New Zealand detects first Covid-19 case in over two months

Sydney, Australia, Jan 24 (efe-epa).- New Zealand has detected its first community coronavirus case since November, authorities said Sunday.

“We do not yet know the origin or the strain of the infection. It is important not to speculate on that until we have that information,” the Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at a press conference.

The minister said the patient is a 56-year-old woman who tested positive for the new coronavirus after returning to New Zealand from Europe and spending a 14-day quarantine in a hotel in Auckland, in the north of the country, where she had tested negative in two previous tests.

Hipkins indicated that all necessary measures were being taken to stem the spread and trace the woman’s contacts, adding that more details of the case will be known in the coming days.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, the patient was in Spain and Holland for work and traveled via London and Singapore to Auckland, where she arrived on December 30.

“We are working on the assumption this (…) is a more transmissible variant,” Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

During the quarantine, she tested negative for Covid-19 twice on January 2 and 10 and was released on January 13.

After showing mild symptoms two days after which later worsened, she got tested again on January 22, receiving a positive result on Saturday evening. She is self-isolating at home, where she lives with another symptom-free person.

New Zealand, which last detected a community infection on November 18, has acted forcefully since the beginning of the pandemic, which has seen it keep accumulated cases at about 2,280, with just 25 deaths.

The authorities have announced that they will vaccinate its more than 5 million inhabitants in the second quarter of this year after acquiring more than 18 million doses of vaccine, including 10.72 million from Novavax, 7.6 million from AstraZeneca, 5 million from Janssen and 750,000 from Pfizer-BioNTech. EFE-EPA

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