New Zealand: epidemic spreads outside Auckland

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Auckland | The new wave of coronavirus cases in New Zealand has spread beyond Auckland, the largest city in the country where it had until then been confined, authorities said on Friday.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins has reported 12 more cases of local transmission, and one probable case.

Thirty cases have been recorded since the coronavirus began to spread again in the Oceania archipelago, after a remarkable series of 102 days without local contamination.

Mr. Hipkins said two of the cases were recorded in Tokoroa, 210 km south of Auckland.

This spread took place despite the containment that was imposed in Auckland. Police officers were assigned to control exits from the city.

Mr. Hipkins nevertheless wanted to reassure the authorities’ ability to control the situation.

“At this point, all the cases are linked, they are all part of the same Auckland-based focus of infection,” he said, adding that the Tokoroa cases were quickly identified. “We have no example of a COVID-19 case outside of Auckland that is not linked to the source of contamination that we are treating”.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to announce on Friday whether the confinement decided for three days in Auckland is extended, or if the area affected by the restrictions is widened. Entered into force Wednesday noon, confinement currently runs until Friday midnight.

It is a family of four that was initially tested positive on Tuesday in the country’s largest city. These were the first cases of local transmission of the coronavirus since the beginning of May. The origin of this contamination has not been identified.

New Zealand has so far recorded just 22 deaths from the coronavirus on its soil for a population of 5 million. Its effective response to the first epidemic wave had been hailed by foreign countries.

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