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Home / World / New Zealand imposed a 12-day lock in Auckland as it resisted the new Covid-19 outbreak

New Zealand imposed a 12-day lock in Auckland as it resisted the new Covid-19 outbreak



Just five days ago, New Zealand marked an envious milestone – 100 days without any public transmission. But this week demonstrated how quickly that could change, even in a country like New Zealand, which is seen as the world leader in terms of virus handling.

On Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland – a city with about 1.5 million inhabitants at the heart of a new outbreak – will remain locked at level three for another 12 days, while the rest The country’s remains at level two. limited, means gatherings are limited to no more than 100 people. The restriction extension rules go into effect earlier this week.

Under level three restrictions, people will be required to stay at home for essential personal activities, schools will operate with limited capacity and public venues such as museums, playgrounds. and the gym will be closed.

The new outbreak was a blow to New Zealand. The country went through five weeks under one of the world̵

7;s most stringent door shutdowns, closed most businesses and schools, at the same time found people at home.

Ardern has warned that she hopes to encounter more cases.

“Lifting restrictions right now and seeing a boom in cases is the worst we can do for Auckland and for the New Zealand economy,” she said. “We removed Covid before … We can redo all of that.”

Earlier Friday, New Zealand’s General Manager of Health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, reported an additional 12 cases of locally transmitted coronavirus. There are currently 49 active cases in New Zealand, 49 of which are related to the recent outbreak.
Cases are in Auckland apart from two in Tokoroa, a town of 24,000 approximately 200 km (124 miles) away. south of the city. According to the Ministry of Health, the two men had a positive result after a visit from a person exposed to one of the cases in Auckland.

During Friday’s press conference, Bloomfield said it had identified 771 close contacts with confirmed cases and more than 15,700 tests were processed on Thursday – the highest number of tests processed. reason for a day in this country.

Since the outbreak, New Zealand has conducted more than 500,000 tests. It reported a total of 1,251 coronavirus infections, of which 22 were fatal.

What caused the outbreak?

There’s still one big unanswered question: How did this outbreak happen?

The remote island nation imposed strict border controls in March, meaning that for the most part, only New Zealanders were allowed into the country – and those coming from abroad needed to stay inside the country. State quarantine department 14 days. According to the Ministry of Health, 68% of New Zealand cases are imported or related to all import cases.
One possible cause of this latest outbreak is that the coronavirus somehow escaped New Zealand’s quarantine facilities. That’s what Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told Australian national broadcaster ABC, that: “I think there has been a breach in our quarantine system.”
There have been violations before in New Zealand – in July, a man piercing a fence at a quarantine facility was managed to enter the liquor store and another man subsequently got the results. Positive test for coronavirus went out of the facility and went to a supermarket. Quarantine violations, linked to outbreaks in the Australian state of Victoria, are currently under blockade.
A pedestrian walks past a sign out of society on August 14, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

To date, the authorities have yet to find a match between the genome associated with this latest outbreak and any in the managed quarantine facilities. Bloomfield said the new cases most closely resemble genomic samples from the UK and Australia.

Bloomfield contends that the outbreak could have come through quarantine facilities rather than surviving for months in New Zealand.

“I think there is very good evidence that it doesn’t lurk in the community,” he said. Ardern said Friday that the strain in the new outbreak is not the same as the one that previously existed in New Zealand.

Authorities are also testing samples from surfaces at Americold, an American temperature-controlled warehouse company, where one in four prototypes is positive. Some cases have been linked to the company.

But Ardern says that, for now, the authorities don’t know how the disease broke out.

“We don’t have to answer that question to deal with this cluster effectively,” she said.

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

How does New Zealand compare

New Zealand’s new outbreak has drawn similarities with Australia and Hong Kong – both where strict border measures apply when they have low numbers of infections and appear to have virus control, only for the virus to reappear.

In the Australian state of Victoria, a ban on the door was in place and a curfew was introduced in Melbourne. As of Thursday, Victoria – a state with about 6 million people – had more than 7,800 active coronavirus infections and 275 deaths.
In Hong Kong – home to about 7.5 million people – there are about 1,000 active cases, of which 32 are in critical condition. 66 people died. Despite the current outbreak, the city has yet to impose a ban on the door, 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 on the go.

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

“Speed ​​and speed should also serve as an additional layer of reassurance,” she said on Thursday, before reiterating the spell she had been saying since the beginning of the outbreak: “Go hard. and early is still the best course of action. “

CNN’s Isaac Yee contributed to this story.


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