New Zealand reports third coronavirus case
WELLINGTON (NEW ZEALAND) – New Zealand recorded its third new case of the coronavirus this week on Thursday as quarantine breaches and other failures shook public confidence days after it declared itself to be among the first countries in the world to be COVID-19 free.
The new case is a man in his 60s who flew in from Lahore in Pakistan, via Doha and Melbourne on June 11, and is in quarantine.
This comes after two women who had arrived from Britain and were allowed to leave quarantine early on compassionate grounds tested positive.
The government has been forced to explain why the two women were let out without proper testing, and questions were raised about whether quarantine facilities are being properly managed.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday sought the help of the military to oversee the facilities and to manage border defences.
“I know the case of these two women will have upset people … I am certainly upset by it,” Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a press briefing on Thursday.
“I apologise that we ended up in this position,” he said.
New Zealand’s border is closed to all except returning citizens though some exceptions have been made for business and compassionate reasons. Everyone has to go into quarantine.
The government has suspended all exemptions to quarantine rules and said no one is to leave the isolated hotels where people are kept unless they have been tested.
Contact tracing has begun for hundreds of people who may have come into contact with the three new cases.
Only last week, New Zealand announced its achievement of becoming one of the first countries to eliminate the novel coronavirus and return to normal life.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field