Coronavirus Australia: New Zealand on high alert after mystery case of Covid-19 detected in Auckland

New Zealand on high alert after a mystery local Covid case is found in Auckland with no known links to the border

  • New Zealand on high alert after mystery case of the virus is detected in Auckland
  • Health officials are currently interviewing the positive case to trace contacts 
  • The new positive case has not been linked to the border or any high-risk settings
  • Covid-19 Response Minister vowed response to Delta would be ‘swift and severe’
  • NZ suspended travel bubble with entirety of Australia in July 23 due to outbreak 

New Zealand is on high alert after a mystery case of Covid-19 was detected in the Auckland community with no known link to the border. 

Health officials are now scrambling to identify the new case which at this stage has no immediate link to any high-risk settings. 

‘A link between the case and the border or managed isolation is yet to be established,’ the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday. 

The Auckland Regional Public Health unit is currently interviewing the positive case to trace any close or casual contacts. 

‘While we collect more specific information all New Zealanders are reminded of the basic public health measures of mask wearing and hand washing.’ 

Any Auckland residents who need to catch public transport and cannot social distance have been asked to wear a mask as a precautionary measure. 

‘A hard and early response is the best tool to stamp out any potential spread and everyone in New Zealand is asked to stay calm, be kind and play their part while we gather more information on the potential case’, the Ministry said. 

Ministers will attend an urgent meeting later on Tuesday to determine a response to the new community case, which is the first in New Zealand since February. 

Government officials have previously warned of a ‘strict lockdown’ across New Zealand at the first sign of a Delta outbreak. 

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the government’s response to an outbreak of the Delta variant is likely to be ‘swift and severe.’  

Mr Hipkins said the problems that Sydney currently faces in trying to contact trace a growing outbreak showed the delta variant was extremely hard to manage and that New Zealand’s tolerance for risk was now very low. 

The country previously recorded no local transmission of coronavirus with residents enjoying domestic life close to pre-pandemic levels. 

The South Pacific nation of 5 million people has reported just 26 deaths since the pandemic began. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand would suspend its travel bubble with the entirety of Australia due to the snowballing outbreak in NSW.    

An eight-week suspension of the bubble commenced on July 23.

‘We’ve always said that our response would evolve as the virus evolved,’ Ms Ardern said last month. 

‘This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but it is the right decision to keep New Zealanders safe.’

The Prime Minister said on Thursday she hoped to cautiously reopen to the rest of the world next year while maintaining the country’s virus-free status. 

‘Rushing could see us in the situation many other countries are finding themselves in,’ Ms Ardern said, citing an outbreak of the Delta variant in neighbouring Australia that has forced its two largest cities into renewed lockdown. 

The prime minister said the government planned to follow the advice of experts and maintain their elimination strategy.

‘While the pandemic continues to rage overseas, and the virus continues to change and mutate, the best thing we can do is lock in the gains achieved to date while keeping our options open,’ she said. 

More to come.