumstantial evidence and the best news is the recent returnee, it means that if it comes from that person, the virus has been in the community for a much shorter time than we thought yesterday and that will bring our estimates of numbers. “

At the time the Alert Level 4 lockdown was announced Tuesday night, Health Director General Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said people should prepare so that the number of infected people in the community is 50 to 120.

Hendy said it now looked like the number would be significantly less than that, estimating it could be “well below 100 cases.”

“The best news is that it is that recent returnee; it means that if it comes from that person, the virus has been in the community for a much shorter time than we thought yesterday,” he said.

“And that will lower our estimates of numbers and make this group easier to contain.”

Hendy said the modeling would be rerun this afternoon and that people could expect to get the updated numbers later today.

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This is an official COVID-19 ALERT.

All New Zealand You are now at Covid-19 Alert Level 4.

The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, which will likely remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.

A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.

Stay at home whenever possible and follow level 4 alert guidelines. This will stop the spread of Covid-19 and SAVE LIVES.

All are asked to:

Wear a mask and keep a distance of 2 meters from others when you leave your house.

If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on getting tested.

Keep scanning QR codes every time you leave your home.

Practice good hygiene: wash your hands often.

Services that include supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and gas stations will remain open at alert level 4. Face covers are mandatory for all people, both employees and customers, in companies and services that operate at alert level 4 that involve contact with the client.

For more information on Alert Level 4, go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]

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