Regardless of New Zealand’s earlier success in containing the virus, Nationwide well being chief mentioned well being authorities had anticipated a return.
A coronavirus cluster in Auckland has risen to 17 instances, New Zealand well being officers mentioned Wednesday, elevating the prospect of an prolonged lockdown within the nation’s greatest metropolis to battle the resurgent virus.
Nationwide well being chief Ashley Bloomfield mentioned there have been 13 new confirmed infections, all linked to 4 members of the family discovered on Tuesday, ending New Zealand’s report of 102 days with out group transmission of the illness.
Police have been serving to to implement a three-day lockdown in Auckland since noon Wednesday as groups of well being staff raced to search out the cluster’s origin and ramped up testing within the metropolis.
Bloomfield mentioned among the many new instances was a scholar at considered one of New Zealand’s largest excessive faculties, attended by greater than 3,000 youngsters.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mentioned extra instances linked to the latest spike have been anticipated.
“As all of us discovered with our first expertise with COVID, when you establish a cluster, it grows earlier than it slows,” she mentioned in a televised handle.
Ardern mentioned she was inspired by the truth that all of the instances up to now have been in a single cluster restricted to Auckland.
“You possibly can see the seriousness of the state of affairs,” she mentioned.
“Whereas it’s severe, it’s being handled in an pressing however calm and methodical method.”
Bloomfield mentioned authorities have been urgently exploring all potential routes of transmission.
“We need to learn how giant it’s as quickly as potential, so we have been testing all shut contacts, informal contacts, office, family-related,” he advised TVNZ.
“That is what we need to do as rapidly as potential to learn how in depth the outbreak is and who the primary case may need been.”
He mentioned any choice on extending the lockdown trusted what the investigations uncovered over the subsequent 24 hours.
“It is too early to say… we’ll have much more data tomorrow,” he mentioned.
He performed down one line of inquiry analyzing whether or not the virus was imported by way of freight, then picked up by a male member of the household, who labored in a cool room for imported items.
“It is a risk ― it is unlikely nevertheless it’s one thing we have to rule out,” Bloomfield mentioned, including that one other focus was whether or not the an infection got here from managed isolation amenities.
Regardless of New Zealand’s earlier success in containing the virus ― with simply 22 deaths in a inhabitants of 5 million ― Bloomfield mentioned well being authorities had all the time anticipated such a return, even it had taken some individuals abruptly.
“Sure we have been changing into complacent and that is why our message over the previous couple of weeks has been round avoiding that,” he mentioned.
“As you may recall, final week I used to be speaking about when ― not if.”