Batch of homemade coronavirus mutations seen in the United States

People are being tested for Covid-19 at a busy test station in Otara Town Center on February 15 in Auckland, New Zealand. Fiona Goodall / Getty Images

Two of the three new Covid-19 cases that sent the New Zealand city of Auckland into lockdown are confirmed to be a variant of the virus first discovered in the UK.

The three local Covid-19 cases reported Sunday are a mother, father and daughter from the same household in South Auckland, said Director General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield Sunday at a news conference. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said one of the trio works in a facility that washes laundry for airlines.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told CNN authorities that individual hiring may be the “link” to the virus.

These cases led the authorities to adopt a three-day shutdown for the whole of Auckland, a city of about 1.5 million people and the country’s largest population center, starting Sunday at 1 p.m. 23.59

“We’ve been dealing with more transferable versions, mutations of Covid-19. We want to be very careful. So that’s why we’ve taken this very cautious approach,” Ardern said. “What we want people to do is stay home. And then for the next 72 hours, if you’re in Auckland, you have to be home.”

Goff said New Zealand has found success in containing the virus when authorities “go strong and go early.”

“The government made the decision and consulted us in Auckland that we should react in the same way this time,” he said. “So after a beautiful weekend of watching America’s Cup yacht races and people enjoying the sunshine and the beaches and the parks and at the festivals, we are suddenly in a 72-hour lockdown.”

Goff said 6,000 to 7,000 people will now be tested for the virus, and if those tests come back clean, authorities may be able to lift the new stringent measures.

No new cases were reported Monday, the country’s health ministry said in a statement

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