Cook Islands closes border over re-emergence of Covid-19 in NZ

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2020

The lockdown in Auckland and the restrictions across the country will remain for another 12 days, taking the Level 3 lockdown for the city to two full weeks.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is scheduled to announce later whether a three-day lockdown in Auckland would be extended past Friday, which seemed likely given the increase in cases.

New Zealand's mysterious COVID-19 outbreak stands at 37 cases as of Saturday, the Guardian reports.

"We don't necessarily need to answer that question in order to contain and deal with this cluster effectively", she said. "We can do that again". New Zealand's food safety authority said Thursday that the risk of transmission via food or packaging is "negligible".

"This may not yet be the origin of the outbreak, but on the information we have today, it's the earliest sign of the reemergence of the virus", she said. Officials said they thought the chances were low the virus would spread further in Tokoroa.

The earliest case officials have identified to date is a worker at an Auckland-based cold store owned by US-based Americold Realty Trust, who became ill around July 31.

And 54 people who were linked to the cluster were moved into a quarantine facility, including 24 people who have tested positive.

The current Level 3 restrictions in Auckland requiring people to mostly remain at home, and level 2 restrictions for the rest of the country, are not as severe as the five-week level 4 shutdown she imposed earlier in the year.

"I would characterize our approach as a "short but precautionary hold" in an ongoing investigation that will stamp out the virus", she said of the current measures, which will last a total of 14 days, the known incubation period for the virus.

The opposition National Party would like it delayed, they said, in the hope that Ardern loses some of her lustre once hardships caused by the lockdown begin to bite.

Ms Ardern said yesterday that she would make a decision in the next 48 hours.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to decide by Monday whether a general election will go ahead on 19 September, with most analysts expecting her to resist opposition calls for a delay due to a flare up in coronavirus infections.

Auckland has returned to lockdown and social distancing measures have been reimposed across other parts of the country.

New Zealand health authorities have been in contact with their counterparts in Victoria, he said, and genome sequencing was underway "to see if there is any possible linkage there".

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