New Zealand Says Solved ‘Puzzle’ Of Covid Outbreak That Forced Lockdown

New Zealand announced a breakthrough Thursday in determining the origins of a Covid-19 outbreak that forced the country into lockdown, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stating that the discovery should help “stamp out” the virus.

Health authorities are investigating how an Auckland man caught the coronavirus this week, bringing the country’s six-month streak of no community infections to an end.

Tests revealed that the guy has a form of the Delta virus discovered in Australia, and Ardern stated that investigations limited the source to a person who arrived from Sydney on August 7.

New Zealand Says Solved 'Puzzle' Of Covid Outbreak That Forced Lockdown
New Zealand Says Solved ‘Puzzle’ Of Covid Outbreak That Forced Lockdown

She stated that the traveler had been quarantined and admitted to the hospital since landing landed, showing that the virus had not been present in the community for as long as first thought.

“We believe we have discovered the missing piece of the puzzle,” Ardern told reporters.

She said that identifying the outbreak’s origins enhanced the “capacity to circle the virus, contain it, and eradicate it.”

Overnight, the number of cases increased by 11, reaching a total of 21, she said.

Ardern imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown – New Zealand’s first in 15 months – on Tuesday, with restrictions in place for a week in Auckland and surrounding Coromandel.

“We’re fully prepared for cases to deteriorate before they improve, which has historically been the case with these epidemics,” she added.

However, she expressed cautious hope “since we assume it was not here for a lengthy period of time before it was discovered.”

The infected passenger traveled from Sydney on a so-called “red zone” aircraft planned to reintroduce New Zealanders who had been stranded following Wellington’s suspension of a trans-Tasman travel bubble because of numerous outbreaks in Australia.

Two days later, the individual tested positive and was hospitalized for a week.

Officials stated that it was still unknown how the virus entered the population and that 1,000 close contacts of positive individuals were being evaluated.

A decision on whether to prolong or terminate the three-day lockdown is due Friday.

‘Strategy of covid zero’

New Zealand has pursued an elimination strategy rather than a containment strategy, which has resulted in just 26 deaths in a population of five million.

Australia’s neighbor has been pursuing a similar “Covid zero” policy but has struggled to suppress Delta variant infections.

Health officials requested widespread Covid testing on Thursday for an entire Outback community in far western New South Wales, where an outbreak that began in Sydney two months ago is spreading.

The region is battling Australia’s first serious epidemic in Aboriginal communities, with expert military health personnel being sent this week to bolster slow vaccination efforts.

During the early stages of the pandemic, Wilcannia’s about 750 people posted posters on the town’s boundaries pleading with tourists not to stop, fearful that the virus would annihilate an already fragile community where more than 60% identify as Indigenous.

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