The Ministry of Health is confident the Northland community case came directly from the Pullman Hotel and there is no missing link.

In a press conference this afternoon, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed the strain of Covid in the case is from the new South African variant.

A decision was made to delay the release of 46 people from the Pullman Hotel, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.

They will be tested again before being released.

Hipkins said those released since the 56-year-old woman left MIQ were being contacted.

Bloomfield said there were six new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation today and 15 people were being treated as close contacts of the new case.

The 56-year-old woman travelled around parts of Northland and visited 30 businesses over nine days while unknowingly having coronavirus.

Hipkins earlier told Morning Report that the results for the woman’s husband and hairdresser had since come back negative.

“So that’s some good news to start the day.

“Her husband would without doubt be her closest contact – that coming back negative is a good sign and so we’ll know more as the day unfolds as to what the overall risk of this case is.”

He said the woman had six close contacts in total so they are all isolating while test results come through and other casual contacts who have been in the same place at the same time are regarded as “casual plus” contacts, who are being asked to isolate after taking tests.

Hipkins said it could be up to 48 hours before there’s enough information to make any calls on changing alert levels.

He is hopeful genome sequencing will be completed today to determine the source of the case.

He praised the woman for using the Covid Tracer app and restricting her movements and close contacts since leaving managed isolation.

He defended the time it took to release the names of all the businesses involved. It was published at 7.30pm yesterday after the ministry contacted them all. In the past it had caused alarm when the media had contacted some businesses before they knew they had been visited by a Covid case, Hipkins said.

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