New Zealand records 100 days free of domestic virus cases but warns of complacency

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand on Sunday marked 100 days without national transmission of the coronavirus, but warned of complacency as countries like Vietnam and Australia that once had the virus under control are now battling a resurgence of infections.

FILE PHOTO: People walk on Lambton Quay Street in Wellington, New Zealand July 23, 2020. REUTERS / Praveen Menon

New Zealand’s successful fight against COVID-19 has made the Pacific island nation of 5 million people one of the safest places in the world today.

New Zealanders have returned to normal life, but authorities fear people are now refusing testing, not using government contact tracing apps and even ignoring basic hygiene rules.

“Reaching 100 days without community transmission is an important milestone, however, as we all know we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

“We have seen abroad how quickly the virus can reappear and spread to places where it was previously under control, and we must be ready to quickly eradicate any future cases in New Zealand,” he said. declared.

New Zealand has 23 active cases in managed isolation facilities and a total of 1,219 COVID-19 cases so far.

Vietnam, which has gone three months without detecting any domestic transmission, is now rushing to control a new outbreak in Danang.

Neighboring Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, was stranded for six weeks due to an increase in the number of cases. The second wave of cases in Melbourne are largely the result of quarantine breaches.

“For countries like Australia and New Zealand, the source of these outbreaks is likely to come from managed isolation and quarantine facilities due to the large number of people being held there and the multiple staff changes involved in their support ”, said Michael Baker, professor. of Public Health at the University of Otago.

There have been cases of returning New Zealanders sneaking out of quarantine and other security errors.

Last week, New Zealand stepped up testing at quarantine facilities and clinics, and began work on technology to track people using Bluetooth technology.

Ardern launched his re-election campaign on Saturday calling it a “Covid election.”

But an upsurge in cases due to ‘Covid fatigue’ could spark a backlash against it and give the opposition a chance to get back into the electoral race.

Repotting by Praveen Menon; Edited by Michael Perry

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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