Coronavirus: New Zealand's extraordinary quarantine step as outbreak grows

New Zealand will put all positive cases of coronavirus in the country into hotel quarantine.

There are now 36 cases of the virus in New Zealand with 13 in Auckland alone.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday she expected that cluster to grow.

Ms Ardern added the cluster of cases was "serious but being dealt with in an urgent but calm and methodological way".

Police officers wearing protective masks talk to motorists at a checkpoint in the Bombay area of Auckland, New Zealand. The country recorded its first coronavirus community transmission cases for the first time in three months.
Police officers speak to drivers in the Bombay area of Auckland as the city goes into lockdown. Source: Getty Images

Health Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield told reporters on Thursday all cases of COVID-19 were “to be managed in a quarantine facility”.

He added it was a different approach to when most of the country was at restriction levels three and four.

“It shows how serious we are,” Dr Bloomfield said.

“This will apply to any cases and also close family members who might be at risk as appropriate.

“A reminder: these facilities have been set up specifically and have excellent processes and resources in place to look after people with COVID-19 including health staff on site at all times.”

Dr Bloomfield said it was hoped putting people into quarantine would stop the “inadvertent spread” of coronavirus into the community.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks with media.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the cluster would grow. Source: Getty Images

It’s not clear where this quarantine facility is but in the past New Zealand has used hotels just like Australia has.

Before the recently reported cases of COVID-19, the country had not reported any new community transmissions for three months.

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