ew Zealand has repeatedly been recognized for taking superior measures against the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, up until several days ago, the island country had gone 102 days COVID-19 free. It was just last week that streak came to an end when authorities found four cases of the coronavirus in one Auckland household. Several days later, 13 new cases in the community were announced, and one overseas arrival who was in quarantine, bringing the total number of active cases to 36.
What Caused the Outbreak?
New Zealand has been on strict lockdown since mid-March, so how did four cases appear at once, spiraling into over three dozen? It was deemed a possibility that the virus had arrived in New Zealand via freight, given one of the infected family members works in a cool store that takes imported frozen goods from overseas.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said “We are working flat out to do the contact-tracing we need to do and trace back to find out what the source of this infection is.”
What does the Outbreak mean for New Zealanders?
Well, the outbreak serves as a reminder of how tricky the virus is and how easily it can spread. Does this mean lockdown is back? New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved Auckland to Alert Level 3, meaning that people will be asked to stay at home, while bars and many other businesses will be closed.
The rest of the country will be raised to Level 2, meaning gatherings will be limited to 100 attendees and people would need to follow social distancing protocols.
Ardern noted that experience showed “things will get worse before they get better”, and more cases were likely to be reported in coming days. New Zealand has been praised globally for its virus response and though this definitely is a setback, it’s nothing that authorities aren’t prepared to handle.