New Zealand confirms two NEW cases of coronavirus

Two travellers from the UK take coronavirus back into New Zealand on trip to visit dying parent after the country’s 24 days with no infections

  • Two new COVID-19 cases end New Zealand’s 24 day streak of no new infections
  • Both had recently returned from trips to the UK, which has a high infection rate
  • Jacinda Ardern had recently announced her country had eradicated the virus 
  • The country’s lockdown restrictions have completely lifted but borders are shut
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

New Zealand’s 24-day streak without a new coronavirus case is over after two women who arrived from Britain tested positive for the disease. 

The two women landed in New Zealand on June 7 and were allowed to leave quarantine under strict health conditions to visit a dying parent, officials said.  

They tested positive a week after New Zealand scrapped almost all its lockdown restrictions and PM Jacinda Ardern said the country had ‘eliminated transmission of the virus’.   

Passengers on their connecting flight from Brisbane and staff at their ‘managed isolation hotel’ are now being traced as officials try to prevent a new outbreak.  

Jacina Ardern (pictured, centre) speaks to the media on June 10, with New Zealand now reporting its first two cases of coronavirus for 24 days

The two women, one in her 30s and one in her 40s, stayed in a ‘managed isolation hotel’ in Auckland after they landed but were given permission to drive to Wellington on June 13. 

New Zealand’s director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said they ‘had no contact with anyone else during that trip’ and ‘didn’t use any public facilities’. 

One of the two women was showing mild coronavirus symptoms, while another was symptom-free. They are now self-isolating in Wellington and are not in hospital. 

Another family member they met is now being tested, while others potentially at risk include their fellow air passengers and staff at the isolation facility.  

Officials are also set to watch CCTV footage of the two women’s arrival at Auckland Airport to see if any border staff need to be isolated.

Australian health authorities are also on alert after the passengers flew from the UK to Brisbane via Qatar before connecting to New Zealand.   

‘A new case is something we hoped we wouldn’t get but is also something we have expected and planned for,’ Bloomfield said. 

‘That’s why we have geared up our contact tracing and testing capability to be able to respond rapidly.

‘We know there are people continuing to come to New Zealand from countries where there is active community spread of COVID-19. This is managed through our requirement for two weeks in isolation at the border.’    

The two infections – the first newly identified cases since May 22 – stake New Zealand’s total to 1,506. There have been 22 deaths.  

Officials ended the country’s strict coronavirus lockdown rules from midnight on June 8, after the country recorded zero active cases. 

 Ms Ardern said the country had ‘united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus’. 

On June 8, health authorities reported the country’s only case had recovered, meaning there are no active cases of COVID-19 across the country.

Protesters are seen in Wellington on June 14 (pictured), when there were no active coronavirus cases in the country

The final patient, a woman in her 50s, recorded no symptoms for 48 hours, before being announced as recovered at St Margaret’s Hospital and Rest Home in Auckland.

Ms Ardern said the sacrifices made by New Zealanders, including a drastic seven-week lockdown that helped curb infection rates, had been rewarded.

Asked about her reaction upon hearing the news, she replied: ‘I did a little dance’ with baby daughter Neve.

‘She was caught a little by surprise but she joined in, having absolutely no idea why I was dancing around the lounge.’

The country has since moved to alert level 1.

Art galleries are open across New Zealand (pictured, Te Papa in Wellington on March 28) after coronavirus restrictions were lifted

A woman is seen heading to work on June 9 (pictured) in Wellington as New Zealand returned to normality

People eat at a restaurant in Auckland (pictured on May 16) after coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased

The move allowed weddings, funerals, hospitality and public transport to resume without any restrictions.

New Zealand’s borders have remained shut, after closing on March 19.

The country was forced into a strict four-week lockdown in March to slow the spread of the deadly virus.  

The government implemented a four-tier alert system where restrictions were slowly eased as the infection rate began to slow. 

The first stage of the lockdown kept Kiwis inside their houses, except for trips for health reasons or the supermarket.

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern (pictured), had previously announced there were no active cases of coronavirus left in the country

A nurse dons PPE while testing a person for COVID-19 at a drive through testing centre (pictured in Auckland on April 2)

New Zealand COVID-19 alert levels:

Level 1: Prepare

Border entry measures to minimise risk of importing COVID-19 cases.

Intensive testing for COVID-19.

Rapid contact tracing of any positive case.

Self-isolation and quarantine required.

Schools and workplaces open, and must operate safely.

Physical distancing encouraged.

No restrictions on gatherings.

Stay home if you’re sick, report flu-like symptoms.

Wash and dry your hands, cough into your elbow, don’t touch your face.

No restrictions on domestic transport – avoid public transport or travel if you’re sick.

Level 3: Restrict

People instructed to stay home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement – including to go to work, school if they have to or for local recreation.

Physical distancing of two metres outside home (including on public transport), or one metre in controlled environments like schools and workplaces.

Bubbles must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to reconnect with close family/whānau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. This extended bubble should remain exclusive.

Schools (years 1 to 10) and Early Childhood Education centres can safely open, but will have limited capacity. Children should learn at home if possible.

People must work from home unless that is not possible.

Businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers.

Low risk local recreation activities are allowed.

Public venues are closed, eg. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets.

Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed but only for wedding services and funerals. Physical distancing and public health measures must be maintained.

Healthcare services use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.

Inter-regional travel is highly limited, eg. for essential workers, with limited exemptions for others.

People at high risk of severe illness (older people and those with existing medical conditions) are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home. They may choose to work.

 

 

Level 2: Reduce

Physical distancing of 1 metre outside home (including on public transport).

Gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors allowed while maintaining physical distancing and contact tracing requirements.

Sport and recreation activities are allowed if conditions on gatherings are met, physical distancing is followed and travel is local.

Public venues can open but must comply with conditions on gatherings, and undertake public health measures.

Health services operate as normally as possible.

Most businesses open, and business premises can be open for staff and customers with appropriate measures in place. Alternative ways of working encouraged, eg remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing, staggering meal breaks, flexible leave.

Schools and Early Childhood Education centres open, with distance learning available for those unable to attend school eg self-isolating.

People advised to avoid non-essential inter-regional travel.

People at high risk of severe illness (older people and those with existing medical conditions) are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home. They may choose to work.

Level 4: Eliminate

People instructed to stay at home (in their bubble) other than for essential personal movement.

Safe recreational activity is allowed in local area.

Travel is severely limited.

All gatherings cancelled and all public venues closed.

Businesses closed except for essential services (eg supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, petrol stations) and lifeline utilities.

Educational facilities closed.

Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities possible.

Reprioritisation of healthcare services.

 

 Source: NZ Government

 

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