New Zealand announces new virus case day after 'COVID' election

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 18 2020 10:31 AM

WELLINGTON - New Zealand confirmed a new community case of COVID-19 Sunday, two weeks after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared that the South Pacific nation had "beat the virus again".

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the latest case involved a port-side worker who returned a positive test on Saturday afternoon.

"Because the person was tested on the day he was developing symptoms, the Ministry of Health was able to self-isolate close contacts," Bloomfield said.

He was potentially infectious as early as Wednesday, October 14.

The announcement came a day after Ardern's Labour Party won a landslide election victory, with her government's handling of the pandemic widely credited as a factor.

Ahead of the vote, Ardern -- whose party won 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament -- had dubbed it "the COVID election".

She campaigned on her government's success in eliminating community transmission of the virus, which has caused just 25 deaths in a population of five million. 

New Zealand declared in May it has beaten community coronavirus transmission, although a new cluster emerged in Auckland in August forcing the country's largest city back into lockdown for several weeks.

cf/qan

© Agence France-Presse

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