The next few days could be critical in New Zealand’s fight against its growing coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said on Thursday.
The minister announced five new COVID-19 cases during a press conference, all of which are related to the community cluster in Auckland.
Four are in the city, while one is related to the Tokoroa case.
It follows six new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
With 101 active cases just one week after the initial outbreak ruined the country’s 102 days of no community transmission, Mr Hipkins said the next few days could be "critical in breaking the back of this resurgence”.
He urged the 1.7 million people living in Auckland to continue to abide by the strict lockdown restrictions in place despite their “frustrations”.
"We need to be continuing to take the proper precautions," he said.
Mr Hipkins also revealed officials had ruled out the possibility the outbreak was triggered by infected packaging at Americold, where one of the family members at the centre of the new second wave works.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said “very low” levels of coronavirus were found on swabs taken at Americold facilities so it was likely “always” spread from person-to-person.
But they still don’t know how the first person got the virus in the first place.
"We haven't got any hints yet about what came before that,” Mr Bloomfield said.
Mr Hipkins said an investigation into the source is ongoing so they can determine if “there is a gap in the protocols”.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, New Zealand has reported just more than 1300 confirmed cases and 22 deaths.
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