(CMR) Authorities in New Zealand are now carrying out contact tracing after a woman who tested positive for COVID-19, the first community case in two months, visited at least 30 different locations.
The woman (56) returned to New Zealand on December 30 after spending four months in Europe. She was released from an Auckland quarantine hotel on January 13 after two negative tests; however, 10 days later, she tested positive for COVID-19.
Authorities are now fearing community spread because the potentially infectious woman traveled around south Northland with her husband, visiting as many as 30 locations, including popular holiday spots, AirBnbs, and shops.
It is the first community case in the country since November 18.
New Zealand's Health Minister Chris Hipkins said it was too soon to decide whether a full or partial lockdown would be reintroduced.
“We don’t know the origin or the strain of the infection,” he told a press conference on Sunday.
Authorities were unsure if the woman got the virus from another traveler while in isolation.
More than 600 people who had spent time in the hotel, where she isolated, were asked to self-isolate and be re-tested for COVID-19.
The woman's husband and other close contacts were also isolated and tested. Her husband currently has no symptoms of the virus.
This is the second time a returnee has developed coronavirus symptoms after being released from quarantine in New Zealand.
In August, a man who returned from India returned two negative tests in isolation but did not start showing symptoms until five days after his release.
With its elimination of community spread last year, New Zealand has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic in a population of five million people.