Two latest cases of coronavirus which initiated another lockdown in Auckland, a metropolitan city in New Zealand are confirmed to be carrying the UK variant. With these two cases, the country is now on the list of countries that are affected by the mutated versions of coronavirus.
New Zealand’s Health Ministry has revealed using genomic sequencing technology to identify these cases. This new variant of coronavirus is a highly contagious and deadly strain that spreads from the UK to the whole world. Although there are no signs of community transmission of this UK variant in New Zealand coming days are crucial for the local population.
This presence of mutated strain also reinforces the need for prompt and effective measures to improve detection facilities, ruling out the chances of any transmission of these strains in coming weeks.
Currently, there are no cases of any third case that is linked with two cases carrying UK variant of coronavirus despite the fact that both these cases are identified in the same family. These cases were confirmed on Sunday and immediately after this confirmation, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered for a mandatory three-day lockdown to be imposed in Auckland from Monday.
This is the first time in the last six months that New Zealand has reported any coronavirus case. The country received a huge appreciation and praise for its effective handling of the pandemic as it has reported only 25 deaths among the population that is nearly five million.
Auckland, with a population of two million residents, is one of the biggest cities in the country. The announcement was released on Sunday, advising all citizens to stay at their home during this three-day lockdown period. Schools, institutes, and all non-essential local businesses will remain closed for the next three days. It also applies to the travelers as the movement to and from Auckland to other cities of New Zealand is currently restricted. Cities other than Auckland are going through level two alert, and everyone who is out on the roads is expected to wear a face mask and maintain a safe distance, while any assembly of people over 100 is restricted.
Health Ministry has also shared that it is trying to trace the sources of these infections. PM Arden that everyone has this same response on the re-emergence of coronavirus in the country and no one wants to go into a lockdown gain. However, she advised that they were able to get out of this situation before, and they will get out of it again this time too.
These two cases of UK variant coronavirus are confirmed in a woman who works at a company that delivers laundry services and food to the international flights coming to Auckland. The second case is identified in this woman’s daughter.
The Health Ministry is trying to find out how this woman was exposed to the mutated virus, and there are high chances that it is her workplace as she deals with international travelers indirectly. However, it is too soon to say anything and without proper investigation, nothing would be clear.
Last year in August, Auckland went into a lockdown for two weeks after a cluster of cases were identified which were traced back to a worker who was taking care of the imported frozen foods. But the country was enjoying relaxations for months while other countries of the world are still battling with mutated viruses.