On Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduced that Auckland — town of round 1.5 million folks on the heart of the brand new outbreak — will stay beneath a stage three lockdown for one more 12 days, whereas the remainder of the nation stays beneath stage two restrictions, that means gatherings are restricted to not more than 100 folks. The foundations lengthen restrictions that got here into impact earlier this week.
Underneath stage three restrictions, folks shall be advised to remain house apart for important private motion, colleges will function at restricted capability, and public venues such as museums, playgrounds and gymnasiums will stay shut.
The fresh outbreak is a blow for New Zealand. The nation already spent 5 weeks beneath one of many world’s strictest lockdowns, which closed most companies and colleges, and noticed folks keep at house.
Ardern has warned she expects to see extra instances.
“Lifting restrictions now and seeing an explosion of instances is the worst factor we may do for Auckland and for the New Zealand economic system,” she mentioned. “We’ve got removed Covid earlier than … We will do all of that once more.”
In a press convention Friday, Bloomfield mentioned that 771 shut contacts of the confirmed instances had been recognized, and greater than 15,700 checks had been processed on Thursday — the very best variety of checks processed in a single day in the nation.
For the reason that begin of the outbreak, New Zealand has performed greater than 500,000 checks. It has reported a complete of 1,251 coronavirus instances, together with 22 deaths.
What brought about the outbreak?
There’s nonetheless a serious, unanswered query: How did this outbreak occur?
Up to now, authorities have not discovered a match between the genome concerned in this newest outbreak and any instances in managed isolation services. Bloomfield mentioned the brand new instances most intently resemble the genome patterns from the UK and Australia.
Bloomfield thinks the outbreak may have come in via the isolation services quite than being in current for months in New Zealand.
“I believe there’s excellent proof to recommend that it hasn’t been lurking in the neighborhood,” he mentioned. Ardern mentioned Friday that the pressure in the brand new outbreak shouldn’t be the identical as one which beforehand existed in New Zealand.
Authorities are additionally testing samples from surfaces at Americold, an American temperature-controlled warehouse firm the place one of many unique 4 to check constructive labored. A variety of instances have been linked to the corporate.
However Ardern mentioned that, for now, authorities didn’t know the way the outbreak occurred.
“We don’t essentially must reply that query to cope with this cluster successfully,” she mentioned.
How New Zealand compares
New Zealand’s fresh outbreak has drawn parallels with Australia and Hong Kong — each locations that imposed strict border measures after they had low an infection numbers and appeared to have the virus beneath management, solely to expertise a reemergence of the virus.
On Thursday, Ardern famous that New Zealand had imposed restrictions inside 24 hours of the primary new neighborhood coronavirus instances — a response which she mentioned was sooner than in Hong Kong or Victoria.
“The tempo and velocity must also act as an additional layer of reassurance,” she mentioned Thursday, earlier than reiterating the mantra she has been saying for the reason that begin of the outbreak: “Going laborious and early remains to be the most effective plan of action.”
CNN’s Isaac Yee contributed to this story.