BREAKING! New Zealand COVID-19 News: SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus OutBreak In New Zealand Again After Being COVID-19 Free For 102 Days
New Zealand COVID-19 News
: Jacinda Ardern , Prime Minister of New Zealand announced on today that health authorities have found four cases of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections in one Auckland household from an unknown source, the first reported cases of local transmission in the country in 102 days.
In this image from a video, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern,
left, and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, right, attend a
news conference in Wellington, New Zealand Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.
The Prime Minister also announced that the nation's largest city, Auckland will be moved to Alert Level 3 from midday Wednesday through midnight Friday, meaning that individuals will be asked to stay at home, while bars and many other businesses will be closed.
She said during an urgent press conference, "These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have widespread contact tracing so we can find out more about how this case arose and make decisions about how to respond to it once we have further information."
She added, "I know that this information will be very difficult to receive. We had all hoped not to find ourselves in this position again. But we had also prepared for it. And as a team, we have also been here before."
Health authorities also announced that all traveling into Auckland will be banned unless people live there and are traveling home.
Also it was said that the rest of the country will be raised to Level 2 through Friday, meaning that mass gatherings will be limited to 100 attendees and people would need to socially distance themselves from each other.
Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health said the infections were confirmed after a person in their 50s went to their doctor on Monday with symptoms and was swabbed twice, testing positive both times. Six other people in the person's household were then tested, with three more positive results.
Bloomfield added, "Importantly, the person has no history of overseas travel and hence the source of the infections remains unknown.”
To date, the only known cases of the virus in New Zealand were 22 travelers who had recently returned from abroad and were being held in quarantine at the border.
New Zealand has been praised globally for its virus response. It initially got rid of the virus by imposing a strict lockdown in late March when only about 100 people had tested positive for the disease. That stopped its spread.
Normalcy had returned to for many people in the South Pacific nation of 5 million, as they attended rugby games at packed stadiums and sat down in bars and restaurants without fear of getting infected. But some had warned that the country had become complacent.
Interestingly New Zealanders have never routinely worn masks, but authorities have been urging people to buy them just in case.
Also the outbreak comes less than
six weeks before New Zealanders are due to go to the polls in a general election.
Health authorities are worried that considering the nature of the case, more individuals are also actually infected and are unknowingly spreading the virus.
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