Wellington: Health authorities said that New Zealand reported two cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, ending three and a half weeks without fresh infections.
The Ministry of Health said that the two new patients have all come from the UK recently.
“The ministry can confirm today two new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand related to the border as a result of recent travel from the UK. Both cases are connected,” it said in a brief statement.
The New Zealand border is only open to returning New Zealanders and their families. Except for business and compassionate reasons, everyone is subject to two weeks of forced isolation.
The South Pacific country recorded only 22 deaths among a population of 5 million, and it announced last week that the community spread of the virus has been eliminated.
As a result, despite strict border controls, domestic restrictions including social isolation requirements and restrictions on public gatherings have been removed.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that she had not declared the country virus-free because “New Zealand will have cases again in the future”.
“Of course, our hope and expectation is that should be at the border… if they’ve quarantined, of course, that’s a very different story than in the community,” she told reporters, adding “it’s an ongoing campaign”.