New Zealand reports three new COVID-19 local cases, first since Jan

Henrietta Brewer
February 15, 2021

Auckland spent more than two weeks in lockdown last August after a virus outbreak was linked to a worker handling imported frozen freight, but New Zealand has largely been enjoying relaxed restrictions for months.

The Ministry of Health is reporting no new COVID cases in the community today. By closing its global borders early the island nation virtually eradicated the virus in the early stage of the pandemic.

On Monday morning, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was not clear how the Auckland residents contracted the United Kingdom strain of COVID 19.

However, Australia's expert medical panel decided late on Sunday night to change the system.

It's worth mentioning that New Zealand will begin vaccinating five million people to tame the covid infections starting from February 20.

The Ministry said contact tracing had identified 10 close contacts outside the household.

Australia has temporarily suspended its one-way travel bubble from New Zealand for a second time following Auckland's new snap lockdown.

Following the announcement that Auckland will go into an Alert Level 3 lockdown from midnight tonight (2359hrs Sunday February 14), America's Cup Events Ltd has declared that the America's Cup Regatta, the Prada Cup and the Event will shut down for three days.

'There is a number of gaps in our knowledge around these cases, ' he said.

The infections were found in three members of a household - a father, mother and their daughter who goes to high school.

The school is undergoing deep cleaning and will be closed on Monday and Tuesday as a precaution, with a testing facility to be set up on the campus.

Another family member from their household is now undergoing testing. The mother reportedly works for an airline catering provider, but it is unclear how they got infected.

Another case of coronavirus was recorded on Sunday in managed isolation, bringing the daily total to four.

Manukau ward councillor Alf Filipaina has urged members of the community to come forward for testing.

The UK varient that the family have is "highly transmissible and a fast-moving chain" which requires fast action, said Ardern.

'I'm saying to people, get tested, it has to be.

The remainder of the country was placed on alert level two, with people required to wear masks on public transport and gatherings limited to a maximum of 100 people.

Director-General of Health, Doctor Ashley Bloomfield says he understands that people will be concerned especially around that school community, however, he wants to reassure them that they are taking this approach out of an abundance of caution.

"We are anticipating high demand at our COVID-19 testing sites and delays are possible, so our request is to please be patient".

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