In New Zealand, the new Covid-19 outbreak has spread beyond Auckland, health officials said on Friday, confirming that efforts to quell the new outbreak have not been as successful as expected.
Following the unexpected re-emergence of the virus in Auckland, 12 more local infections and another possible case have been identified, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said.
Two cases were found in the northern island town of Tokoroa, 210 kilometers south of Auckland.
The infection took place outside Auckland, despite a strict quarantine regime in New Zealand’s largest city, where police have blocked roads at the city’s borders.
The minister sought to allay fears that the virus could reappear everywhere if it was not isolated within Auckland.
“All of these cases have been linked so far, they are all part of the Auckland-based cluster, and that’s good news,” the minister said, noting that the Tokoroa cases were identified quickly.
“We have no evidence of any Covid-19 cases outside Auckland that are not related to the cluster we are working with,” Hipkins explained.
Prime Minister Jinda Ardern is expected to announce on Friday whether the Auckland quarantine regime will be extended and whether the restricted area will be extended.
New Zealand closed all nursing homes on Wednesday in response to the first local outbreaks of the new coronavir in 102 days, and Ardern allowed the return of the coronavir to force her to postpone the September parliamentary elections.
The crisis began when Covid-19 tests on four people in the same Auckland family tested positive on Tuesday.
The number of infections has continued to rise and the authorities are desperately trying to identify the source of the infection, which is still unknown.