NZ braces up to meet new coronavirus threat, considers lockdown in Wellington

Summary

  • NZ considering a lockdown after one person tests positive
  • Contact tracing underway
  • Sports events, conferences cancelled till further advice from health ministry
  • Air New Zealand cancels flights

New Zealand is bracing up to meet the Coronavirus threat in the capital city of Wellington by considering a lockdown. There has been a lot of fresh concern after an Australian tourist tested positive for COVID-19 after being in the city over the weekend.

New Zealand, so far, has had the proud honour of containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country with the last positive case reported in February.

A top Covid-19 expert has warned that New Zealanders should brace themselves for coronavirus cases after this traveler from Australia carried the infection to various sites in Wellington.

The traveler would have visited several sites, and perhaps infected several people as he was tested positive while returning to Sydney. Sydney has been reporting its biggest daily increase this week prompting New Zealand to pause quarantine-free travel with the state on Tuesday.

It may be recalled that NZ had agreed to a quarantine free travel with Australia in April this year as both countries had been able to control the spread of the virus.

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Expert advice Kiwis to mask up

Siouxsie Wiles, who is a microbiologist in a Twitter post, advised people to take all precautions and wear a mask while moving out. He said, looks like NZ might need to brace itself for some COVID19 cases after a travel bubble leak.

The expert said that the sooner people with the virus are identified, the sooner chains of transmission can be broken.

Health ministry said that genome sequencing was underway to ascertain whether the case was linked to the current outbreak in Sydney. Also, the four contacts of the infected person have been asked to isolate and further contact tracing is being undertaken.

Sports Events and functions in Wellington cancelled

In the meantime, organisers of upcoming sporting events and functions in Wellington have cancelled their events till further advice from the health authorities. A large number of people approximately 900 were going to attend the Wellington Sports and Recreation Awards function. Now that stands cancelled.

14 locations of interest identified

Health authorities have identified almost 14 places of interest related to the coronavirus case  including Te Papa Tongarewa, The Rydges Hotel and the Jack Hackett's Bar.

Air NZ flights cancelled

In a latest update, Air New Zealand has cancelled direct services from Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown to Sydney following a new Covid-19 cluster in Sydney.

Chris Hipkins, Covid-19 Response Minister said quarantine-free travel from NZW to New Zealand would be halted for 72 hours from midnight Tuesday while the source of infection was being investigated.


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