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New Zealand’s extended lockdown in its most populous city shows how quickly the early successes of the pandemic can change.

Country battles new community coronavirus outbreak after months without any locally transmitted case.

There remains a major and unanswered question: how did this epidemic come about?

The remote island nation imposed strict border controls in March, meaning that, for the most part, only New Zealanders are allowed into the country – and those arriving from overseas must spend 14 days in the country. state quarantine facilities.

According to the Department of Health, 68% of New Zealand cases are imported or linked to imported cases.

Quarantine facilities: One possible cause for this latest outbreak is that the coronavirus has somehow been released from New Zealand state quarantine facilities. This is what Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told Australia’s national television station ABC, saying: “I think there has been a breach in our quarantine system. “

There have been breaches in New Zealand before – in July, a man walked through a fence at a managed isolation facility to visit a liquor store, and another man who later tested positive for coronavirus went through a fence. escaped from a facility and went to a supermarket.

It may be a different strain of the virus: So far, authorities have not found a match between the genome involved in this latest outbreak and cases in managed isolation facilities. New Zealand’s chief health officer Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the new cases most closely resemble genomic models from the UK and Australia.

Bloomfield believes the outbreak could have originated from the isolation facilities rather than being present for months in New Zealand.

I think there is very good evidence to suggest that this is not hiding in the community, ”he said.

Ardern said on Friday that the strain of the new outbreak was not the same as previously found in New Zealand.

Warehouse samples tested: Authorities are also testing surface samples at Americold, a U.S. temperature-controlled warehouse company where one of the first four positive tests worked. A number of cases have been linked to the business.

But nothing is conclusive at this stage: Ardern said that, as of now, authorities do not know how the outbreak came about. “We don’t necessarily need to answer this question to effectively deal with this cluster,” she said.

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