The cases are New Zealand’s first cases of community transmission since Jan. 24 and have prompted Australia to suspend the quarantine-free travel corridor for New Zealanders late on Sunday evening.
While Auckland has been subjected to Level 3 restrictions that require everyone to stay at home except for essential purchases and work, the rest of the country has been subjected to Level 2 restrictions. Level 2 alert requires social distancing and limits social gatherings to 100 people.
Prime Minister Ardern, who announced the new lockdown measures on Sunday as health officials investigated the new outbreak, told RNZ National on Monday that they would be right to take such precautionary measures as she confirmed that these were indeed cases of the more contagious variant.
“However, we also know that because of this sequencing, we have not been able to link it to other cases we received through our managed isolation facilities, so it is unlikely to be a shape.” Problem with our managed isolation “, Ms. Ardern told the radio network.
Ms. Ardern said health officials are still trying to find the source of the infection and are working on two main issues. All three cases belong to the same family.
One possibility is that the virus entered New Zealand with a transit passenger and another is that it came from an international occupation. In some cases, these crews have their uniforms cleaned at the location where one of the people who tested positive for the virus works.
However, Ms. Ardern added that there had been no reported case so far where the transfer of laundry occurred.
“The most likely scenario is always person to person [transmission] … but even with these less likely possibilities, we don’t rule them out, we try to examine every possible option, ”she said.
The lockdown is New Zealand’s first in six months and represents a significant setback to the country’s largely successful efforts to fight the virus.
“We have already eradicated the virus once and will do it again,” said Ms. Ardern on Sunday at a press conference in the capital Wellington.
New Zealand had closed its international borders and put strict social distancing rules in place at the start of the pandemic, drastically reducing the spread of the infection. With a population of 5 million, the country has reported a total of 2,330 cases and 25 deaths since the pandemic began.