New Zealand Laundry link to mystery Auckland virus outbreak
Updated:

Laundry link to mystery Auckland virus outbreak

nz laundry covid cases
There were lengthy queues for virus testing at an Auckland school hit by the latest outbreak on Monday. Photo: Getty
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New Zealand has recorded no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, a day after three positive tests in Auckland sent the city into lockdown.

The Ministry of Health said there were no new cases recorded on Monday but five cases of COVID-19 were reported in managed isolation.

An Auckland couple and their daughter tested positive to COVID-19 on Sunday, becoming the country’s first cases of coronavirus in the community since January.

The results of genomic sequencing have revealed the mother and daughter have the British variant of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health said scanning of the international genome database was being carried out to determine if there was a match.

Contact tracing has identified 10 close contacts outside the household. Six of the close contacts have returned a negative test and four results still pending.

On Monday morning, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was not clear how the Auckland residents contracted the British strain of COVID 19.

Ms Ardern said the cases were not linked to hotel quarantine.

“One of the workplaces in question is the place where they do the laundry for international flights,” Ms Ardern said.

“The other possibility is international airline crew.

“International airline crew have the uniforms washed and cleaned at the laundry where the individual in question who’s become infected works.”

The mother from the infected family works at an airline catering company.

As a precaution, food and beverage on Air New Zealand flights have been suspended for domestic routes.

The Auckland cases have put a temporary halt to the trans-Tasman travel bubble.

Australia stops quarantine-free travel from NZ

In response to the three Auckland cases, Australia has stopped quarantine-free travel for New Zealanders,

The trans-Tasman bubble was set up so people could fly from New Zealand to Australia without needing to spend 14 days in a hotel.

However, Australia’s expert medical panel decided late on Sunday night to change the system.

New Zealanders who fly into Australia from Monday will have to spend a fortnight in hotel quarantine.

The new rule will remain in place for the next three days before the situation is reassessed.