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New Zealand stunned by three new mystery COVID cases

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Three members of a South Auckland family have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to return to Wellington for briefings.

Two parents and a student at Papatoetoe High School returned positive tests for the deadly virus on Sunday.

COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins said health officials were moving rapidly to test and isolate close contacts, although the origin of the infection remains a mystery.

“There is a number of gaps in our knowledge around these cases,” he said.


Mr Hipkins said Auckland remained at alert level one, but government officials would meet later on Sunday to discuss next moves – which could include a fresh lockdown.

“There are still a lot of questions here … this is a precautionary measure,” he said.

“Having the Prime Minister in Wellington means we can make decisions quickly. At this stage we don’t know whether we need to.”

The new cases come a day after New Zealand’s first COVID-related death in five months.

On Saturday, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said a person tested positive for the virus while in mandatory isolation died after being moved to North Shore Hospital in Auckland.

The fatality was New Zealand’s 26th COVID-related death through the pandemic.

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