Covid update: Director-General of Health says seven of the new cases have been linked with two under investigation; Bloomfield hints that Level 1 may be made more restrictive in future

Covid update: Director-General of Health says seven of the new cases have been linked with two under investigation; Bloomfield hints that Level 1 may be made more restrictive in future
Ashley Bloomfield. Pool photo from Getty Images.

There are nine new Covid-19 cases in the community.

Seven of the new cases have been linked to previous cases, with two under investigation.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield provided the update on Monday. One of the things he indicated at his briefing was that the parameters of any future move back to Level 1 might be looked at and could be slightly more restrictive than had been the case before the latest outbreak - including some physical distancing.

Bloomfield said including the two new cases under investigation there were now four under investigation.

He believed all would prove to be linked to existing cases.

A total of five people are in hospital - two in Auckland City and three at Middlemore. 

The new cases took the total of active cases in the country to 78 - that's 58 community cases and 20 in isolation at the border.

Bloomfield said he was confident the virus had not been "brewing away" from earlier in the year and "the sense we have is we are dealing with a single outbreak".

Testing continued at unprecedented levels, with 26,014 processed yesterday and nearly 100,000 in the past week.

A total of 597,956 tests have now been processed in total.

Auckland remains in Level 3 till August 26, with the rest of the country at Level 2.

Asked about the possibility and wisdom of returning to Level 1, Bloomfield indicated that in future Level 1 might look more like "somewhere between 1 and 2" with potentially more physical distancing than had been seen at Level 1 before the latest outbreak, possibly usage of masks in some situations and the promotion of hand sanitation, etc.

"I think this outbreak will give us pause for thought about what Alert Level 1 looks like and what our kind of minimum expectations of every New Zealander and of each of us might be under that and it may well be, and I think we should aim to get back to life as normal as possible,"  he said.

"But the new normal I think will include perhaps a little more physical distancing, more frequent availability and use of hand gels  - possibly even use of masks  in some settings -  because what I sense is all New Zealanders would prefer that we stayed in Alert Level 1 and would be prepared to perhaps modify what our behaviours are in Alert Level 1.

"So I think that's one of the things we should absolutely look at. There may be that there's somewhere between a 1 and 2 so we can maintain that really open economy and do as much as we would like to around attending large events and so on."    

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier on Monday announced a new, delayed, election date of October 17.

This is the statement issued by the Ministry of Health on Monday:

There are nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to report in the community today.

There are no new cases to report at the border.

Seven of the new cases are linked to previous cases in the cluster, and two cases remain under investigation but are strongly believed to be linked to the same cluster.

There are now a total of four cases under investigation.

As of 6 pm last night, 86 people linked to the cluster have been moved into quarantine facility, made up of 36 people who have tested positive and their household contacts.

There are five people receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19. Two are in Auckland City Hospital on a ward, and three people are in Middlemore.

The nine new confirmed cases to report today bring our total number of confirmed cases to 1,280 which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 78, of which 58 are from the recent community outbreak, and 20 are imported cases in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.


We are continuing to see record levels of testing and our laboratories are continuing to meet the demand for levels we have not previously seen or processed.

Yesterday our laboratories processed 26,014 tests for COVID-19, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 597,956 of which almost 100 thousand were completed in the last 6 days.

As previously reported, because of the high volumes that we are seeing it may take up to 48 hours for swabs to be processed through the labs.

Only people who have symptoms should get tested. Our highest risk swabs are getting processed as quickly as possible.

Swabs of close contacts and others considered high-risk are prioritised and those with positive results are alerted quickly.

Border testing

Testing has ramped up even further at the border – both at airports and at ports.

A dedicated testing team is operating with extended hours to ensure Ports of Auckland workers have access to Covid-19 testing.

Testing of all government-agency frontline staff at the Auckland border – Customs, Biosecurity, Immigration NZ, Aviation Security – is expected to be completed soon.

We’re continuing to test staff working in managed isolation and quarantine facilities across the country.

In Auckland where more than 2500 staff work in managed isolation and quarantine facilities, 2100 staff have been swabbed on site, with further staff tested at community testing centres and GPs.

