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Home / World / New Zealand imposes 12-day closure on Auckland as it battles fresh Covid-19 blast

New Zealand imposes 12-day closure on Auckland as it battles fresh Covid-19 blast



Just five days ago, New Zealand was marking an enviable milestone – 100 days without any community broadcasts. But this week has demonstrated how quickly he can change, even in a country like New Zealand which has been held as a world leader in its treatment of the virus.

On Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland – the city of about 1.5 million people at the center of the new blast – would remain under a level three blockade for another 12 days, while the rest of the country remained below the second level restrictions. namely meetings are limited to no more than 100 people. The rules extend the restrictions that took effect earlier this week.

Under third-level restrictions, people will be told to stay home away from essential personal mobility, schools will operate at limited capacity, and public places such as museums, playgrounds, and gyms will remain open. closed.

The fresh spread is a blow to New Zealand. The country has already spent five weeks under one of the toughest obstacles in the world, that closed most businesses and schools and saw people stay at home.

Ardern has warned he expects to see more cases.

“Lifting the restrictions now and seeing an explosion of cases is the worst thing we could do for Auckland and the New Zealand economy,”

; she said. “We got rid of Covid before … We can do all this again.”

On First Friday, New Zealand Director of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced 12 more cases of local broadcasting. There are now 49 active cases in New Zealand at 49, 29 of which are related to the recent outbreak.
The cases are all in Auckland except two in Tokoroa, a city of 24,000 about 200 km (124 miles) south of the city. According to the Ministry of Health, the two tested positive after a visit from a contact of one of the Auckland cases.

At a news conference Friday, Bloomfield said 771 close contacts of confirmed cases had been identified, and more than 15,700 tests were processed Thursday – the highest number of tests processed in a single day in the country.

Since the outbreak, New Zealand has conducted more than 500,000 tests. It has reported a total of 1,251 coronavirus cases, including 22 deaths.

What caused the explosion?

There is still a major, unanswered question: How did this explosion happen?

The island’s remote nation imposed strict border controls in March, meaning that, for the most part, only New Zealand is allowed in the country – and those arriving from abroad must spend 14 days in state quarantine facilities. According to the Ministry of Health, 68% of New Zealand cases are imported or related to imported cases.
One possible cause of this recent outbreak is that the coronavirus somehow emerged from New Zealand state quarantine facilities. This is what Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peter told Australian national broadcaster 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 cut a fence in a managed isolation facility to visit a liquor store, and another man who later tested positive for coronavirus exploded from a facility and visited a supermarket. Violations at quarantine facilities were linked to an explosion in the Australian state of Victoria, which is currently under blockade.
A pedestrian crosses a social distancing sign on August 14, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

So far, authorities have not found a match between the genome involved in this latest outbreak and any cases at the isolation management facilities. Bloomfield said the new cases closely resemble genome models from the UK and Australia.

Bloomfield thinks the blast may have entered inside the isolation premises instead of being present for months in New Zealand.

“I think there is very good evidence to suggest that there has been no drowsiness in the community,” he said. Ardern said Friday that the strain on the New Zealand blast is not the same as what previously existed in New Zealand.

Authorities are also testing samples from surfaces at Americold, a U.S. temperature-controlled warehouse company, where one of the four originals to test worked positively. A number of cases have been linked to the company.

But Ardern said that, for now, authorities did not know how the blast occurred.

“We do not necessarily need to answer this question to deal with this grouping effectively,” she said.

The Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield speaks to the media during a press conference in Parliament on 14 August 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

How does New Zealand compare

New Zealand’s recent spread has drawn parallels with Australia and Hong Kong – both countries that imposed strict border measures when they had low infection numbers and appeared to have the virus under control, only to try a redistribution of the virus.

In the Australian state of Victoria, a curfew has been imposed and a curfew has been imposed in Melbourne. As of Thursday, Victoria – a country of about 6 million people – had more than 7,800 active cases of the coronavirus, and 275 deaths.
In Hong Kong – home to about 7.5 million people – there are about 1,000 active cases, including 32 in critical condition. Sixty-six people have died. Despite the current outbreak, the city has not imposed a blockade, although people must wear masks in public or face a fine, public gatherings are limited to two people, and restaurants and bars must be closed at night, except for holidays .

On Thursday, Ardern noted that New Zealand had imposed restrictions within 24 hours of the first cases of the new community coronavirus – a response it said was faster than in Hong Kong or Victoria.

“Rhythm and speed should also act as an extra layer of security,” she said Thursday, before repeating the mantra she said from the start of the blast: “Going too far and early is still the best way to act. “.

CNN’s Isaac Yee contributed to this story.


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