Coronavirus: New Zealand family visited 'popular tourist spot' while infected

·3-min read

Members of a New Zealand family who mysteriously contracted the coronavirus after the country eliminated cases for 102 days went on a weekend trip while infected.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has imposed a new lockdown after four people from the same family tested positive on Tuesday.

The director-general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, told reporters on Wednesday a woman in her 20s and a child, travelled from Auckland to Rotorua on the North Island on Saturday while symptomatic.

“We are working with urgency to find out what places the family may have visited while in Rotorua over the weekend,” he said.

Pictured are two people walking across a footbridge in a Rotorua forest.
The family visited the popular tourist destination of Rotorua while infected. Source: Getty

Dr Bloomfield added Rotorua was a “popular tourist destination” and urged people to be vigilant.

“We fully expect that people were on alert level one with freedom of movement and people moving around the country that should we get a case it would be a nation-wide response,” he said.

Dr Bloomfield added the family was in isolation and cooperating fully.

How the family contracted the virus is a mystery, but the “index case” has been identified as a person in their 50s who had been symptomatic for five days and had no overseas travel history.

Doctor’s dig at Victoria’s virus response

Despite numbers still being low in New Zealand with four new cases reported, the country acted fast to limit it spreading any further.

After the cases were detected, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, would head into lockdown on Wednesday until Friday.

Aucklanders will be required to stay home unless they are conducting essential work or essential personal movement – such as supermarket shopping, health care or exercise.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses reporters at the post-cabinet media conference at Parliament, in Wellington.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has again announced restrictions for Auckland. Source: AP

Dr Bloomfield is also encouraging people in Auckland to wear masks while out in the community for one of the essential reasons.

Ms Ardern added the government would release five million masks and said they are compulsory for people on flights leaving Auckland.

Dr Bloomfield told reporters swift action to combat the virus was vital.

“We have seen in other countries, and jurisdictions, like in Victoria, in Hong Kong and Vietnam, where a resurgence occurs that it is incredibly important to act early,” he said.

“The alert level that we are implementing here in New Zealand was not implemented in Victoria until some weeks after their first cases reappeared in the community. That is why we are responding strongly and quickly.

“We have systems in place to stamp it out. We have done it before and can do it again.”

On Wednesday, Victoria is expected to announce 410 new coronavirus cases and 21 deaths, making it the state’s deadliest day since the pandemic began.

With AAP

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