Casual contacts

Understandably there is significant interest in the contact tracing activity and locations or organisations where confirmed cases may have been.

Our contact tracing processes includes in-depth interviews, usually more than once, with confirmed cases to get a full picture of anyone they have been in close contact with and other places they have been.

Many of the media reports of organisations or locations being closed are due to positive cases having been at that location for a period.

However, in most of these instances the people that were there at the same time are casual contacts that should monitor their health and get medical advice from their GP or Healthline if they become unwell.

Some casual contacts will be asked to get tested and should self isolate until results come back.

We have been using the COVID Tracer App to contact people in the relevant locations and times when they have scanned in. I have asked the team to also publish those location and time details on our website.

Some locations of interest in the last two days where the risk is considered low at this stage:

  • Botany Mall – between 1–2 pm on August 11
  • Buttabean Motivation, School Rd – between 5.15–6 am on August 10
  • Eden Junior Rugby Club, Gribblehirst Park, Sandringham between 5.30–6.30 pm on August 11
  • a guinea pig show – at the Auckland Cavy Club, in Hall Road, Glenfield between 10 am–2 pm on August 8.

The important note here is that the risk from these locations is most often very low so please don’t feel the need to avoid these areas or organisations.

This goes for those that are also reported in the media.


NZ COVID Tracer has now recorded 1,442,300 registered users, which is an increase of 68,100 in the previous 24 hours.

There have now been 210,266 QR codes generated – an increase of 16,761 in the past 24 hours.

There were 833,020 poster scans in the last 24 hours. The number of poster scans has now reached 6,249,729.

Testing at the Mt Wellington Americold NZ Ltd facility

An update on the surface testing at the Americold facilities. Swabs were taken over the weekend and flown to ESR for testing.

The testing process will take time to work through and we need all tests completed to be able the full picture. These are expected this week.

On a related note some supermarkets have said to us that some customers are concerned about frozen goods.

A reminder that New Zealand Food Safety has reviewed the most recent science from around the world about the risk of being infected with Covid-19 through contact with food or food packaging. To date, there is no evidence of transmission via food or food packaging.

Normal hygiene procedures are always a good idea, such as washing your hands before preparing food. Because of the negligible risk of transmission via food packaging, New Zealand Food Safety do not recommend any form of disinfection.

Lastly, I would like to reiterate COVID-19 is the problem – not the people who have it.

We collectively are all part the solution – and we all should acknowledge the many different people playing their part.

I repeat again: there is no shame, and no blame, in having the virus.

People who we know who have tested positive for COVID-19 are to be commended – they have done their bit to protect the team of five million, and their quick action in coming forward to be tested, and then being in isolation, means they deserve our thanks and praise.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.



good to see them hammering him on the lack of testing of border front facing workers.
i can tell you workers have been asking about it for ages and have been told over and over again if you dont show any symptoms it is not needed

You can tell us? Assuming you know some of them well then?

(Speculative comment removed, Ed).

The article says nothing about it being found, rather that testing will be starting.

Where did you see or hear this? The link you provide refers to April, and mentions nothing about Covid traces being detected. Are you trying to start another unfounded rumour?
Update: I see the comment the above refers to has been removed.

(Speculative comment removed, Ed).

Where does the quarantine locations wastewater go and do they run on a separate system to the rest of the city?

(Speculative comment removed, Ed).

I'm curious what he said but fair enough to the Ed. To surmise, if the quarantine locations shared a common wastewater outlet with where the testing was done there's a good chance you'd be able to amplify viral genetic material from the wastewater anyway but it would mean nothing.

Speculation discouraged? Does the RBNZ know about this?

What is wrong with speculation? Did Hipkins scare you? A control is needed in testing for COVID in sewerage.

Dear Editor/Censor I think 'speculative comments' (as a general category) add a lot of value in this forum. I didn't see the original comment -- only the Editor's notice of an expunged comment (which is itself appreciated in its transparency). Speculation and open consideration of novel hypotheses are key inputs into good science and ventures to create value of many kinds. It's a blessing that we all have different views, interpretations and -- yes -- speculations. That heterogeneity of speculation/hypothesis-making is a public good like the biodiversity services that biological heterocultures provide.

