New Zealand has confirmed three more COVID-19 cases just two weeks after Jacinda Ardern announced the country had crushed the virus.
All three travellers tested positive for coronavirus while in hotel quarantine after arriving in the country on June 20.
The first case was a woman in her 30s staying at the Ibis hotel in Rotorua on New Zealand’s north island who arrived from Peru, while the other two had come from India and were quarantining at the Commodore Hotel in Christchurch.
The new infections, announced on Thursday, take New Zealand’s number of active cases to 13.
All three new cases (pictured) were confirmed in overseas travellers who had been in hotel quarantine after arriving in the country on June 20
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pictured on Thursday with a student in Christchurch. Earlier this month, she rolled back almost all of New Zealand’s lockdown restrictions after the country recorded zero active cases of COVID-19
Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield revealed both of the women who returned to New Zealand from the UK and tested positive for COVID-19 on June 16 after leaving quarantine in Auckland had recovered.
They had been the country’s first active cases after being declared coronavirus-free.
Ms Ardern admitted this week the two women’s quarantine procedure was a ‘process failure’ after they were allowed to drive to Wellington without being tested.
The pair were granted compassionate leave six days into their quarantine to grieve with another relative when their parent died.
More than a dozen people have tested positive in the past ten days, including the latest three announced on Thursday.
Dr Bloomfield said health officials were still waiting for results to come back from two people who were granted compassionate exemptions from quarantine between June 9 and June 16.
Three new cases have been confirmed in New Zealand, including one person who was quarantining at the Ibis Hotel (pictured) in Rotorua on the country’s north island
A nurse wears PPE while testing a person for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing centre in Auckland (pictured) New Zealand’s active number of active cases sits at 13
Five of 190 guests who stayed at the Auckland Novotel at the same time as the travellers are also still being followed up as part of contact tracing procedure.
New Zealand moved to alert level one on June 8 and lifted nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions – with health officials revealing the country no longer had any active cases.
Prime Minister Ardern said at the time the country had ‘united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus’.
The move allowed weddings, funerals, hospitality and public transport to resume without any restrictions and sporting events to proceed with crowds in the stands.