Ardern Calls in Military After New Zealand Quarantine Bungle

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New Zealand has three active cases of coronavirus, days after it declared itself among the first countries in the world to be free of the virus.

The two cases have been identified as two women from the United Kingdom who were granted exemptions to travel within New Zealand to attend a funeral during the global pandemic, which has sickened over 8 million people worldwide and killed at least 430,000.

Last week, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared the country to be Covid-free after nearly a month with no new cases, lifting restrictions and allowing life to return to relative normality.

"I apologize that we ended up in this position", he said.

While "one of them experienced mild symptoms, the other was symptom-free".

However, Ardern stated that New Zealand reporting new cases again would not be "a sign that we have failed".

Health officials allowed two citizens out of quarantine early this week without tests, only for them to meet friends against the terms of their release and later return a positive result.

The country remained mostly closed to travellers from outside New Zealand, with only citizens and essential workers allowed to enter unless express permission had been granted under special circumstances.

The government yesterday suspended the practice of allowing some people to leave quarantine early on compassionate grounds, which was the basis for the sisters exiting their Auckland isolation to travel by vehicle to Wellington.

Two new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand, both arrivals from UK
New Zealand's first Covid cases in 24 days came from UK

On June 8, New Zealand lifted all domestic coronavirus restrictions after its final COVID-19 patient was given the all clear.

New Zealand may grant "compassionate exemptions" for a person to leave a managed isolation facility if the person has a detailed plan for self-isolation, testing, and health checks through the end of the 14-day isolation period.

The Chief Ombudsman has also pledged to investigate after members of his staff came into contact with quarantined individuals at an Auckland hotel. The government has not announced that it will institute new restrictions as long as it's able to trace all potential contacts of the two British visitors while they were in New Zealand.

The newest cases bring New Zealand's final number of cases since the outbreak began to 1,506.

Neither woman recalled they had brief physical contact with anyone and so the public health unit didn't feel the need to report that.

Just yesterday, Ardern had warned that more Covid-19 cases would come to New Zealand in future, and said: "I don't want New Zealanders to believe that the battle is over when it's not", NewstalkZB added.

The ministry said both cases were connected.

Regarding the two new cases, Ardern said that they highlight the importance of strict border controls for Covid-19.

Officials said they found out about the interaction after health authorities interviewed the women further.

Douglas County reports one death, more cases Saturday
Henry states that the province has been monitoring its COVID-19 restart activities closely and modifying its approach. Forty-one patients are on home isolation, and 208 of the total 264 cases have been recovered.

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