Virus: New Zealand could extend Auckland’s new containment

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WELLINGTON | New Zealand plans to extend the reimposed lockdown for three days in Auckland and seeks to understand the sudden reappearance of the virus in the country’s largest city where the number of cases has climbed to 17.

Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield announced on Wednesday that 13 new cases had been recorded in Auckland. All are linked to the family of four, who tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, which ended a period of 102 days without local contamination.

New Zealand then hastily imposed a reconfinement in Auckland, for three days from Wednesday at midday until Friday midnight. The measure could be extended while the source of the new contamination remains unknown.

A possible extension will be decided based on the results of ongoing investigations within the next 24 hours, Bloomfield said. “It’s too early to say”.

Health teams were busy trying to identify the origin of the new cases and the screening campaign was intensified.

The authorities are exploring all possible avenues for this transmission, Bloomfield said on TVNZ. “We want to know its magnitude as quickly as possible, so we tested all relatives, casual contacts, colleagues and family.”

Among the new cases is a high school student studying at one of the country’s main schools with more than 3,000 students, Blommfield said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said new cases linked to this new source of contamination are expected.

“The lessons we have learned from the first wave of coronavirus is that once you have identified the source of contamination, it grows before slowing down”, she explained in a televised address. .

“Serious and serious” situation

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 grave”, she said it is being handled “urgently, but calm and methodically”.

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

However, the country 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.

Regarding avenues for defining the origin of the contaminations, he judged “improbable”, even if it should be explored according to him, the possibility that it is linked to imported goods that one of the members of the affected family working in a cold room.

Another possibility, he said, is the managed quarantine facilities, mainly hotels and motels closed to the general public, which welcome thousands of arrivals from abroad among whom those who test positive are placed in more stringent quarantine.

According to Bloomfield, cases of COVID-19 discovered in the city as well as some affected family members considered to be at risk have been placed in strict quarantine as well, rather than being isolated simply in voluntary quarantine as usual.

“This will help us to avoid any further inadvertent release,” he explained.

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