New Zealand records seven new cases of coronavirus overnight

New Zealand is hit with seven new cases of coronavirus and Jetstar cancels all flights in the country as Jacinda Ardern’s crisis worsens

  •  New Zealand reported recording 7 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday  
  •  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended COVID-19 lockdown until Aug 26
  •  Auckland will stay in level 3 restrictions and the rest of the nation under level 2 
  •  There are at least 56 active cases in NZ with 37 infections within the community
  •  New Zealand spent 102 days virus-free but a family tested positive on Tuesday 

New Zealand has recorded seven new coronavirus cases overnight as the fallout from the emerging cluster continues to grow.  

Ministry of Health Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Health Minister Chris Hipkins announced the growing cases on Saturday morning.  

Jetstar has also cancelled all flights around the country and the former prime minister of the Cook Islands has been hospitalised with COVID-19. 

New Zealand (Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pictured) reported seven new coronavirus cases on Saturday morning and has recorded a total of 56 active cases of COVID-19 

Ms Ardern announced on Friday that New Zealand’s lockdown would be extended until August 26 after an explosion of coronavirus cases (coronavirus testing clinic in Auckland pictured) 

Jetstar (pictured) cancelled all flights in New Zealand following the lockdown announcement 

All seven new cases were spread within the community and bring the total number of active cases in New Zealand to 56.

Six cases are linked to the growing cluster in Auckland and one is under investigation. 

New Zealand has 37 cases that have been spread within the community and 19 travellers in hotel quarantine.  

At least 35 active cases have been linked to the Auckland cluster and it is ‘strongly believed’ an extra two cases are linked to the cluster.

At least 1,090 close contacts, linked to the cluster, have been identified and 934 have been contacted.

‘There’s no shame or blame in having either this virus or having any other infectious disease,’ Dr Bloomfield said. 

A record number of 23,846 tests were processed on Friday. 

Two cases that were confirmed in Tokoroa, 200km away from Auckland, on Friday have been transferred to a facility in Auckland and are in isolation.  

New Zealand was the envy of the world after going 102 days without recording a locally transmitted case of coronavirus.  

But on Tuesday the detection of four new infected family members shocked the country. 

The former prime minister of the Cook Islands, 82-year-old Dr Joseph Williams, was also hospitalised with COVID-19 on Friday.

It is not known if the doctor, prominent within the Auckland and Pacific community, has been in contact with someone from the original family. 

The former prime minister of the Cook Islands, Joseph Williams, was also hospitalised with COVID-19 on Friday (coronavirus testing in Victoria on Friday pictured above) 

His medical practice is near the Americold cool store, in south Auckland, where at least 13 workers have tested positive. 

Dr Bloomfield said the facility was undergoing environmental testing and an Americold facility in Victoria would also be tested to see if there was a linkage.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also extended the country’s lockdown until August 26 after the explosion of coronavirus cases.  

She announced that Auckland would stay in level 3 restrictions and the rest of the nation would remain on level 2 on Friday. 

Jetstar announced they would be suspending all flights in New Zealand from Tuesday until August 26 after Ms Ardern’s lockdown announcement.    

‘During this period travel restrictions will vary across the country and as a result, Jetstar has temporarily suspended all domestic flights from Tuesday 11.59.

‘If you have been impacted by flight cancellations, you will be contacted directly by Jetstar over the next 24 hours with your available options,’ a statement read. 

Ms Ardern announced that the lockdowns would be extended but said a move to level 4 was unnecessary. 

‘What is important is making sure we establish the perimeter of the cluster and to stop it from growing,’ the Prime Minister told reporters.  

At least 13 cases are linked to the Americold frozen storage facility (pictured), where a worker tested coronavirus positive after falling ill on July 31

The earliest known coronavirus case in the Auckland cluster was detected in a worker at the Americold Coolstore in Mt Wellington who became sick on July 31.

However this person maybe not be the earliest case as the chain of transmission has not been discovered.   

‘It will grow before it slows. And it may continue to be linked to schools, churches and social gatherings, as it has done to date,’ Ms Ardern said.  

All of the 13 new cases reported on Friday were connected to the existing Auckland cluster.  

Two of the new cases are linked to the Americold frozen storage facility, bringing the total number to 13. 

It is understood that the workplace has undergone testing for COVID-19 amid fears the virus survived on refrigerated freight sent from overseas and then spread to staff. 

Ms Ardern said Auckland would remain under stage 3 restrictions while the rest of New Zealand would be at level 2 restrictions (high school students in Wellington pictured on Friday)

Level 3 restrictions mean residents must only leave their homes for essential reasons like exercise, food shopping and providing care (a couple wearing masks pictured in Wellington)

It has prompted health authorities to probe whether the virus was spread on frozen food shipments.     

Anyone who has tested positive to the virus is required to quarantine in a managed facility. 

‘There is nothing to suggest we need to move to a level 4 lockdown,’ Ms Ardern said. 

‘Our intention is that Auckland and New Zealand will quickly move back down through alert levels if we continue on this track,’ Ms Ardern explained. 

Residents may only leave their homes for essential exercise, shopping and to provide care under the level 3 restrictions.  

 Ms Ardern said a move to level 4 restrictions was not necessary and the current measures would be reviewed on August 21 (shoppers pictured in Wellington on Friday) 

People should stay in their immediate household bubble and school and work should be conducted from home where possible. 

Businesses are only open for takeaway and public venues like libraries and gyms are closed. 

Level 2 restrictions allow New Zealanders to gather up to a limit of 100 people and they are encouraged to socially distance at all times.   

Businesses may be open to the public provided they keep a record of customer details and maintain physical distancing. 

New Zealanders are encouraged to wear a face mask as a precaution.  

The lockdown measures are set to remain until 11.59pm on August 26.  

‘We will review these settings on August 21, we want to give about a week’s time to see how we are travelling before we review again,’ Ms Ardern said.  

New Zealand was unexpectedly back into lockdown after 102 days without recording a locally transmitted case of the virus (A child receiving coronavirus testing pictured above)

Source: Read Full Article