New Zealand Records First COVID Community Case In Two Months
New Zealand has recorded its very first COVID community case in more than two months.
A 56-year-old woman has reportedly tested positive for the virus, after having been released from government-managed isolation at the Pullman Hotel.
The woman in question arrived in Auckland on December 30 after having travelled to Spain and the Netherlands for a period of four months. It’s understood that she received two negative Covid tests after having arrived from London.
As reported by The Guardian, the woman was released from the Pullman Hotel on January 13, and proceeded to travel around south Northland with her husband. She reportedy went on to visit up to 30 different locations, which included popular holiday spots, AirBnbs and shops.
Over the course of the past week, the woman started experiencing very mild symptoms, such as muscle aches. She returned two negative tests, and did not suspect that she had the virus until returning a positive test late on Saturday, January 23.
Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has reportedly stated that the woman and her husband are now self-isolating in their home south of Whangarei, stating that she hadn’t required any hospital care.
Four of the woman’s close contacts were being traced, and the 30 locations she had visited will reportedly be made public shortly.
Health officials have praised the woman’s ‘vigilance’ in regards to recording her movements on the coronavirus tracer app, while describing her behaviour in managed isolation as having been excellent.
Dr Bloomfield has said that the Department of Health was now treating this as a positive case, which was likely of the ‘transmissable variety’. This refers to a highly contagious strain of the virus that has been circulating in Brazil, South Africa and the UK.
As per The Guardian, 600 people were at the Pullman Hotel at the same time as the infected woman. They have now been contacted with this new information, as have the airlines she had travelled on.
Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s Covid-19 response minister, has stated that it was still too early to establish whether or not transmission had begun within the community, and has said that genome sequencing and contact tracing were now under way.
It is too early to speculate on what our [government] response should be. We don’t have the relevant information to make those decisions yet. There is absolutely no need for any panic buying or any of that kind of behaviour.
New Zealand’s last community case of coronavirus was in Auckland on November 18. This was swiftly addressed after central Auckland was put into lockdown for a number of days.
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