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New Zealand investigating freight as possible source of Covid-19 outbreak

“We are very confident we didn’t have any community transmission for a very long period,” Mr Bloomfield said during a televised media conference. “We know the virus can survive within refrigerated environments for quite some time.”

China has reported instances of the coronavirus being detected on the packaging of imported frozen seafood.

On Tuesday, the city government of Yantai, a port city in eastern Shandong province, said it had found the virus on the packaging of frozen seafood that had arrived from the port city of Dalian, which recently battled a surge of cases. Officials said the seafood was from an imported shipment that landed at Dalian, but did not say where it originated.

In New Zealand, Auckland shifted to level 3 restrictions at midday (2400 GMT) on Wednesday, requiring people to stay at home unless for essential trips. The rest of the country was placed back into slightly looser level 2 restrictions. The restrictions will initially remain in place until Friday.

“I have huge sympathy … this is unsettling,” Ms Ardern said. “Stay kind, look after one another.”

Police were setting up roadblocks around the city and supermarkets began rationing the sale of some staple products amid a rush to the shelves. Access to aged care nursing homes was restricted to staff and essential deliveries.

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