The New Zealand Ministry of Health has confirmed to the Niue Government that the index case of community transmission outside managed isolation in South Auckland was from a family with links to Niue.
The first person identified had been symptomatic for five days and returned a positive test. The rest of the family were tested where an additional three cases returned positive.
According to an issued statement by the Niue government, there is no clear history of overseas travel among those affected so the source of infection is currently unknown but is being investigated by the local public health unit in Auckland.
Further details on contact tracing and testing are being followed up by public health authorities in New Zealand. At this stage, there is no indication from those contacts that anyone in the family or their close contacts have traveled to Niue recently.
The Ministry of Health reiterates that from a public health perspective, the absence of source does not yet constitute community transmission – this determination has not yet been made.
The Niue Government states they will keep everyone updated as new information is received about this evolving situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected family for a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile, Auckland based Public Health expert Dr. Colin Tukuitonga has also raised concern over the identification of the family’s ethnicity.
“It’s unfortunate I’ve tried my best to advise ministry officials and media that there’s no benefit in identifying the ethnic origin of this family. We need to give them space and the time to heal. Unfortunately, there’s lots of information on social media about this and my advice is really to try and refrain from making rash statements and comments because there is a risk that the family could be targeted by those people with bad intentions and we need to make sure that we respect their identity and privacy.”
Dr Tukuitonga has advised the public to continue practicing good hygiene and safety measures.
“The real concern here of course is that there is no obvious source of infection and we’re thinking of community transmission. Community transmission is a thing that we fear because it could get out of hand and so you can imagine every effort is being made to get on top of this and so the advise to our people is stay at home, wash your hands, keep distancing if you have symptoms check with your doctor or Healthline and get tested. If you have to go out wear a mask. “ said Dr. Tukuitonga