New Zealand has eight new cases of Covid-19, all related to overseas travel, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

It brings the total of confirmed cases in New Zealand to 20.

Speaking at the latest media conference, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there are four new cases in Auckland, one in Christchurch, two in Waikato and one in Invercargill.

One of the Auckland cases was a male in his 50s who travelled extensively throughout Europe, while another was a woman in her 40s who arrived in Auckland on 9 March from Europe. The other two Auckland cases were a man in his 60s who arrived on a flight from Canada on 12 March and another man in his 60s who arrived on 13 March, flying in from San Francisco on Air NZ flight NZ007.

The Invercargill case was a man in his 40s who arrived on 5 March from the Gold Coast; and the Canterbury case was a female in her 40s who arrived on 16 March on a flight from London.

The two cases in Waikato are a woman in her 20s who arrived on 8 March from Sydney and a man in his 70s who arrived on 15 March from Europe.

“We expected more cases and it’s most important that we identify, that we test and isolate cases and close contacts to ensure that we prevent further community spread,” said Dr Bloomfield.

1He said the new cases have been in self isolation and aware of the symptoms. He commended them for doing the right thing.

About 150 students at Logan Park school which was initially closed for 48 hours last night will be tested over the next 24 hours.

Test results for these close contacts will not be available until Friday, and the school will stay closed until further notice.

Secretary of Education Iona Holsted said there was a plan in place for Logan Park High, and the Health Minsitry was planning for temporary closures of schools, but not long-term closures.

Dr Bloomfield said police had conducted some compliance checks on travellers who have arrived since the self isolation policy came into effect. He said they had made contact with 41 individuals yesterday and they were following up with three more today.

The influenza vaccination program will begin early this year, with a 30 percent increase in tests, Dr Bloomfield said.

Source: RNZ

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