New Zealand could extend Auckland containment

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New Zealand plans to extend the three-day lockdown currently in place in its largest city, Auckland, following an outbreak of coronavirus contamination of 17 cases, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Health department official Ashley Bloomfield said on Wednesday 13 new cases have been recorded, all linked to the family of four people who tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.

New Zealand had hastily imposed a three-day lockdown in Auckland this week after the contamination from an unknown source of four members of the same family.

The discovery of these cases during tests ended a period of 102 days without contamination. The containment order is due to expire at midnight Friday.

Health teams are at work to try to identify the source of the source of the infection, added Mr Bloomfield.

“We want to know its magnitude as quickly as possible, so we tested all relatives, casual contacts, colleagues and family,” he said.

In addition, the screening campaign has been intensified.

Among the new cases is a student who attends one of the largest schools in the country which has more than 3,000 students, Blommfield said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has indicated that new cases linked to this new source of contamination are expected.

“The lessons we have learned from the first wave of coronavirus are that once you have identified the source of contamination, it grows before slowing down”, she explained during a speech to television.

However, she said she was encouraged by the fact that, so far, these new cases have been limited to a single group located in Auckland.

Describing the situation as “serious and serious”, she said that it is being handled “in an urgent but calm and methodical manner”.

A possible extension of the confinement will be decided based on the results of the investigation within the next 24 hours, Bloomfield said.

“It’s too early to say (…) We will have a lot more information tomorrow”.

New Zealand has so far recorded just 22 deaths from the coronavirus on its soil for a population of 5 million.

However, Auckland expected a resurgence of the epidemic, noted Bloomfield. “Yes, we were becoming complacent and that’s why our message in recent weeks aimed to avoid that,” he said.

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