LIVE: No new Covid-19 community cases

Minister for COVID-19 Response, Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ.

UPDATE 1.05PM: There are no new community cases being reported in New Zealand today.

The Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins says this is good news.

"Testing has been going well. Around half of Papatotoe High School have been tested and all have returned a negative result.

"There are still some further results pending."

Hipkins says overall, the school community has responded well."

Second batch of Pfizer/BioNTech doses arrives safely

A second batch of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrived safely yesterday at Auckland International Airport, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“This shipment contained about 76,000 doses, and follows our first shipment of 60,000 doses that arrived last week. We expect further shipments of vaccine over the coming weeks.

“As with the first shipment, quality assurance and checks by Medsafe are underway.

“By the end of March, we’re due to receive a total of about 450,000 doses – enough to vaccinate 225,000 people with a two-dose course.

“The Ministry of Health is working with Pfizer/BioNTech to develop a delivery schedule for the vaccines that ensures a smooth rollout and scaling up of our immunisation programme as we rollout to the general public in mid-year.

“We started our immunisation programme to around 12,000 border and managed isolation and quarantine workers last Saturday, and once completed, we’ll begin vaccinating their household contacts.".

Meanwhile, around 40 border workers from Christchurch Airport were vaccinated this morning, the first to do so in the South Island.

“This passes a milestone of the first 1000 border workers and vaccinators in New Zealand to receive their first dose. That’s a great start and we appreciate the effort of the vaccinators and border workers,”says Hipkins.

“They included aviation security workers, cleaners, police, customs workers and health protection officers who screen passengers arriving on international flights.

“It’s pleasing to see the gradual scale up of vaccines being administered among this tier one group, as planned, as processes at each site are fine tuned. Numbers will start to pick up from here.”

Hipkins says a shipment of 490,000 special-purpose needles also arrived yesterday to New Zealand, which will help vaccination teams maximise safe usage of the vaccine.

“Making the most of every vial of the vaccine and avoiding waste will help to ensure the successful rollout of our immunisation programme."

EARLIER:

The Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, will provide an update on the Covid situation in New Zealand at 1pm.

Last night, the Ministry of Health announced two additional community cases.

They are siblings from the positive case from Papatoetoe High School.

The siblings are a teenager and an infant.

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Health reported five new cases of Covid at the border and one new community case.

No previously reported cases have recovered.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 60.

The total number of confirmed cases is 2007.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,666,446.

On Monday, 4123 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 10,096 tests processed.

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