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New Zealand no longer virus free after two new cases come from Britain

Published on 16/06/20 at 11:38am
Photo by Tākuta

New Zealand has reported its first new case of coronavirus after two COVID-19 positive women arrived in the country from Britain.

The women were allowed into the country to visit a dying parent, with one experiencing symptoms before travelling but believing it was due to an existing medical condition. They had arrived in Auckland on a flight from the UK via Brisbane, Australia, on 7 June. All new arrivals are required to spend two weeks in managed isolation at a hotel.

The pair were released from government quarantine and permitted to drive from Auckland to Wellington before being tested and diagnosed. However, Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s Director-General of Health, said that the women had done everything right and had not put other members of the public at risk.

The government have now suspended its policy of granting compassionate exemptions to its quarantine rules, with David Clark, the Health Minister, said “it will only be reinstated once the government has confidence in the system.”

All those on the women’s Air New Zealand flight to Brisbane and guests at their hotel in Auckland, are to be tested and put in isolation.

Overall the country has recorded less than 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 22 deaths, in a population of 4.86 million, due to a strict and early national lockdown which has led to widespread praise for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership.

Conor Kavanagh

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