Wellington, New Zealand — Health authorities in New Zealand were scrambling Wednesday to trace the source of a new outbreak of the coronavirus, as the nation's largest city went back into lockdown.
Authorities had confirmed four cases of the virus in one Auckland household from an unknown source and were awaiting the test results of four more people they suspect have infections - two work colleagues and two relatives of those in the house.
The cases this week were the first known local transmission of the virus in New Zealand in 102 days.
The cluster came as an unpleasant surprise to many and raised questions about whether the nation's general election would go ahead as planned next month.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said more than 200 people with connections to those in the house were contacted Wednesday.
"Our plan of mass testing, rapid contact tracing and, of course, our restrictions to stop the chain of transmission has been in full swing in Auckland today," Ardern said.
Investigations were checking the possibility that the virus was imported on freight.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said one of the people who tested positive works at an Americold food cold-storage facility in Auckland, which was being swabbed to check if it was possible source of the infections.
"We do know from studies overseas that actually, the virus can survive in some refrigerated environments for quite some time," he said.