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New Zealand reports first Covid-19 case in community for two months

Woman, 56, and four close contacts are in isolation

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. Getty Images
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. Getty Images

New Zealand reported its first case of the coronavirus in the community in two months.

A woman, 56, became ill days after leaving a quarantine centre in Auckland this month and tested positive for Covid-19, director general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said on Sunday in Wellington.

The woman lives in Northland at the top of New Zealand’s North Island.

She and four close contacts are now in isolation as officials carry out contact tracing and genome sequencing.

It is New Zealand’s first case of coronavirus since November.

While cases are regularly caught in people returning from overseas, the country has successfully eliminated local outbreaks and there are no restrictions on social gatherings, sporting events or domestic travel.

The woman, who returned from Europe, completed the mandatory two weeks in managed isolation and returned a negative test before leaving.

Officials do not know how she was infected or whether it is the more virulent strain that originated in the UK.

While the Health Ministry is awaiting results of a further test to confirm the infection, “we are working on the assumption that this is a positive case and that it is a more transmissible variant", Dr Bloomfield said.

“We are casting the net wide to ensure that we contain any potential community transmission. This is precautionary but vital.”

New Zealand has 79 active cases in isolation. It has reported a total of 1,927 confirmed infections and 25 deaths.

Updated: January 25, 2021 05:36 AM

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