Source of New Zealand Covid Outbreak Has Been Found, Says Ardern

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reported positive developments in efforts to contain the country’s Covid-19 outbreak, saying officials are confident they have discovered how the delta strain of the virus entered the country. 

Current positive cases are a close match to a recent returnee from Sydney who arrived on Aug. 7, Ardern told a press briefing Thursday in Wellington. This was a “significant development,” she said.

“It means now we can be fairly certain how and when the virus entered the country, and that based on timelines there are minimal -- possibly only one or maybe two -- missing links between this returnee and cases in our current outbreak, and the period in which cases were in the community is relatively short,” Ardern said.

Ardern put the country into a three-day nationwide lockdown this week after just one positive case was found in the community. Auckland and the nearby Coromandel region that the positive case visited were placed into lockdown for seven days. Case numbers have now grown to 21, will 11 new infections reported Thursday.

Still, Ardern’s upbeat news today suggests authorities are hopeful of getting on top of the outbreak. The government will give an update on the duration of the lockdown on Friday, Ardern said.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said waste-water testing had returned positive results for three areas in Auckland, but results from tests taken around the rest of the country were all negative.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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