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Ed Sheeran

Rapid response at COVID slips into community

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A member of the Māori pandemic response group is confident New Zealanders will quickly ramp up precautions to deal with a community case of COVID-19.

COVID Recovery Minister Chris Hipkins says the 56-year-old woman has the more infectious South African strain of the coronavirus.

The woman appears to have picked up from someone who arrived in the country on January 9, four days before she was released from managed isolation and quarantine with a clean bill of health.

Authorities are studying CCTV footage from the Pullman Hotel in Auckland to see if there was any interaction.

Te Rōpu Whakakaupapa Urutā co-chair Rawiri Jansen says there will be nervous days ahead as people wait to see if it is spreading, and he expects thousands of people will seek tests in Northland and Auckland.

"The health system, the GP clinics, the DHB pop up testing, mobile testing, community testing centres, all of that is being turned on completely. Those are the responses we need right now and we need to watch the numbers very closely this week," he says.

Dr Jansen says if case numbers on the community reach double figure, he says iwi in the north may again look to put in road checks to keep their people safe.

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