After Being Coronavirus-Free for Nearly a Month, New Zealand Has 2 New Cases of COVID-19

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New Zealand has been coronavirus-free for nearly a month, following strict government guidelines imposed during lockdown, but now the country has confirmed two new cases. Two women from the United Kingdom tested positive after traveling to New Zealand via Australia to see a dying relative, officials announced Tuesday.

The women, whose names were not released, are said to be in their 30s and 40s, and traveled from London to Australia and then over to Auckland where they were placed in isolation in a hotel, but were allowed to leave quarantine early due to the compassionate nature of the situation.

The women traveled Saturday to see the dying relative, who has since passed, and returned to quarantine, where they both tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials said the women did not come into contact with anyone or use any public facilities during the journey. However, they did come into contact with another relative in Wellington, who has been placed in quarantine and is awaiting test results.

One of the women has mild symptoms while the other has shown none so far.

"A new case is something that we hoped we wouldn't get but is also something we expected and we have planned for," Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said in a news release. "That's why we have geared up our contact tracing and testing capability to be able to respond rapidly."

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