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Where They Hail From

New Zealand is turning to genomics to figure out where its new coronavirus outbreak came from, the Newsroom reports.

New Zealand appeared to largely have its COVID-19 outbreak under control, as it logged 102 days without a locally transmitted case, as BBC News reports. However, four family members were discovered earlier this week to have COVID-19 and an additional 14 new cases — 13 of whom have ties to the affected family and one person arrived from abroad — have been reported, it adds. It notes Auckland has been placed into a three-day lockdown and the affected individuals quarantined.

According to the Newsroom, New Zealand is turning to genome sequencing in combination with contact tracing to try to tease out the origins of the four initial new cases. They plan to compare the sequences of those new cases to the viral sequences from individuals in isolation and quarantine facilities as well as to global viral strains.

"That will help us track where this virus may have arisen from and then gotten out into the community," Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says, according to the Newsroom.