Origin of the circumstances, involving the identical household, continues to be being traced as Auckland begins three-day lockdown.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mentioned on Monday that genomic sequencing of two latest COVID-19 circumstances that prompted a lockdown in Auckland, the nation’s largest metropolis, confirmed they had been the variant B117, a extra transmissible variant first detected within the UK final yr
It is the primary time the variant has been present in New Zealand.
“We were absolutely right to make the decision to be extra cautious because we assumed it was going to be one of the more transmissible variants,” Ardern mentioned in a Facebook Live submit on Monday.
There had been no outcomes but from the sequencing of a 3rd case linked to the Auckland cluster, all members of the identical household, the well being ministry mentioned.
“This result reinforces the decision to take swift and robust action around the latest cases to detect and stamp out the possibility of any further transmission,” the ministry mentioned.
Ardern ordered a three-day lockdown in Auckland following the invention of the brand new cluster, closing public venues and banning all gatherings exterior properties, apart from weddings and funerals the place as many as 10 individuals are allowed. Schools will stay open for youngsters of important employees however others had been requested to remain at home.
The nation has been broadly praised for its dealing with of the pandemic, reporting 25 deaths in a inhabitants of 5 million for the reason that pandemic started a yr in the past.
The supply of the newest circumstances continues to be being investigated.
Health officers mentioned a mom – who works for an organization offering laundry and catering companies to worldwide flights – and her daughter examined optimistic on Saturday, earlier than the daddy returned a optimistic pattern on Sunday.
New Zealand Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield mentioned the preliminary focus was on the mom’s office “because of its obvious connections to the border”.
But he added it was “too soon to rule in or out” any supply of transmission and the girl had not been at work for eight days earlier than testing optimistic.
Auckland, home to 2 million individuals, spent greater than two weeks in lockdown final August after a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a employee dealing with imported frozen freight however restrictions have been relaxed for months.
In January, New Zealand reported its first case in the neighborhood in months, which turned out to be the variant found in South Africa.
The newest circumstances prompted Australia to droop quarantine-free travel with its neighbour.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Paul Kelly convened an pressing assembly late on Sunday and it was determined that each one flights originating in New Zealand can be categorized as “Red Zone” flights for an preliminary interval of 72 hours from Monday.
“As a result of this, all people arriving on such flights originating within this three-day period will need to go into 14 days of supervised hotel quarantine,” Australia’s Department of Health mentioned on its web site.
The travel bubble was arrange in order that New Zealanders may get to Australia with no need to spend 14 days in a resort, though quarantine was obligatory for individuals travelling within the different route.