New Zealand will get first batch of coronavirus vaccines next week

New Zealand reports three new coronavirus cases in the community

At that meeting, she decided on the snap lockdown as "these new cases pose questions our public health staff are working around the clock to answer".

Auckland has been placed at alert level three, with the rest of New Zealand at alert level two - meaning social distancing, caps on gatherings and increased mask-wearing.

New Zealand confirmed a fresh outbreak of Covid-19 in the community today, with a family of three testing positive including a woman who works for a catering firm servicing worldwide flights.

The new cases - a mother, father and daughter - are considered "new and active" according to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

The only difference is that the high school that the child attended will close as a precaution.

The mother works at LSG Sky Chefs in Mangere, one of the world's largest airline catering providers. Officials said the woman hadn't been going aboard the planes herself.

It is not clear how this affects the teams, as in the last Level 3 lockdown, businesses were allowed to continue in operation, and Emirates Team New Zealand continued training and development - but doing as much as possible from home.

Ardern was in Auckland for the Big Gay Out today, but flew back to Wellington to be briefed.

The girl was last at school last Wednesday, February 10.A testing station will be set up at the school and it will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, Bloomfield said.

"Our system has swung into action", says Hipkins. "But of course, we will and we have looked at what those exposure sites are in New Zealand and we will be looking at that for anyone coming across the border from New Zealand", he said. "But as we have kept saying, there is no such thing as no risk".

"But we will collect more information before we would make any such decision".

There will be wide ranging testing of people who are symptomatic, she said. "Please keep following the health guidelines including scanning the COVID Tracer app-this is the best way to keep everyone safe".

The country remains on alert level 1 for COVID-19, which is its lowest level.

She said she doesn't want people to "clog up the system".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed the changes at an evening media conference, alongside Ashley Bloomfield, the country's Director-General of Health.

"And this is a more infectious variant probably. there's a higher chance that it will be but this gives us time to gather evidence and extend these control measures or not".

He said scientists are carrying out genome sequencing to see whether the cases are of the more transmissible variants, and also to see whether they match with any infected passengers.

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