Today, New Zealand woke up to a level three lockdown and a suspension of the trans-Tasman bubble with Australia, following three new COVID-19 cases.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly convened with Chief Health Officers of states (NSW, Queensland, and Victoria) yesterday to discuss green zone flights from New Zealand, in response to the nation’s mystery COVID cases.
Starting today, New Zealand has officially been declared a red zone for an initial period of three days, with the Australian Government moving to pop the trans-Tasman travel bubble.
While Auckland has been placed on a level three lockdown with a stay-at-home mandate, the rest of New Zealand has been placed at alert level two; which mandates social distancing, places caps on social events, and tightens rules on face masks.
COVID-19 ALERT LEVEL UPDATE
From 11:59pm tonight, Auckland moves to Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand moves to Alert Level 2. The measures will remain in place for three days until midnight Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/P3FVsCun9j
— Unite against COVID-19 (@covid19nz) February 14, 2021
Of the family who have contracted the virus, the mother is considered to be the most likely “index case.” This means that she is the first to be identified in a potential cluster of cases that may emerge in the next few days, as she works at a catering company that services planes at Auckland Airport.
The father is self-employed and the daughter is a student at Papatoetoe High School; a school with 1400 students in the south of Auckland.
New Zealand’s minister for COVID-19 response, Chris Hipkins, said: “genomic testing was being conducted to see if the Auckland family’s infection was linked to any highly infectious variants.”
Breaking: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern announces Level 3 lockdown for Auckland for 3 days from midnight – the rest of NZ goes to Level 2
Comes after 3 members of an Auckland family tested positive for #Covid19 under unknown circumstances
‘We are going hard and early’ pic.twitter.com/T6LWl2tdIL
— Ashleigh Stewart (@Ash_Stewart_) February 14, 2021
“Our system has swung into action, we are gathering all of the facts as quickly as we can,” Hipkins added.
Authorities are still working to find out how the family contracted COVID-19. Essentially, whether the virus has been sitting dormant in the community, or if these cases are the start of a “chain of transmission.”
EVERYONE: I can’t believe New Zealand would shut down its biggest city because of just three COVID cases!
NEW ZEALAND: pic.twitter.com/H1dE4UmxF4
— Brady Haran (@BradyHaran) February 14, 2021