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New Zealand scrambles to find source of new virus infections

Wellington: Health authorities in New Zealand were scrambling on 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.

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.

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.

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.

Bloomfield said two of the people who had tested positive had travelled to the city of Rotorua while suffering symptoms over recent days and had visited several tourist attractions.

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