New Zealand has recorded X new coronavirus cases overnight as the fallout from the emerging cluster continues to grow.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern announce x on Saturday
Jetstar has also cancelled all flights around the country and the former prime minister of the Cook Islands has been hospitalised with COVID-19.
Jetstar will suspend all flying in New Zealand from Tuesday until August 26 at the earliest.
Ms Ardern has also extended the country’s lockdown by an additional 12 days after the explosion of coronavirus cases.
She announced that Auckland would stay in level 3 restrictions and the rest of the nation would remain on level 2 on Friday.
New Zealand was the envy of the world after going 102 days without recording a locally transmitted case of coronavirus.
But on Tuesday the detection of four new infected family members shocked the country.
Ms Ardern announced that the lockdowns would be extended but said a move to level 4 was unnecessary.
‘What is important is making sure we establish the perimeter of the cluster and to stop it from growing,’ the Prime Minister told reporters.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) announced on Friday that New Zealand’s lockdown would be extended for 12 days after an explosion of coronavirus cases
Several cases are linked to the Americold frozen storage facility (pictured), where a worker tested coronavirus positive after falling ill on July 31
The earliest known coronavirus case in the Auckland cluster was detected in a worker at the Americold Coolstore in Mt Wellington who became sick on July 31.
However this person maybe not be the earliest case as the chain of transmission has not been discovered.
‘It will grow before it slows. And it may continue to be linked to schools, churches and social gatherings, as it has done to date,’ Ms Ardern said.
‘In keeping with our cautionary approach and New Zealand’s philosophy of going hard and going early, today, cabinet has agreed to maintain our current settings for an additional 12 days, bringing us to a full two weeks in total.’
All of the 13 new cases reported on Friday were connected to the existing Auckland cluster except for one, who is in hospital, which is still under investigation.
Two of the new cases are linked to the Americold frozen storage facility, bringing the total number to 13.
It is understood that the workplace has undergone testing for COVID-19 amid fears the virus survived on refrigerated freight sent from overseas and then spread to staff.
Five direct cases are workers, while seven others are family of infected staff. The refrigerated warehousing company is awaiting the results for 14 other workers.
Ms Ardern said Auckland would remain under stage 3 restrictions while the rest of New Zealand would be at level 2 restrictions (high school students in Wellington pictured on Friday)
Level 3 restrictions mean residents must only leave their homes for essential reasons like exercise, food shopping and providing care (a couple wearing masks pictured in Wellington)
It has prompted health authorities to probe whether the virus was spread on frozen food shipments.
Anyone who has tested positive to the virus is required to quarantine in a managed facility.
‘There is nothing to suggest we need to move to a level 4 lockdown,’ Ms Ardern said.
‘Our intention is that Auckland and New Zealand will quickly move back down through alert levels if we continue on this track,’ Ms Ardern explained.
Residents may only leave their homes for essential exercise, shopping and to provide care under the level 3 restrictions.
Ms Ardern said a move to level 4 restrictions was not necessary and the current measures would be in place until August 26 (shoppers pictured in Wellington on Friday)
People should stay in their immediate household bubble and school and work should be conducted from home where possible.
Businesses are only open for takeaway and public venues like libraries and gyms are closed.
Level 2 restrictions allow New Zealanders to gather up to a limit of 100 people and they are encouraged to socially distance at all times.
Businesses may be open to the public provided they keep a record of customer details and maintain physical distancing.
New Zealanders are encouraged to wear a face mask as a precaution.
The lockdown measures are set to remain until 11.59pm on August 26.
‘We will review these settings on August 21, we want to give about a week’s time to see how we are travelling before we review again,’ Ms Ardern said.
New Zealand was unexpectedly back into lockdown after 102 days without recording a locally transmitted case of the virus (A child receiving coronavirus testing pictured above)