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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken the steps in finding the need to ‘go hard and early' over recent Community Cases that emerged in South Auckland.
An announcement was made at 7 pm on February 14 that New Zealand will go into a COVID-19 lockdown. It follows three Community Cases who is a father, mother and daughter.
“Cabinet has met this evening to make decisions on our response to three cases reported earlier today within a household in Auckland,” said PM Ardern.
“But first, I did want to make some brief remarks. New Zealanders have enjoyed their freedoms for longer periods of time than nearly any other country in the world and we have never taken for granted how special that was.”
“With [COVID-19] raging outside our borders and new–more transmissible strains of [the virus emerging] we've had to make both continual improvements to strengthen our border while continuing to plan and prepare for managing any potential resurgence in the most effective way possible.”
The plan for Cabinet is to base decision making on the best science available and what has worked with cases in the past including responses made by Governments overseas.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield outlined the three positive cases within the household, including another member who lives with them.
“We have three positive cases. A mother, father and daughter from one household in South Auckland. There is one other household member who has symptoms but has tested negative. This person will, however, remain under investigation as a close contact,” said Dr Bloomfield.
“The three members of the family group who are positive cases have been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility. [A] fourth member of the family that tested negative remains at home under strict isolation following public health supervision.”
“Genomic sequencing is underway for the first two cases.”
PM Ardern says public health staff are working around the clock to find an answer on how the-now-three confirmed cases contracted the virus.
There is not a completely clear picture of the spread and source.
“We are waiting for the genome sequencing and serology. Both of which will provide important pieces of this puzzle,” said PM Ardern.
“Cabinet has chosen to respond with a cautious approach that has served us so well previously and with the working assumption just in case it could one of the more transmissible strains of [COVID-19] that we need to act with a high degree of caution around.”
“The most important lessons we have learned from the times we have stamped out flare-ups successfully before, and from cases that we have seen from overseas where outbreaks have gotten away; is the need to go hard and early. Avoid the risk of a wider outbreak and therefore the risk of having longer periods of restrictions.”
At 11:59 pm on February 14, Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 while the rest of New Zealand moves to Level 2.
Video: Ministry of Health
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