New Zealand’s Covid-19 cases that put Auckland in lockdown confirmed to be UK variant

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People get tested for Covid-19 at a busy testing station in Otara Town Centre on February 15, in Auckland, New Zealand. 
People get tested for Covid-19 at a busy testing station in Otara Town Centre on February 15, in Auckland, New Zealand.  Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Two of the three new Covid-19 cases that sent the New Zealand city of Auckland into lockdown are confirmed to be variant of the virus first detected in the UK.

The three local Covid-19 cases announced on Sunday are a mother, father and daughter from the same South Auckland household, Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said Sunday at a news conference. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said one of the trio works in a facility that does the laundry for airlines.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told CNN authorities believe the individual’s employment may be “the connection” to the virus.

Those cases prompted authorities to enact a three-day lockdown for all of Auckland, a city of about 1.5 million people and the country’s biggest population center, starting Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

“We have been dealing with more transmissible versions, mutations of Covid-19. We are wanting to be very cautious. So that’s why we’ve taken this very cautious approach,” Ardern said. “What we want people to do is stay home. And so for the next 72 hours if you’re in Auckland, please stay home.”

Goff said New Zealand has found success containing the virus when authorities “go strongly and go early.”

“The government made the decision, consulting with us in Auckland, that we should respond in the same way this time,” he said. “So after a beautiful weekend of watching the America’s Cup yacht races, and people enjoying the sunshine and the beaches and the parks and at the festivals, suddenly we’re in a 72-hour lockdown.”

Goff said 6,000 to 7,000 people will now be tested for the virus, and if those tests come back clean, authorities may be able to lift the new stringent measures.

No new cases were reported Monday, the country’s Ministry of Health said in a statement



edition.cnn.com 2021-02-15 11:24:48

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