New Zealand’s Ministry of Health announced that the nation’s 24-day streak without new COVID-19 cases ended after confirming two new cases (NPR). On June 16th, Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s director-general of health, announced the origin of the two cases (CNA). Bloomfield stated that two women arrived from the United Kingdom to Auckland and later tested positive for COVID-19 (CNA). The two women were under mandatory quarantine in an unnamed hotel-turned-isolation facility in Auckland after their arrival on June 7th (CNA). Despite one of the women exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the hotel’s health officials allowed the pair to leave early (CNA). The women were allowed to leave the facility without being tested for COVID-19 (CNA). Officials gave the women special permission to visit a terminally ill family member in Wellington (CNA). Both women are now self-isolating (NPR).
Bloomfield stated that authorities traced over 320 people who came in close contact with the women (CNA). Those exposed to the virus include individuals on their flight from the United Kingdom to New Zealand as well as patients and staff members of the isolation facility (CNN). In response to the incident, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced the defense force would oversee quarantine measures and border requirements (CNA). These cases are a setback as New Zealand officials had lifted all economic and social restrictions the prior week (CNA).