Jacinda Ardern extends lockdown after rise in coronavirus cases in New Zealand

WION Web Team
Auckland, New Zealand Published: Aug 14, 2020, 02:16 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in New Zealand Photograph:( AFP )

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Genomic tests that were conducted established that the latest infections were not the same strain of coronavirus recorded in New Zealand earlier this year

After New Zealand reported 29 new cases of coronavirus, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended a lockdown in the capital city.

The Prime Minister, known for quick and effective reaction, has issued a stay-at-home order across Auckland till August 26 to contain the spread of noel coronavirus.

The cases were identified after New Zealand completed 100 days of being one of the rare countries to be completely coronavirus-free.

Also read| New Zealand: Concerns rise after fresh cluster causes hike in coronavirus cases

Ardern also believes the lockdown will help the experts trace, identify and contain the new cluster, from which all the 29 cases were identified.

Genomic tests that were conducted established that the latest infections were not the same strain of coronavirus recorded in New Zealand earlier this year. "This suggests it's not a case of the virus being dormant, or of burning embers in our community, it appears to be new to New Zealand," Ardern said.

When asked if the virus was brought in through a freight transport or not, Ardern hinted that there's a possiblity the cause of the outbreak may never be found. She also added, "We don't necessarily need to answer that question in order to contain and deal with this cluster effectively."

Also read: New Zealand considers freight as possible source of new coronavirus cluster

She has assured people that her administration is trying their best to become coronavirus-free again, but asked for support from the public as "Lifting restrictions now and seeing a potential explosion in cases is the worst thing we would do for Auckland and the New Zealand economy."

Meanwhile, Health Minister Chris Hipkins has claimed that all new cases have been linked to an Auckland cluster, and therefore can be contained easily. "The cases so far are connected, they are all part of one Auckland-based cluster, that's good news," he said.

Ardern said swabs had been taken from 50,000 people in the past two days. She has also made it compulsory for  the airport and port staff to go through testing after it was reported by some media reports that workers at the Auckland airport were not checked for the virus.

(With inputs from agencies)

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