New Zealand COVID-19 cases jump to 21; origin of outbreak identified


Lambton Quay is devoid of people on the first day of a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wellington, New Zealand, August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Praveen Menon

WELLINGTON, Aug 19 (Reuters) – New Zealand’s COVID-19 outbreak jumped to 21 cases on Thursday, but the authorities said the virus may not have been in the community for long as they linked its origin to a recent Sydney returnee.

There were 11 new cases in the last 24 hours, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Chief Ashley Bloomfield told a news conference.

Ardern said genome sequencing revealed the current positive cases were a close match to a returnee from Sydney who arrived on a flight on Aug. 7.

Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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