New Zealand’s first case of coronavirus in months identified as South African variant

Monday, 25 January 2021 - 18:17

New Zealand’s first case of coronavirus in the community in months has been identified as the South African variant, health minister Chris Hipkins said on Monday, adding that the 56-year-old woman probably caught it from another returning traveller just before leaving quarantine.

The woman, who recently returned from Europe, tested positive on Saturday, 10 days after she completed her compulsory two weeks in isolation at a hotel in the city of Auckland.

The case represents the first time the virus has breached a quarantine facility in more than two months, after New Zealand eliminated community spread of the virus. The Pacific nation has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic, with just 25 deaths from 1,927 confirmed virus cases in a population of five million.

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