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New Zealand health officials on Sunday confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the community in more than two months and sparked urgent contract prosecution efforts north of Auckland.
A 56-year-old woman who had recently returned from Europe tested positive 10 days after completing mandatory two-week isolated isolation, despite noticing symptoms a few days before the test.
The contact tracing was ongoing after it was revealed that the woman and her husband had been out and about in the Northland area for several days while it was potentially contagious and visiting around 30 different locations.
Health Secretary Chris Hipkins said it was too early to decide whether a full or partial lockdown would be reintroduced.
“We know neither the origin nor the burden of the infection,” he said at a press conference.
The woman returned to New Zealand on December 30, after four months in Europe – mainly Spain and the Netherlands – and was released from a quarantine hotel in Auckland on January 13.
New Zealand health director-general Ashley Bloomfield said she returned two negative tests in isolation and her husband showed no symptoms.
It is the first known case of community transmission in New Zealand since November 18th.
Authorities checked closed-loop video footage to see if the woman in the managed isolation facility had contracted the virus.
More than 600 people who had spent time at the hotel were asked to self-isolate and retest for COVID-19.
This is the second time a returnees have developed coronavirus symptoms after exiting an isolation facility in New Zealand.
A man who returned from India in August returned two negative tests in isolation but did not show COVID symptoms until five days after his release.
New Zealand has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic. Just 25 deaths out of 1,927 confirmed virus cases out of a population of five million.
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© 2021 AFP
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