New Zealand no longer COVID-19 free after identifying multiple new cases

NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN

NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN

Breaking the 24-day streak of no cases of coronavirus, New Zealand has recorded two new COVID-19 cases from returning overseas travellers.

It's understood that both of the individuals involved had recently travelled back to New Zealand from the United Kingdom and are connected.

During a press conference, the director general of health said said that the two new cases were women aged in their 30s and 40s who visited a dying parent in Wellington.

The two women had been in a managed isolation hotel in Auckland since arriving in the country. They were given special permission to attend the funeral of a parent, the Health Ministry said in a statement. That dispensation was granted.

The Novotel Auckland in Ellerslie, where two women who have now tested positive for Covid-19 were held in managed isolation.

Bloomfield said clearly the ministry team and staff and many people working across the health system and are very committed to keeping New Zealanders safe.

"I have instructed that no one is to leave the managed isolated hotels unless they have been tested", Bloomfield said. Australian authorities have been contacted to trace any contacts in Brisbane.

He said they were allowed to travel to Wellington in a private vehicle kast Saturday.

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New Zealand recently entered Alert Level 1 of its COVID-19 Alert System on June 9, which permits all residents to return to work, school, sports, and domestic travel and allows social gatherings to have no limit on the number of people involved.

"We know there are people continuing to come to New Zealand from countries where there is active community spread of COVID-19".

Fans during the round 1 Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Blues and the Hurricanes at Eden Park on June 14, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. There have been 157,229 new American cases and 4,953 new deaths in the last seven days alone, according to NBC News.

That appears to have been honoured more in the breach.

ASHLEY BLOOMFIELD: We have had two cases.

"We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort".

As of Tuesday, New Zealand had passed more than three weeks without any new cases and had stated that everyone who had contracted the virus had recovered, apart from the 22 people who died. But Ardern stressed that they're still optimistic about being able to control the virus through proper testing and tracing.

The New Zealand Defense Force will now oversee the isolation of new arrivals and audit the quarantine process, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at a news briefing on Wednesday.

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