Jumat, 14 Agustus 2020

New Zealand confirms seven new coronavirus cases - ABC News

A new strain of the coronavirus linked to a recent outbreak in New Zealand has not been shown to be more infectious or cause more severe disease, the country's top health official says.

New Zealand has confirmed seven new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and the country's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has described the new strain as a variation on a theme.

"There's nothing about this particular strain that suggests either it's more infectious or less infectious or that it is more severe in the illness that it creates," he said on Saturday.

As investigations into the outbreak continue, Dr Bloomfield said he has been speaking to his counterpart in Victoria, where a company linked with the New Zealand outbreak also has facilities.

Genome testing was underway on employees in Melbourne to see if there were any connections.

"We're looking at that possibility, it's part of the overall puzzle and we are leaving no stone unturned," Dr Bloomfield said.

Further test results from the New Zealand sites are expected later on Saturday, Dr Bloomfield said.

New cluster found after months of no community spread

A sign in front of a driveway to a warehouse
Testing continues at the Americold facilities in Auckland, and New Zealand and Victorian officials are working to see if there is any link with a Melbourne site.(Google)

The new cases of the virus came earlier this week after the country had more than three months of zero community transmission.

There are now 37 cases linked to the latest outbreak, while a further 19 people remain in quarantine.

Six of the seven new cases have been linked to the cluster responsible for all the previous community cases.

Until the cluster was discovered on Tuesday, New Zealand had gone 102 days without infections spreading in the community.

The only known cases were travellers quarantined after arriving from abroad.

Health authorities believe the virus must have been reintroduced from overseas, but genome testing has not found a link with any of the quarantined travellers.

That has prompted authorities to investigate whether shipping workers were a source, after several employees at a food storage facility were infected.

On Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced lockdowns across the country would remain in place until August 26.

Health Minister urges people to follow the rules

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said contact tracing across the country had been going very well.

Of the 1,090 people authorities had sought to contact, they had spoken to 934, he said.

He urged people to maintain social distancing and "follow the rules" as they went about their lives.

"We all want to be out of level three as quickly as we can and people following the rules is the best way out of that," he said.

Dr Bloomfield said a strong testing program was one of the reasons behind New Zealand's success in fighting the virus.

But he said he would have liked it to have started faster than it had, while denying there had been other major problems with the scheme.


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2020-08-15 01:20:00Z

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