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 edition.cnn.com  08/14/2020 04:08:40 

New Zealand's extended a lockdown in its most populous city demonstrates how fast early successes in the pandemic can change.

The country is battling a fresh community coronavirus outbreak after months without anylocally transmitted cases.

There's still a major, unanswered question: How did this outbreak happen?

The remote island nation imposed strict border controls back in March, meaning that, for the most part, only New Zealanders are allowed into the country -- and those who do arrive from abroad need to spend 14 days in state quarantine facilities.

According to the Ministry of Health,68%of New Zealand's cases are imported or linked to imported cases.

Quarantine facilities: One possible cause of this latest outbreak is that coronavirus somehow got out of New Zealand's state quarantine facilities. That's what Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peterstold Australian national broadcaster ABC, saying: "I think there has been a breach in our quarantine system."

There have been breaches in New Zealand before -- in July, a mancut through a fenceat a managed isolation facility to visit a liquor store, and another man who later tested positive for coronavirus broke out of a facility and visited a supermarket.

It's possibly a different strain of the virus: So far, authorities haven't found a match between the genome involved in this latest outbreak and any cases in managed isolation facilities. New Zealand's Director General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said the new cases most closely resemble the genome patterns from the United Kingdom and Australia.

Bloomfield thinks the outbreak could have come in through the isolation facilities rather than being in present for months in New Zealand.

I think there's very good evidence to suggest that it hasn't been lurking in the community," he said.

Ardern said Friday that the strain in the new outbreak is not the same as one that previously existed in New Zealand.

Warehouse samples tested: Authorities are also testing samples from surfaces at Americold, an American temperature-controlled warehouse company where one of the original four to test positive worked. A number of cases have been linked to the company.

But nothing is conclusive at this stage: Ardern said that, for now, authorities did not know how the outbreak happened. "We do not necessarily need to answer that question to deal with this cluster effectively," she said.

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New Zealand imposes 12-day lockdown in its biggest city as it battles fresh outbreak
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