A New Zealand retirement village has been locked up for fear of a coronavirus outbreak just days after the nation celebrated 100 days with no cases.
The Village Palms Retirement Community in Christchurch said eight residents showed flu-like symptoms and led to the sudden lockdown.
On Tuesday a letter was sent to relatives stating that cotton swabs have been sent for COVID-19 tests, NZ Herald reported.
‘We currently have several residents on our first floor who show symptoms of a respiratory disease,’ the letter states.
Regional manager John Amesbury said it was a normal precaution to alert public health if more than three residents showed signs of respiratory illness.
The Village Palms Retirement Community (pictured) in Christchurch said eight residents with flu-like symptoms triggered the sudden freeze
New Zealand did not transmit coronavirus from the community for 100 days. Pictured: the infections in the country since between March and August
“There’s nothing to suggest it’s anything other than the normal flu,” he said.
A spokesman for the Canterbury District Health Board said that the sick residents were tested as a precaution.
“The facility has also contacted a local primary care physician who has arranged for a number of people to be tested, as is common in the winter when a number of respiratory diseases are routinely circulating,” he said in a statement.
The spokesman said they were also testing for other respiratory viruses.
The news comes just days after New Zealand registered 100 days without a single case of community transmission of the virus.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plunged her country into one of the most severe lockdowns in the world in March and has since reaped the rewards, with the latest community handover case on May 1.
That was just 63 days after the five million island state reported the first infection on Feb. 28.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) is praised for tackling the global pandemic by swiftly taking strict measures to eliminate deadly virus
Wellington residents wear face masks on March 24 when they leave a supermarket after buying supplies, one day before land shuts down
New Zealand has recorded 1,219 infections and 22 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The numbers are a drop in the ocean compared to other countries that are still battling thousands of cases and deaths.
There are more than 19.2 million cases of coronavirus worldwide and at least 719,800 people have died.
Ms. Ardern has been commended for her approach to the global pandemic by swiftly taking strict measures to eliminate the deadly virus.
THREE MEASURES FOR THE SUCCESS OF NEW ZEALAND
- Closing the border to everyone except civilians, permanent residents and their families to prevent the coronavirus from entering
- Strict lockout to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within the community
- Continuous monitoring: testing, contact tracking and quarantine
Three measures have been hailed as the driving forces behind New Zealand’s success, including: border controls, lockdown and case-based controls.
Australia has adopted a similar method of suppression, but has since seen a second deadly wave of infections ravaging Victoria – with cases creeping into New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
Ms. Ardern announced the “ strictest border restrictions of any country in the world ” in mid-March when she enforced mandatory self-isolation for all international arrivals. The country had only six cases of coronavirus at the time of the announcement.
Less than a week later, on March 20, Ms Ardern closed the country’s borders for the first time in New Zealand history. The number of COVID-19 infections had scaled beyond 20.
New Zealand’s borders have been closed to this day and only Kiwi citizens, permanent residents and their family members can enter the country.
Ms. Ardern continued to act swiftly by declaring a state of national emergency to combat COVID-19 and put all residents in alert level 4 – ‘eliminating’ – from 11:59 p.m. on March 25.
All non-essential businesses and educational establishments were forced to close and Kiwis had to stay at home for four weeks.
Halfway through the strict shutdown, Ms. Ardern said lives had been saved by following the “massive” changes.
Modeling provided to my office by economist Rodney Jones on the eve of the lockdown suggested that New Zealand was on a similar trajectory to possibly Italy and Spain and that our 205 cases would have grown to over 10,000 by March 25 without the actions we have taken together, ”she said on April 9.
Pictured: Passengers wear protective masks and gloves at Auckland International Airport in April
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a Mihi Whakatau formal welcome speech on a visit to Cardrona Alpine Resort on June 26 as Queenstown ski season kicks off
And new models released later today by Te Punaha Matatini suggest that the current Alert Level 4 controls have already had a significant impact on new case numbers and that we are on track to meet their most optimistic scenario.
“We’re turning a corner, and your commitment means our plan is working.”
At the end of April, New Zealand moved to Alert Level 3 and then to Alert Level 2 in May as coronavirus infections continued to decline.
Mr. Ardern said that elimination does not mean zero cases.
‘It means zero tolerance for business. It means that when a case comes up, and it will, we test, we contact trace, we isolate, and we do that every time with the ambition of seeing COVID-19 when we see it, ” she said .
‘This is how we keep our transmission speed below 1, and that is how we continue to succeed.’
By constantly tracking cases, New Zealand was able to prevent the coronavirus from spreading through the community.
New Zealand entered a strict lockdown at the end of March to stop the spread of the corona virus. Pictured: A view of Wellington’s empty Lambton Quay during the April lockdown
New Zealand went to Alert Level 1 on Monday, June 8 at 11:59 PM. There were no active cases of coronavirus in the country and it had been 40 days since the community transfer.
Last month, Ms Ardern said the second outbreak in Victoria is a ‘cautionary tale’ to learn from.
“It appears their current outbreak is related to a managed isolation facility, similar to the one we run here,” she said.
“That shows how quickly the virus can spread and it can go from under control to out of control, and that even the best plans still pose risks in a pandemic.”
New Zealand has continued to report COVID-19 cases to returning travelers, but the infections have not entered the community.
On August 11 there were 22 active cases.
CORONAVIRUS IN NEW ZEALAND: A TIMELINE
FEBRUARY 3: New Zealand bans travelers from China amid the coronavirus outbreak.
FEBRUARY 28: New Zealand records its first COVID-19 infection after a person in their 60s returned from Iran.
MARCH 16: All returning travelers must isolate themselves for 14 days.
20TH OF MARCH: Borders close to everyone except citizens, permanent residents and their families.
MARCH 26: Alert level 4 ‘Eliminate’ begins. Residents are obliged to stay at home.
APRIL 28: New Zealand drops to Alert Level 3.
MAY 14: Alert level 2 begins.
JUNE 9: New Zealand drops to Alert Level 1. Residents are encouraged to take precautions.
AUGUST 9: 100 days without community transmission of coronavirus.