After 102 days coronavirus-free, New Zealand reports 4 new cases – National


WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday authorities have found four cases of coronavirus in an Auckland outbreak from an unknown source, the first cases of local transmission reported in the country in 102 days.

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Ardern said Auckland, the country’s largest city, would be moved to Alert Level 3 from noon Wednesday to midnight Friday, meaning people will be urged to stay at home, while bars and many others businesses will be closed.

“These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have a generalized contact tracing so that we can find out more about how this case came about and take action. decisions on how to respond once we have more information ”. Ardern said at a hastily organized press conference on Tuesday evening.

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“I know this information will be very difficult to receive,” said Ardern. “We had all hoped not to find ourselves in this position again. But we had also prepared for it. And as a team, we’ve been here before as well.

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She said traveling to Auckland would be banned unless people live there and return home.

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She said the rest of the country will be raised to Level 2 until Friday, which means mass gatherings will be limited to 100 participants and people should socially distance themselves from each other.

Chief Health Officer Ashley Bloomfield said the infections were confirmed after a person in their 50s went to their doctor on Monday with symptoms and was washed twice, tested positive both times. Six other people in the person’s household were then tested, with three more positive results.

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“Importantly, the person does not have a history of travel abroad,” Bloomfield said, adding that the source of the infections remains unknown.

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Until Tuesday, the only known cases of the virus in New Zealand involved 22 travelers who had recently returned from overseas and quarantined at the border.

The country has been praised around the world for its response to the virus.

New Zealand first got rid of the virus by imposing a strict lockdown at the end of March, when only around 100 people had tested positive for the disease. It stopped its spread.

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COVID-19 lessons from New Zealand and Australia

Life had returned to normal for many in the South Pacific nation of 5 million, as they attended rugby matches in crowded stadiums and sat in bars and restaurants without fear. to be infected. But some had warned that the country had become complacent.

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New Zealanders have never consistently worn masks, but authorities have urged people to buy them just in case.

The outbreak comes less than six weeks before New Zealanders go to the polls in a general election.

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