Infected Shop Worker Sparks Stay-Home Order in Auckland

(Bloomberg) — New Zealand health officials are asking people who work in downtown Auckland to stay home Friday while they trace the movements of a person who may have contracted coronavirus from within the community.



AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 26: Nurses at Otara Town Centre Covid Testing centre prepare to test the public on August 26, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. The New Zealand government aims to increase COVID-19 testing for seven days to get on top of the recent outbreak with the goal to test 70,000 people over the period with at least 7,000 tests per day in Auckland. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)


© Photographer: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images AsiaPac
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – AUGUST 26: Nurses at Otara Town Centre Covid Testing centre prepare to test the public on August 26, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. The New Zealand government aims to increase COVID-19 testing for seven days to get on top of the recent outbreak with the goal to test 70,000 people over the period with at least 7,000 tests per day in Auckland. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

“We are asking people to take enhanced precautions of working from home, wearing masks, social distancing so we can get the extra time that we need to get extra information,” Minister for Covid Response Chris Hipkins told reporters Thursday. “We won’t make any decisions around alert levels until tomorrow.”

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A higher alert level may mean gathering limits and extra precautions on social distancing. Following a community outbreak in mid-August, Auckland was placed in a lockdown that closed customer-facing businesses and prevented most travel into and out of the region.

The infected person is a shop assistant in inner-city Auckland, and went to work despite being advised not to after having symptoms and taking a Covid test, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. As well as having contact with some close friends, the person visited retail outlets and used Ubers during the period when they were infectious, the ministry said.

New Zealand earlier this year succeeded in eliminating community transmission of the coronavirus by imposing a strict nationwide lockdown.

After the August community outbreak that affected 179 people, the only cases have been returned overseas travelers diagnosed during mandatory quarantine, or a few isolated cases linked to foreign workers in the shipping industry.

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