Officials have identified a new case of Covid-19 in the community which is not linked to the border

A university student in Auckland has tested positive for Covid-19 but has no clear links to the border.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield revealed the new case at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

Hipkins said information about the person was limited but they were not a worker in managed isolation and were not obviously linked to the border. The person is a student at AUT but hasn’t been on campus since mid-October. They have mostly kept to themselves in recent days outside of work at the A-Z Collections on High Street in Auckland.

The student developed symptoms on Monday, got tested Tuesday and attended work from Monday to Wednesday. The result was reported mid-morning on Thursday.

The student is being moved into a quarantine facility.

Health officials say anyone who visited A-Z Collections or the Vincent Residences at 106 Vincent Street between Saturday, November 7 and today, November 12, should isolate and get advice on being tested. This is the case regardless of whether or not they are symptomatic. These people should stay isolated until they receive test results.

Officials are hoping to backtrace the student’s movements to identify how they became infected and are sequencing the case’s virus genome overnight to find any links to existing cases.

A second press conference with more information will be held on Thursday afternoon around 5pm, Hipkins said. He said there wasn’t enough information at the moment to make a call on changing alert levels.

Bloomfield said health officials were still determining whether the person had been using the Covid Tracer app or keeping a written record of their daily movements, while he did not want to pass judgement on why they continued going into work after seeking out a test.

Hipkins said the Government’s resurgence planning outlined the factors Cabinet would take into consideration when making a decision on whether to shift alert levels, such as the likely source of infection and a person’s movements over their infectious period. “Absence of information” would also be taken into account during deliberations, he said.

The news comes after several recent instances of managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) workers bringing infections into the community.

Two other new cases were reported on Thursday. One of these was in managed isolation and the other was linked to the Defence Force MIQ cluster that was revealed on Friday. The new community case in the Defence Force cluster was infected at a lunch with a previous case at Little Penang on The Terrace in Wellington.

Health experts Michael Baker and Siouxsie Wiles have called on the Government to make scanning QR codes and wearing masks on public transport mandatory if participation rates continue to remain low.

Marc Daalder is a senior political reporter based in Wellington who covers climate change, health, energy and violent extremism. Twitter/Bluesky: @marcdaalder

Sam Sachdeva is Newsroom's national affairs editor, covering foreign affairs and trade, housing, and other issues of national significance.

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