New Zealand health officials are racing to source a new COV case in an Auckland family, after 102 days of community infection free.
The government found four cases of nCoV infection in an Auckland household with unknown source, ending a 102-day series of no community infections.
Covid-19 reappeared in the New Zealand community after a man over 50 years old visited a doctor on August 10 with apparent symptoms. He was given oropharyngeal fluid to test twice and both showed positive results. Six other people in his house were also tested, of which three were positive.
The new case has caused headaches by New Zealand health officials because recently, the man has not traveled abroad, nor is there a clear link with the returned cases from quarantined abroad concentrated at the border. .
Officials said two family members went to the tourist city of Rotorua last week, despite experiencing symptoms. They are trying to track down their contact schedule.
“We are working urgently to find out where their families may have visited in Rotorua last weekend,” Ashley Bloomfield Chief Medical Officer Ashley Bloomfield announced today. “But it is important that people in Rotorua and the whole country are alert to their health and seek help when symptoms appear.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden (left) and Ashley Bloomfield General Manager of Health speak at a press conference in Wellington, New Zealand, on August 12. Photo: AP.
Bloomfield says it will decode the viral genomes of the new cases to find the source of the infection.
Auckland is moving to Level 3 Alert this afternoon and runs until midnight August 14. This means that workers in non-essential occupations have to stay at home, and bars, restaurants and most other professions must be closed.
Other localities across the country turned to Level 2 Alerts, which meant large gatherings were limited to 100 attendees and had to practice social segregation.
Prime Minister Jacindar Arden said she pushed for an imposition of a blockade with Auckland after she was notified of the new cases on the afternoon of August 11. “We are doing quick response to stop the source of infection with solutions of tracking, testing, collecting information,” she said.
Arden said Auckland residents were also “encouraged” to wear masks but were optional and the government was distributing 5 million masks from state supplies. In the past, New Zealanders were not in the habit of wearing masks, although authorities urged people to buy or make fabric masks from scarves.
The New Zealand parliament is scheduled to disband today before the general election taking place on September 19. However, Ms. Ardern said she was postponing the dissolution of parliament at least until early next week and is considering a plan to postpone the election.
Under New Zealand law, the government can delay elections by two months. The main candidates have canceled most of their campaign events by the end of this week.
Before August 11, the new cases in New Zealand were 22 imported cases, all of which were quarantined upon returning from abroad. The outbreak relapsed after New Zealand passed the 100-day mark of no public infection and was hailed as a model for the nCoV response.
This South Pacific country with a population of nearly 5 million initially stopped the virus by imposing a strict blockade in late March, monkeys with only 100 nCoV-positive people.
Life began to return to normal for many people, when going to stadiums full of people watching football games, or partying at bars and restaurants without fear of infection. However, many people warned that New Zealand was subjective in letting go of restrictions in the context that Covid-19 was still complicated in the world.
(According to AP)