New Zealand records first community transmission of COVID-19 in over 100 days

·2-min read

New Zealand has recorded new cases of community transmission of coronavirus for the first time in more than 100 days.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday that four cases of community transmission were confirmed, after 102 days without any.

She said the city of Auckland will go into lockdown for three days from tomorrow noon until midnight on Friday.

The four cases are from one household in Auckland, officials said. One of the cases is a pre-school child.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses a press conference after the 2020 budget at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, Thursday, May 14, 2020. New Zealand's government plans to borrow and spend vast amounts of money as it tries to keep unemployment below 10% in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. (Hagen Hopkins/Pool Photo via AP)
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. (AP)

Ardern said: ‘We have not been able to trace the sources of these cases.

“We need to take a much more precautionary approach until we can find the source of this case and make sure we reduce the risk of wider spread.”

New Zealand has been hailed as a success for its approach to tackling the spread of COVID-19 and marked 100 days without a new domestic case at the weekend.

In June, it recorded its first coronavirus case of any kind for 24 days after two women who travelled from the UK tested positive.

On Tuesday, Ardern announced that Auckland will move to alert level 3 restrictions from noon on Wednesday for three days.

This means people will be asked to stay at home and bars and many other businesses will be closed. Gatherings of more than 10 people are again restricted.

The rest of the country was also be moved to alert level 2 restriction from Wednesday, she said.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been 1,570 coronavirus cases in New Zealand and 22 deaths.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said the four confirmed cases were within one family, who had no history of international travel. One of those who tested positive is in their 50s.

“This is something we have prepared for,” Ardern said.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 14:  A Barber wearing a face mask works on a customer's hair at Board & Blade Barbour Shop on May 14, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 in three stages starting from today with restaurants, cinemas, retail, playgrounds and gyms able to reopen with physical distancing and strict hygiene measures in place. Public gatherings are permitted for up to 10 people and New Zealanders are now able to travel domestically. Schools and early childhood centres will open from Monday 18 May while bars will be allowed to reopen from Thursday 21 May. New Zealand was placed under full lockdown on March 26 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
A barber wearing a face mask in Auckland, New Zealand, cuts a customer's hair under coronavirus guidelines. (Getty)

“We have had a 102 days and it was easy to feel New Zealand was out of the woods. No country has gone as far as we did without having a resurgence. And because we were the only ones, we had to plan. And we have planned.”

She said: “These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have widespread contact tracing so we can find out more about how this case arose and make decisions about how to respond to it once we have further information.”

She said that traveling into Auckland will be banned unless people live there and are traveling home.

Until Tuesday, the only known cases of the virus in New Zealand were 22 travellers who had recently returned from abroad and were being held in quarantine.

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