Two women have tested positive for COVID-19. New Zealand had turned out to be the first European country to announce elimination of coronavirus from the country.
Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said on the elimination that life within country would be normal as before but borders will be closed.
Now, two new cases have emerged. These women were allowed only because they were New Zealand’s nationals. They had to come back from UK to visit a relative. But they had to stay in quarantine first.
They reached on 7 June and were in government-run quarantine since then. These women were allowed early release from quarantine because they were supposed to visit a dying relative. The mistake was that they weren’t tested before their release.
Jacinda Ardern said that the women were not tested on early release. She said that it was an “unacceptable failure” of the officials. She announced that New Zealand’s defense force will look after the arrival and release of people in quarantine.
“It should never have happened and it cannot be repeated,” she said.
Health officials said that women had not met numerous people and everything was in control but they had met two of their friends.
New Zealand’s government is looking into the reason for why were the women not tested before an early release. The compassionate dispensation policy has been suspended.
Women had gone to Wellington from Auckland. They drove in a private vehicle for 8 hours on Monday. However, one of them became unwell. Both of them were tested positive for COVID-19.
Health ministry said that the women lost their way out of Auckland and were directed by two of their friends. They had “limited physical contact” for almost five minutes.
Five minutes are enough for SAR-2-COV to transfer from one person to another. There are great chances of them getting the virus.
Health officials are tracing three hundred and twenty “close contacts” of the two women. They will also be tested and isolated if necessary. The contacts include their fellow passengers and the people who stayed in Auckland hotel with them.
New Zealand’s opposition leader, Todd Muller, was previously criticizing the government’s measures to control the pandemic. He reacted on the failure of testing the women as “clumsy and totally inappropriate”.
Only New Zealanders are allowed to enter New Zealand. However, essential workers are also allowed.
These new cases were reported only a week after the country announced being free of the coronavirus.
There were only 1,154 confirmed cases in New Zealand. This could had been threatening for New Zealand but it has been figured out immediately and not much people came in contact with the patients.
New Zealand seems to have controlled it and the virus would not spread again. Contacts are traced and isolated and the patients are in hospitals.