I'm grateful for the best-in-class reporting from and for providing this moderated forum for open discussion which includes testing out theories and speculations. I'll be more likely to recommend, the more open and unfiltered it remains -- with a purposeful bias toward permissiveness with respect to speculation and heterogeneous points of view.

In the marketplace of ideas, the best remedy for outlandish and invalid arguments is shining the light of day, exposing ideas (including speculation) to vetting by readers/commenters.

Just watching this. Everyone seems to assume that it was a border breach, but that has not yet been established. And on a lighter note, what about the guinea pig exhibition issue. Watched the sign language person to see how she communicated that!


Hard to see what else it could be. The cold-store thing has just got press because it's got a certain level of interest, but Ashley at least is quite explicit that he considers it unlikely.


Perhaps we are forgetting, that a significant percentage of quarantined returnees were released into NZ society at large, without being tested, and that at the time, quarantine procedures were shambolic, with new arrivals mixing with those aging out. That Covid sauntered out through the barn-door sized holes in that set-up is a safe bet.


I don't think rumours and conspiracy theories are helpful. If you have evidence then share it, if not, please stop.


It is not a rumor or a conspiracy theory at all - are you desperate to shutdown any mention of the awkward facts ?

There were hundreds of people released from the MIQ untested between June 9th and June 16th , dozens of them before their 14 days were up.
Some of them were tested later - but far from all ; those late "catch-up" tests are not of a lot of value ( they may v may have passed on the virus before it cleared from their system ).

You can argue about how likely or not the infection from that time to have lingered in the community - but it has nothing to do with rumors or conspiracy theories.

it was 2159 people released without testing
The final group of people we have been following up with is the 2,159 people who left managed isolation from June 9 – 16.  

Yes, after a 14-day quarantine. The release says: “We are doing everything we can to assure New Zealanders that these people do not pose a risk to their community – they have all been in isolation for 14 days, and consistent with international evidence, the risk they pose is very low.”

I have friends in the UK and Canada, who tell me those countries’ approach has been much, much slacker than ours. Yes, mistakes have been made but we have done bloody well and let’s approach this with a glass half full. Ashley Bloomfield has done an incredible job, fronting up each day to a hostile media as well as doing hard yards behind the scenes. Same goes for Ardern.
What annoys me Is that all the negative numpties probably won’t even consider wearing a mask, socially distancing and sanitizing hands. If we all did that, the risk would be much, much less.

The release is obvious damage control BS .
If 14 days isolation is enough in itself why do we bother testing in MIQ at all - consistently finding cases on day 12 ?

The primary means of reducing risk is the 14 day isolation and observing if people develop symptoms or not. The testing is a backstop.

definition of "backstop" according to Lanth : " something the govt should have done and said they were doing - but could not in fact be f###d to do"

Other countries being slack doesn't make us good though does it? We are an island of only 5 million in the bottom of the Pacific. Kiwis should expect better

It is the small obvious mistakes that concern me. How can a Govt that can not do the small commonsence things be trusted to deliver on the major issues that are going to hit us economically in the next year.
National dosent seam to have a great plan either. Shocking that our main parties have nothing and NZ population dosen't call them on it.

"... they have all been in isolation for 14 days..."
But if they came in contact with new arrivals to quarantine just before the end of their 14-day isolation, it really wouldn't be an effective quarantine at all!

I was commenting on the speculative comments and rumours that have since been deleted. Opinions are important, but there is a lot of "I heard from a credible source" stuff increasingly going on and then it turns out, that was just randos on social media. I'm not suggesting we shouldn't question the government, just that those challenges need to be fact and evidence based, rather than hearsay and speculation, which if anything, undermines credible opposition.

In that case your comment was placed in a wrong thread .

I agree - but it seems obvious that it is lack of transparency from the govt and the evasiveness when it comes to any awkward questions is what is feeding the rumor mill.

The topic of the deleted post is a good example . Sewage testing was announced to have started in April . No results ( positive or negative ) have ever been published. Leave a vacuum and rumors will fill it.

