New Zealand Reports First Community Transmission COVID-19 Case in Two Months

New Zealand has confirmed on Jan. 24 its first COVID-19 community transmission case in over two months from an individual who recently returned from Europe.

New Zealand has confirmed on Jan. 24 its first COVID-19 community transmission case in over two months from an individual who recently returned from Europe.

The Ministry of Health reported that a 56-year-old woman who traveled mainly in Spain and the Netherlands for four months tested positive for COVID-19 after spending the compulsory 14-day quarantine in an isolation facility in Auckland.

According to health officials, the woman tested negative twice before leaving the facility on Jan. 13. She later developed mild symptoms that progressively worsened and received her positive test results on Jan. 23.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said that it was too soon to decide if a full or partial lockdown would be reimposed.

“We don’t know the origin or the strain of the infection,” Hipkins said.

Director-General Ashley Bloomfield said that health officials were investigating if the woman contracted the disease from another traveler in the isolation facility.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement that it is undertaking a genome testing “to see if there’s a match to other cases in the managed isolation facility as well as to whether the person has one of the more transmissible variants we’ve seen reported recently.”

The ministry also said that it was “working on the assumption any case might be a more transmissible variant and are taking appropriate precautions.”

“It is too early to say where this infection has occurred — we hope further testing and investigation will help to confirm this,” the ministry added.

The ministry also published a list of about 30 locations that the woman visited in the Northland region after leaving the isolation facility. The locations include supermarkets, restaurants, and other shops.

Health officials have so far identified four close contacts who have been tested and are under isolation.


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