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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.

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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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-AAP

 

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