If you are referring to my comments immediately above, then these are neither rumours nor conspiracy theories: those are my own observations, as a professional with a deep appreciation of critical risk analysis. If you are referring to my first post far above: then I have already responded - but to go a little further: I am quoting a fellow professional, who sighted that evidence themself, and is subsequently highly distressed.


Women’s Weekly stuff. ‘According to a friend, Prince Harry has been abducted by aliens.’ Stick to facts please. This is not a time for loose lips.

According to Women’s Weekly there was a case in Pakuranga College.

The term “professional” is absolutely meaningless.
There is a considerable range of “professionals”, the vast majority of whom are not qualified to comment on a particular topic with any authority. As a “professional” you should be well aware of this.
After all, a street walker is commonly referred to as a “professional”.

Ok so nuance is out the window, similarly you could say
p8 the term 'absolutely meaningless' is 'absolutely meaningless', because either something is meaningless or it's not meaningless - meaning it has some degree of meaning. If it's meaningless, then it's automatically 'absolutely meaningless'. So we could all pick apart each others' semantics.
If you want to go deeper it just becomes an endless series of 1's and 0's

'Yes Minister' would have loved you..

Agreed ginger

Like the conspiracy theory that banks create money. Lucky the editor debunked such nonsense.

Listen to the govt. Get all your news from the govt and govt sponsored agencies.

I read the tone of that message to be a potential explanation of causality with a bit off applied critical thinking and it seems a plausible explanation. The throwing around of "conspiracy theories" as a tag line has been overused to the point where it now just seems like partisan talking point and detracts from genuine exploration, debate and critique.

The assumption the media is making is a human to human transmission breach was made in the quarantine facilities. But it could be at the airport, perhaps with flight crew. Or perhaps even more likely covid came thru the sea port. That might explain the earliest case in the cool store conundrum bc there doesn't seem to be a connection to quarantine facilities. Covid might have gone ship crew -dock worker -truckie - cool store worker for instance. The testing of port workers presumably is to check that proposition.

Flight crew seems pretty likely given lack of testing. Quarantine workers less likely given escaped virus is shown to be different from those known in quarrantine, but could have been cases missed in quarrantine (testing is not infallible), and I understand that they don't have sequences of the virus for all the quarrantine cases.

Or it could be that COVID was here all along. Slowly spreading among the community after the arrival 30,000 students who returned from China after Chinese New Year. This would be consistent with the fact that most people who get it don't even know they're sick. Of course if that's the case then the disease is nowhere near as dangerous as NZers collectively believe. It would also mean that all the money spent on quarantines and lockdowns was totally wasted.

the probability is very high, the genome testing shows it most likely came in from the UK or closer ie melbourne and was not here before and is not so far linked to anyone that was infected in the hotels
if you watch WP interview on ABC he picked it came across the border and not through the hotels like many think and he has more info than the rest of us get to see

Winston Peter's is all mouth, his whole career is a tapestry of bluster and BS and claims he 'knows' things he doesn't. Fore recent example see the $300k judgement against him over his taking people to court for something he lacked evidence for.

I agree - in general .
Having said that the tendency with Winston is not to make things up outright but rather to exaggerate and twist entirely out of proportion.
He might know something - just not as much as he makes it out to be ; we can only guess.

More to come on that leak, I think. Many of us know how it made the final jump, but tracing source zero is more problematic. There is a possible chain of transmission, though, which is being investigated. Sounds like Covid, doesn’t it?

Sharetrader, Winston said he heard it from an un-named journalist. He didn't, and as far as I'm aware still hasn't, provided any actual evidence.

Yes, absolute BS, Gareth.

With the greatest respect to all posters above, assumptions and suggestions are speculation by another name. In the absence of positive evidence it is a well tried forensic approach to postulate a theory that fits the known facts and then look for supporting evidence. People have been convicted of major crimes on the basis of purely circumstantial evidence - if the courts will accept circumstantial evidence then surely it is admissible in the court of public opinion.

Given that this both a health and burgeoning economic crisis, I will post on this thread that ASB have now penciled the RBNZ cutting the OCR to -0.5 percent by April if not before, which if passed thru should see mortgage rates at least with a stick in front.

