New Zealand has had 12 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, all of them linked to overseas travel. Strict new travel restrictions require all international travellers to self-isolate for two weeks in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, and to prevent or slow any community transmission. So who are the 12 people – and where have they been in New Zealand?
PATIENTS 11 & 12
Patient 12 is a Dunedin high school student who tested positive on Tuesday.
The school he attends, Logan Park High School, will now close for at least 48 hours.
His father, a Dunedin man in his 40s, recently returned from Germany and tested positive for Covid-19. Patient 11 only developed symptoms five days after returning, so there was no risk to others on the plane. Two of the man’s relatives, one being patient 12, were also in self-isolation as they were showing possible symptoms.
PATIENTS 10 & 9
Patient 10 is a Wellington man in his 70s who became unwell on Sunday.
He and his son, patient 9, arrived in Auckland on American Airlines flight AA83 from Los Angeles on Saturday, March 14. The younger man was unwell on the flight, the father became unwell about a day later. They also did the right thing by calling ahead before going to the doctor, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.
The eighth case was a woman travelling from Denmark via Doha on flight QR920, arriving on March 10. She flew from Auckland to Christchurch on Jetstar JQ225, and she then travelled to Queenstown in a private rental car. While in Queenstown the woman became unwell and was hospitalised for one night. She has now been discharged and is recovering in self-isolation – it’s believed she is in a campervan at the council’s camping hub in Frankton, which has been closed to other campers.
The woman was a member of a production crew filming a Danish family of four who are visiting a resort, the ODT understands. The woman reportedly had checked into a holiday park near Queenstown’s town centre, before her group did an adventure activity on Thursday and ate at a resort restaurant that evening, when she began feeling unwell. She visited Queenstown Medical Centre’s Isle St clinic, without ringing ahead, either that evening or on Friday morning.
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The ODT reported that the woman ate at a second downtown restaurant on Friday, and was possibly using shared facilities at the holiday park during the three nights she stayed there. Her close contacts are being traced and asked to self-isolate. The woman had been travelling with her partner and two young children.
Flatten the curve
Each infected person infects
Medical system capacityUnmitigated scenarioNumber of casesTime
How can you flatten the curve?
- Stay at home if you are unwell
- Avoid large crowds
- Wash your hands regularly
- Avoid touching your face
- Reduce physical contact
Andre Reynaud, 69, returned from France to Townsville in Australia on March 10, and was tested for Covid-19 by Queensland Health officials because he had come from Europe. The next day he and his wife flew from Brisbane to Wellington on Air NZ flight 828. Once in New Zealand he visited his son at a cafe, where he received a call from his GP confirming he had the virus.
Reynaud says he went straight back to his hotel room and called health authorities. He remains in self-isolation, has no symptoms and does not need hospital treatment. Bloomfield says he’s “surprised” and “disappointed” Reynaud flew after taking a test. Bloomfield said Reynaud had had symptoms which is why he was tested; Reynaud said it was because he’d come from Europe.
A man in his 60s returned to New Zealand from New Jersey in the United States and attended St Mary’s Church in Papakura before he became unwell, more than three days after arriving in New Zealand. The man began feeling ill on March 10, often sneezing. He called ahead to his Papakura doctor and was tested in the carpark on Thursday by his GP, who was wearing full protective gear.
He’s now at home recovering in self-isolation and told Stuff he was feeling “100 per cent” after symptoms including having very sore legs. He praised New Zealand’s health system which had seen his tests come back within 24 hours. Contact tracing is under way, the Ministry of Health said, including for parishioners at the 8.30am service on March 8 at St Mary’s Church on East St in Papakura.
PATIENTS 5 & 3
Patient 5, an Auckland woman in her 40s was already in self-isolation as a precaution. Her partner, patient 3, tested positive for Covid-19 on March 4. An Auckland man, he had not travelled overseas but his father had recently returned from Iran. His is the first known case of person-to-person transmission of the virus inside New Zealand’s borders.
The man had 18 close contacts including family members at Auckland Grammar School and Ormiston Junior College, both of whom went into self-isolation despite having no symptoms.
The man’s father is considered a “probable” case but Bloomfield said at the time he was no longer showing any symptoms. It was “very likely” he had had coronavirus but he would not be retested. He and other family members had travelled on flight QR0920, departing Doha on February 22 and arriving in Auckland on February 23. Everyone on that flight was being contacted by health authorities.
PATIENT 4 and 2
An Auckland man in his 30s, travelled to northern Italy with his wife, patient 2. He was ill and in self-isolation with his wife and tested positive on March 5, two days after her. His wife told Stuff he had only experienced some tiredness and a mild cough. The man is a NZ Steel worker and also attended the Tool concert at the Spark Arena in Auckland on February 28. He has eight known close contacts.
The Ministry of Health was also warning that hundreds of people standing in the general admission area in the left-front corner of the arena could have been exposed to the virus – although the chance of transmission was low. Several concertgoers who have been showing symptoms have since tested negative.
The second patient was a woman in her 30s, from Auckland. The Kiwi citizen had travelled to northern Italy with her husband, both returning via Singapore on February 25 on Air NZ flight NZ0283. She then flew on March 2 from Auckland to Palmerston North on Air NZ flight NZ5103, before returning the same day on NZ8114 as she was feeling sick. She attended Westgate Medical Centre that day and was given a swab test, which tested positive on March 3.
She, her husband and two children went into self-isolation. The children attend Westlake Boys’ and Westlake Girls’ High Schools, but neither was symptomatic and nobody at the school is believed to be at risk.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service director Dr William Rainger called for calm after the woman’s family were reportedly subjected to “sustained and abusive bullying” on social media. Rainger warned such a reaction could lead to people not reporting their symptoms for fear of being attacked. The woman defended her actions to Stuff, saying she had been diagnosed with a sinus infection before going to Italy, and felt slightly unwell getting home to Auckland but put it down to the long flight. She stayed home the next day, then went to a GP who told her she did not have coronavirus.
The woman had 100 close contacts – all have been contacted and have self-isolated.
New Zealand’s first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed on February 28. The New Zealand citizen, in their 60s, had just returned from Iran via Bali. They arrived in Auckland on Emirates flight EK450 from Tehran on February 26 and travelled home in a private car.
The person began feeling unwell and their family called Healthline, which advised them to seek medical attention. They attended Auckland City Hospital emergency department that same day – all were wearing masks. The person had two throat swabs for Covid-19 that came back negative, but was tested again due to a lung infection using a different technique that came back positive. They were hospitalised and were discharged last week. The Ministry of Health says they had 26 close contacts, all of whom have been traced.
• The father of patient 3 is considered a probable case but will not be retested as he has recovered from his symptoms. He returned from Iran on February 23 and is thought to have passed the virus to his son.
• A woman in her 70s became unwell after being on board the Grand Princess cruise ship, which had confirmed Covid-19 cases. She had flown back from San Francisco to Auckland on Flight NZ7 on February 25. She was admitted to hospital with a respiratory illness and tested for the virus but returned a negative result – however she was still considered a probable case. More than 50 hospital staff were stood down from work after being exposed to the patient but are expected to all be back to work on March 16.
• A cruise ship berthed in Akaroa Harbour on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula was thought to have at least one case of coronavirus on board but the person has since tested negative, the Otago Daily Times reported. Three passengers on the Golden Princess had been quarantined by the ship’s doctor and one of them had developed symptoms believed to be Covid-19, but that person has now tested negative.