Auckland, New Zealand:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern prolonged a lockdown in New Zealand’s largest metropolis Friday, giving well being authorities extra time to hint and comprise a pressure of coronavirus beforehand unseen within the nation.
Ardern mentioned stay-at-home orders would stay in pressure throughout Auckland till August 26 in a bid to forestall a thriller outbreak from turning into a fully-blown second wave.
Genomic exams indicated the most recent infections weren’t the identical pressure of coronavirus recorded in New Zealand earlier this yr.
“This implies it is not a case of the virus being dormant, or of burning embers in our group, it seems to be new to New Zealand,” Ardern mentioned.
She added that exams had been additionally unable to hyperlink the outbreak to any circumstances amongst quarantined travellers from abroad.
Since 4 individuals examined constructive on Tuesday — the primary circumstances of group transmission in 102 days — New Zealand has now detected a cluster of 30 virus circumstances.
Amid hypothesis that the virus may have been introduced in by way of freight, Ardern admitted the supply of the pressure could by no means be discovered.
However she mentioned it was probably the outbreak had been detected early and expressed hope that it may nonetheless be held again.
“We do not essentially must reply that query with a view to comprise and cope with this cluster successfully,” she mentioned.
Ardern praised the 1.5 million residents of New Zealand’s greatest metropolis as carrying a “heavy load” for the nation’s wellbeing.
“Lifting restrictions now and seeing a possible explosion in circumstances is the worst factor we’d do for Auckland and the New Zealand financial system,” she mentioned.
Well being Minister Chris Hipkins mentioned earlier that two circumstances had been detected outdoors Auckland regardless of the lockdown.
However he performed down fears that the failure to ring-fence infections meant the virus was destined to unfold countrywide.
“The circumstances to date are linked, they’re all a part of one Auckland-based cluster, that is good news,” he mentioned.
The prospect of recent wave of infections has rattled New Zealanders, who’ve come to treat the distant South Pacific nation as a transmission-free haven over the previous three months.
Wellington resident Barbara Pond described the scenario as “heartbreaking”.
“I am so sick of listening to about COVID,” she mentioned.
“We labored so arduous to eliminate it and now each time you flip round it is COVID, COVID, COVID.”
Nationwide well being director-general Ashley Bloomfield acknowledged emotions had been operating excessive however urged the general public to not take out their frustrations on frontline well being staff.
“We have had reviews of healthcare staff, who’re doing their greatest to supply testing for individuals, being verbally abused and even attacked,” he mentioned.
“That is fully unacceptable,” he added, declining to supply additional particulars.
New Zealand is following the identical technique that helped comprise the virus after a seven-week lockdown earlier this yr — isolating constructive circumstances, contact tracing and in depth testing.
Ardern mentioned swabs had been taken from 50,000 individuals prior to now two days.
The federal government is making testing necessary for frontline staff at ports and isolation services after reviews that almost all workers at Auckland airport had by no means been checked for the virus.
Hipkins denied the federal government had did not safe the border — considered the world most susceptible to COVID-19’s return — however conceded: “I might have favored extra exams (there) earlier.”
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)