NZD taking a big hit because of this lapse at the border ....

It was taking a hit well before the lapse at the border. Plus Australia had it's own lapse at the border.

maybe they need to bubble the border areas (airports and ports), ie level two in those areas at all time whilst outside those areas people can move back to level one


still banging on about testing surfaces - coming from the aussie facility -- despite it being made clear that NO goods have moved between the facilities - and NO staff have come into contact between the facilities - 'Even a positive test on a surface means nothing - as several employees tested positive and had been at work - DUH

Biggest red herring yet -- its person to person - and a breech at some point -- be it managed isolation / staff at those centers - or staff at the airport/borders -

A common facility could have sent goods to both facilities. Really unlikely but no harm in following up.

Yes, the spin doctors have advised that this narrative must be pushed at all opportunities. Even Ashley got the memo. At least he has the scientific credibility to debunk it at the same time. But why say it all. Just say nothing until/if the link is proven.

Which is why the 1pm pressers stink. They are propaganda events for the govt, to push their narrative. The information could be more quickly and efficiently disseminated via press release without wasting a whole lot of peoples time (not to mention unecessary person to person contact and travel etc), and questions would be far higher quality if they passed through an ask-me-anything type up vote system to select the best 10-20 questions every day.

Genomic testing is a crucial tool in tracing the origin of the virus.
Has every one of the positive cases in MIQ been genome sequenced in the last 3 months?
If not Why not? Have all of the border workers and workers from MIQ's that worked there in the last 3 months been tested by now? If not why not? Until that has happened they cannot keep saying there is no Genomic link between the community cases and the cases that have been caught at the border. Then saying in the same breath that they are conducting testing and investigation of Americold sites and workers.

I take it that the goods at this site are either frozen or chilled.
Surely you could take some live virus freeze it and chill it and see how it reacts.
I don't do FB or anyother social media and dont hear the rumours which is brilliant but what I do see is that if this Govt did the simple stuff and did it correctly the population wouldn't be commenting and forwarding on such info.

I saw one comment from a scientist, who said that RNA and DNA viruses are commonly frozen, to preserve them

Has every one of the positive cases in MIQ been genome sequenced in the last 3 months?
If not Why not?

I've posted the answer to this question about 3 times in the last 3 day, and Ashley specifically addressed it today at the 1pm update.

Every positive sample from the MIQ hotels that can be genomically sequenced have been. Some of the samples did not contain sufficient RNA material to be sequenced.

Until that has happened they cannot keep saying there is no Genomic link between the community cases and the cases that have been caught at the border.

Yes they can. Being a genomic link requires them to have positive evidence of a genomic link. If they don't have positive evidence of one, they can say there is no genomic link. That's how words work.

More words for you. See if you can pick out the meaning and logic. Your words: "Some of the samples did not contain sufficient RNA material to be sequenced." What this means is there is not sufficient evidence from all recent cases to rule out the possibility of transmission from border related cases. Your words again: "If they don't have positive evidence of one, they can say there is no genomic link." No they can't, this could only be said if all cases were genetically traceable and there was no remaining doubt as to the genetic heritage of the not able to be sequenced cases.

For the approx 1 case per day that was testing positive in MIQ. They probably did a follow up test on each to rule out false positive. So on second sample they could have made an effort to obtain a sample with suitable RNA for sequencing. They would have also been retested to make sure they were still infectious or not prior to release.
ESR media releases say that positive samples may be sent for Genome Sequencing and that Genomes are being uploaded to the GISAid database. New Zealand has 233 Genomes attributed in the Oceania database all uploaded before May 2020. Maybe they only upload the ones they find that are unique. I assume the database is reasonably up to date because Australia has attributed samples up to early August.
So I would just like to know of the roughly 100 cases in MIQ in 3 months prior to the outbreak. Average of 1 a day. How many were sequenced? That's a number. Numbers are usually better than words. Then MOH could say we have sequenced ?? of the recent 100 cases from MIQ and we have sequenced ?? of the cases in the community and so far we have not found a link between them. Depending on the numbers in that statement. The statement could be useless or go a long way to proving what you are saying.

