New Zealand records 13 new coronavirus cases, says new outbreak not linked to freight or frozen food

New Zealand reported 13 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday.

Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison have had a 'constructive' phone call regarding a woman detained in Turkey.

Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison have had a 'constructive' phone call regarding a woman detained in Turkey. Source: Getty

New Zealand on Tuesday ruled out the possibility that a coronavirus outbreak in its biggest city of Auckland came from frozen food items or freight, as it reported 13 new cases.

Investigations suggested the virus had not come through chilled services or material arriving from overseas at an Americold cold-storage facility in Auckland where one of the recently infected individuals worked, health officials said.

“Seems clear now that the possibility is being ruled out from that investigation,” Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told reporters.

The origin of the latest outbreak is still unknown, and transmission through the environment in the cold storage was one theory being considered.

New Zealand has fared far better than most countries during the pandemic, but an abrupt resurgence of COVID-19 last week in Auckland prompted the government to extend a lockdown for the city’s 1.7 million residents until 26 August, while social distancing rules are in place in other towns and cities.

An additional 13 cases were reported in the community on Tuesday, taking the total number of active cases to 90, of which 69 were linked to the outbreak in Auckland.

New Zealand’s total number of coronavirus infections now stands at 1,293, with 22 deaths.

New Zealanders celebrated when the country passed 100 days without any community transmission earlier this month.

With an election due in mid-October, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is keen to remind voters of her government’s track record on fighting the virus.

“Every other single country in the world has experienced a resurgence. We went longer than many, our outbreak is certainly not as significant as what we are seeing in Vietnam, in Hong Kong, in South Korea or in Australia,” she told state broadcaster TVNZ.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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Published 18 August 2020 at 11:40am, updated 18 August 2020 at 2:08pm
Source: Reuters - SBS