- New Zealand on Tuesday recorded its first positive cases of COVID-19 in 24 days.
- Two women who traveled to New Zealand from the UK to see a dying relative tested positive for the virus.
- New Zealand has strict border controls in place and had given the women special permission to enter.
- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week said the country had eliminated the coronavirus.
- However, the virus is still widespread in the UK, with the nation still following lockdown measures.
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Two women who traveled to New Zealand from the United Kingdom earlier this month have become the country’s first positive cases of COVID-19 over three weeks after it was eradicated in the country.
The women, who are part of the same family, tested positive on Tuesday for the coronavirus in Wellington, the country’s capital, after traveling to New Zealand to visit a dying relative, the BBC reported.
One woman is in her 30s and the other in her 40s. It is not known whether they are UK citizens, the report added.
New Zealand is seen as having led the way in its response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week announced that the government had eliminated the virus after successfully reducing the number of confirmed cases to zero and moved to remove all national lockdown measures.
Twenty-two people in New Zealand have died after catching COVID-19, a much lower number than most other countries.
However, strict border controls remain in place in the country, with people who aren’t New Zealand citizens or essential workers not allowed in unless they have exceptional circumstances.
Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s director-general of health, said there was an “agreed plan in place” to let the two women from the UK enter New Zealand to see their dying relative, the BBC reported.
The two women arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, on June 7 and quarantined there until securing permission to travel to Wellington on June 13. Their relative died on June 12.
One of the women reported having mild COVID-19 symptoms while staying in Wellington with a relative.
The pair both tested positive for the illness on Tuesday.
Unlike New Zealand, the UK continues to follow lockdown measures, with over 1,000 new confirmed cases of the virus on Monday. The UK’s the death toll was 41,786 as of Tuesday morning, making it one of the world’s biggest.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is hoping to agree on “travel corridors” with other countries to let people from Britain holiday in other countries and vice versa.
However, some countries are reluctant to form corridors with the UK while the virus is so prominent in the country.
Last week, the Slovak government opened its borders to arrivals from 16 countries deemed safe. However, the UK was not included, and arrivals from there will have to quarantine and take a coronavirus test.