The media questions after each briefing are disgraceful and rude. 5 minutes of well researched and carefully prepared briefing, with just the right level of info required to keep you safe. Followed by 30 mins of repetitive time wasting that ads no value. His time is valuable and he's probably working longer hours than anyone reading this comment, and we are all better off with him investing and managing rather than answering the same question 6 or 7 times.

Took multiple questions before one reporter bothered to ask if any of the hospitalizations were serious. Shame on you.

Our MSM is nothing but tabloids and click bait.

Many on this site love to vent frustration at the situation. I get it, the whole thing sucks and no one asked for it, but none of you could do a better job than AB. And if you don't like the way it's being run you covieniently get to vote about it shortly.

Until then just suck it up like the rest of us and enjoy the additional family time.

Took multiple questions before one reporter bothered to ask if any of the hospitalizations were serious. Shame on you.

Right, but his answer to that question was just to repeat what he'd originally said - that they were all "on the wards" in the hospitals and in stable conditions. The last part was new, but would have been him just putting 1 and 2 together in his head - if they're "on the wards" and not explicitly noted as being a deteriorating condition, then they must be stable.

It's a lack of empathy and a missed chance to promote care and community. Should be the first question.

Getting the the answer the 1st time doesn't stop them asking the same dumb question about boarder controls 6 or 7 times during one briefing. His control and patience during this daily circus is outstanding.

MSM are really letting everyone down. Such a disgrace.

"His control and patience" - you mean his stonewalling ?

I thought it was appropriate. He got the grilling he deserved, and kept trying to deflect it by saying "they were being tested" until one the journalists finally said "yes, we know they were being tested, but the question is about the regularity of that testing, not whether it was happening at all" or words to that effect.

The MSM asking why what we're being told is happening doesn't match what is happening is the only reason we aren't in Level 4 again. They're there to seek accountability and truth, not promote your personal brand of 'care and community'.

it took so long for them to find out though and now they are going at it hammer and tongs, which is good and their job
this after chris hipkins told them to believe what they are told at the press conference as checked facts.
now we all know it was not happening as they were saying, and they were not requiring proof it was happening, just took people at their word
and even this morning the PM finally admitted what was happening which i have been saying all along
only symptomatic people were sent for testing and then they were given a voucher to go to the local GP because CMHB had not set up testing on the airport, the reluctant people getting testing were not about not wanting to get a test but the ease of being tested and getting a appointment at your local GP to get it, also there was no follow up, you did not have to show you test to come back.
now CMHB have set up testing for airport workers at the holiday inn (finally)
as for the AHB and the ports of auckland same thing, not set up at the port BUT ports of Auckland had more protocols for their staff so that is what was keeping us safer not the local HB

I'm sure this will ring a bell. perhaps applies to MoH?
“Ministry of Truth”, says: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

Almost entire second wave in Victoria linked to returning travellers
Genomic sequencing shows more than 99 per cent of Victoria’s second wave of coronavirus can be linked to returned travellers in hotel quarantine, the inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine program has heard.
Professor Ben Howden, head of the Doherty Institute’s genomic sequencing unit, is now giving evidence at the inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine program.
it will be interesting to see if our genomic testing links to the outbreak in melbourne

Agree will be very intresting to see outcome of Americold swapping in Australia.. Unlikely but possible. Infected person loads container in Melbourne.Refrigerated container has air condition. Worker in NZ opens doors air condition starts at overdrive NZ worker gets exposed to high load of virus.

How is anyone surprised that the virus got out, when you can just rock up to the quarantine hotels and hang out with people there who are supposed to be in isolation? People are visiting friends and family through the fences, and fire alarms are being set off so people can be evacuated who then mingle with the public on the street. The hotels need proper perimeter security, not a bit of chicken wire between someone infected with Covid who won't even be tested until its time to be released) and their mates.

Any evidence at all that people are mingling with the public on the street during fire alarms?

Somebody get Herr Bloomfield under control. Level 1 implies Covid exists elsewhere in the world, but not in New Zealand. In other words, once we've dealt with this cluster, close the bloody border properly and let the rest of us get on with our lives as normal.

Someone ought to ask Judith if she would have stood Dr Bloomfield down.