New Zealand: another Covid case linked to Pullman Hotel

Helen Livingstone
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

A fourth person who was released from managed isolation at Auckland’s Pullman hotel has tested positive for Covid-19, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has said, but authorities have reassured the public that the risk to others remains “low”.

The individual had been self-isolating at home in Hamilton, in the North Island, since leaving the hotel on 30 January and had returned three negative results prior to testing positive, the ministry said.

Saturday’s announcement means five people linked to the hotel have now caught the virus, after three guests tested positive after leaving and another person caught it from one of the returnees.

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After the first case was announced in January other guests at the hotel were asked to stay longer, but the building is due to be emptied by Sunday and over the following week will have its CCTV systems upgraded, followed by a deep clean.

Investigators have not yet determined how the virus was transmitted but the latest person to test positive had stayed on the same floor as other confirmed cases, said the director of public health, Dr Caroline McElnay.

All of the hotel’s recent guests have been asked to self-isolate at home for five days after leaving and McElnay said Saturday’s case was picked up on the fifth day of the person’s self-isolation.

They were being returned to a quarantine facility, she said. The two close contacts with whom they were living had tested negative, and the positive case said they had been isolating separately in their home while wearing a face mask in communal areas.

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“Today’s case reinforces the importance of self-isolation and repeat testing strategy that we have adopted around the Pullman Hotel,” McElnay said.

The last case of community transmission in New Zealand was in Auckland on 18 November, after which the city centre was temporarily shut down.