New Zealand records first COVID case outside of a quarantine facility in months
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 24/01/2021
New Zealand has reported its first case of COVID-19 outside of a quarantine facility in more than two months.
There was no immediate evidence the virus was spreading in the community but the development will concern health officials in the country, which has remained largely protected from coronavirus throughout the pandemic.
Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said a 56-year-old woman, who recently returned from Europe, had tested positive.
Like other returning travellers, she spent 14 days in quarantine and twice tested negative before returning home on 13 January but later developed symptoms.
Health officials are carrying out tests to find out which variant caused the infection, and are working in the expectation the case is a more transmissible form of the virus.
Mr Bloomfield added that they are investigating if it is possible she caught the disease in the quarantine facility itself.
There have been no cases of transmission of the virus in the wider community since 18 November.
Mr Bloomfield said authorities will be employing contact tracing and testing in order to make sure there has been no community spread.
“Health officials are currently investigating the case,” New Zealand’s health ministry said in a statement.
A tough lockdown and geographical isolation have helped New Zealand virtually eliminate the novel coronavirus within its borders.
On Sunday, there were eight new infections, all in travellers who were being quarantined after arriving at the border, bringing the total number being quarantined to 79, the ministry said.
© Sky News 2020