A 56-year-old woman has tested positive for COVID-19 in New Zealand, making her the first new case to be recorded outside of quarantine since November 18 last year.
The woman had recently returned from Europe, where she was in Spain and the Netherlands for work. She tested negative twice while quarantining at the Pullman hotel in Auckland, and that’s why health authorities are now concerned about her recent, positive test result.
“This is a reminder to all of us that the pandemic continues and that this is a tricky virus,” New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told reporters.
Since being released into the community, the woman apparently went to “around 30 locations”. It was only later on Sunday evening that the full list of potential exposure sites was released.
Thankfully, she was using the country’s own NZ COVID Tracer app, which allows people to scan QR codes in order to check in at different venues. Health authorities said they’re now in the process of notifying those places.
As we’ve heard for the past 11 months or so, New Zealand has pretty much led the world when it comes to containing the coronavirus pandemic.
And yet, even the most successful country can see blips appear in the community, even when everyone involved seems to have done the right thing.
In this particular instance, it’s still very, very early days. That also means this hiccup is unlikely to affect plans for a trans-Tasman travel bubble.
“It is too early to speculate on what our response should be,” NZ’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.
“We don’t have the relevant information to make those decisions yet. There is absolutely no need for any panic buying or any of that kind of behaviour.”
Still, considering how well things have been handled thus far, one case in the community is hopefully no reason to be worried.