But the minister also sounded a warning note to New Zealanders about the ongoing risk to the community.
“We don’t yet have a confirmed theory for how the virus was transmitted between the cases,” he said.
“On Monday, I will be taking to cabinet a public health order to make mask use on public transport within the Auckland region mandatory on an ongoing basis. This includes the wearing of masks on all passenger aircraft that travel domestically, within New Zealand.”
He also reminded New Zealanders not to be angry at the two current community cases in Auckland and two in Wellington, which are all believed to be linked to the Defence employee who caught it from a worker at a managed quarantine facility and travelled between the two cities.
“Understandably, [they] feel the weight of the entire country on their shoulders […] as we’ve said repeatedly it is the virus that’s the problem and not the people. They do not deserve to have blame heaped upon them.”
The latest community case in Auckland highlights the country has not eradicated the virus that has infected more than 53 million people worldwide and killed more than 1.3 million.
It also calls into question Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s suggestion that Australia must record 28 days straight without a community case of coronavirus before a two-way travel bubble between the two nations can open. The country currently has 53 active cases, with 49 in managed isolation and quarantine.
Tourism operators in destinations such as Queenstown are ready and waiting to welcome Australians. New Zealanders can already fly to Australia but they have to quarantine for two weeks upon return.
Australia has recorded zero community cases of coronavirus in four of the last five days. Victoria has recorded 14 consecutive days of zero community cases.
New Zealand’s Health Department has released a list of 11 Auckland locations, including the Auckland University of Technology, a doctor’s surgery, a workplace and a number of restaurants and cafes the infected woman visited between November 5 and November 11. Residents of the apartment block where she lives have been advised to self-isolate.
In a statement released on Friday through her lawyer, the woman said she had had a sore throat on Monday evening, got tested on Tuesday, by Wednesday her symptoms had cleared up so she went to work while wearing a mask. On Thursday, she was informed she had tested positive.
– with Stuff.co.nz
James Massola is south-east Asia correspondent based in Jakarta. He was previously chief political correspondent, based in Canberra. He has been a Walkley and Quills finalist on three occasions, won a Kennedy Award for outstanding foreign correspondent and is the author of The Great Cave Rescue.