New Zealand records first local Covid-19 cases in 102 days

Sydney, Australia, Aug 11 (efe-epa).- New Zealand recorded its first locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in 102 days, after four people of the same family – including a minor – in Auckland were found to be infected, the prime minister announced Tuesday.

“After 102 days, we have our first cases of Covid-19 outside of managed isolation or quarantine facilities. While we have all worked incredibly hard to prevent this scenario, we have also planned and prepared for it,” said Jacinta Ardern in a public announcement.

Ardern added that the source of the recent infections remained unknown, given that the new patients did not have a travel history or were in direct contact with any other coronavirus patients.

“We are asking people in Auckland to stay home and stop the spread,” who has imposed fresh containment measures in the city, implying that no more than 10 people can gather at a place, besides the closure of schools and mandatory use of masks in places where social distance cannot be maintained.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff admitted that although no one wanted the measures for confinement to return, they always knew it was a real possibility.

Towards the end of March, the New Zealand government imposed one of the strictest quarantines in the world to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The measures were remarkably successful, allowing the country to practically return to normalcy from early June, considering that it had succeeded in eliminating the dreaded virus.

The announcement of the new infections comes amid an election campaign that kicked off Saturday for the general elections on Sep.17, where the management of the pandemic is expected to play a decisive role.

The prime minister, a clear favorite to renew her term, on Tuesday avoided responding to questions on whether the re-imposition of physical distancing measures in parts of the country would have an impact on election day.

Ardern, who heads a coalition government consisting of her Labour Party, New Zealand First party and Green Party, assumed office in October 2017.

She is expected to ride on her successful management of the Covid-19 crisis in her country, that involved the total closure of borders and strict lockdown measures. EFE-EPA


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