Authorities are warning that the number of cases is likely to increase, raising prospects that a three-day lockout in Auckland could be extended and prompting the upcoming general election. of the country of doubt.
“As we all have learned from our first experience with Covid, once you identify a cluster it will grow before it slows down,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference. on Thursday. “We should expect that̵7;s the case here.”
But on Tuesday, New Zealand reported that a family of four in Auckland had been infected with a coronavirus, despite having no history of traveling abroad and not being associated with any known cases. That prompted Ardern to reintroduce coronavirus restrictions, including disabling access to pension homes, imposing Auckland door locks, and limiting gatherings across the country to no more than 100 people.
On Thursday, New Zealand Director General of Health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, announced 13 new cases of locally transmission, all of which involved the original four.
It’s still unclear what caused the latest outbreak. For months, New Zealand has imposed strict immigration controls – apart from a few exceptions, borders are closed for all non-New Zealanders and anyone entering. In this country all must stay in the state quarantine facility for 14 days.
Authorities used genomic sequencing to investigate the origin of the outbreak, but found no link between cases in the community and imported cases in quarantined facilities. New Zealand’s manager, Bloomfield said. “What we do know is that the genome sequences of the new cases closely match those from the UK and Australia,” he said.
One in four initially works at Americold, an American temperature-controlled warehouse company. On Thursday, authorities announced that three additional Americold employees had tested positive, and that seven cases announced Thursday were family members of Americold employees.
Authorities are examining the surfaces at the Americold’s warehouse for Covid-19, but Ardern insists that the most likely cause of the outbreak is human-to-human transmission. “We are trying to rule out everything,” she said.
New Zealand’s new residential cluster comes just weeks after the national elections are scheduled for September 19. Parliament was scheduled to dissolve on Wednesday but Ardern postponed it until 17th. August – and she has yet to announce whether the election will go as originally planned.
On Wednesday, Ardern stressed that Australia’s situation – and the situation of countries around the world – showed New Zealand’s importance in complying with the new restrictions.
“Our response to the virus has so far worked, it opens up our economy and community, and gives New Zealanders the freedoms we cherish. , and we all want to get back there as soon as possible. But success depends on all of us working together, “she said.
“We know how to beat this, but we also know that we don’t have to look far to see what it could mean if we don’t go above it.”
CNN’s Isaac Yee contributed to the report.