Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) takes part in a press conference about the COVID-19 in Wellington. File/AFP
New Zealand has reported two new cases of the coronavirus as a trickle of infected people continue to arrive at the border.
The country of 5 million people now has nine active cases after having none at all earlier this month.
New Zealand said it was extending a ban on cruise ships arriving in the country as it looks to safeguard borders as new cases emerge of people arriving in the country with the coronavirus.
Health officials said Monday that all those cases involve people who have recently arrived and are in quarantine, and there’s no evidence of community transmission.
Still, many remain anxious community transmission could return, especially after health officials admitted making a mistake by allowing two women who had arrived from London to leave quarantine before they had been tested because a parent was dying. The women later tested positive and have since isolated themselves.
The latest two cases involve people returning from India and Pakistan."We are extending the current cruise ship ban which was due to expire on the 30th of June," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a news conference.
A 24-day run with no new cases was broken Tuesday when it emerged two women who recently arrived from Britain were allowed out of quarantine early without being tested for the virus, even though one had mild symptoms.
The government will drop social distancing restrictions form midnight on Monday as it moves to a level 1 national alert from Level 2, Ardern told a news conference. Public and private events, the retail and hospitality industries and all public transport could resume without social distancing norms still in place across much of the world.
The new infections are a set back to New Zealand, which lifted all social and economic restrictions except border controls last week, declaring it had no new or active cases of the coronavirus, one of the first countries in the world to return to pre-pandemic normality.
The police have been sharing accident videos to educate the members of the public on the dire consequences of such wrong practices.
The authorities said, “The rate of positive cases from tests remains 1%, similar to the previous week."
A deep depression over southwest Bay of Bengal has moved west-northwestwards on Tuesday, and has intensified into Cyclonic Storm Nivar, officials at the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) in Chennai said.