New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a nationwide lockdown on Tuesday after a new case of COVID-19 was discovered in the biggest city of Auckland. The lockdown will run seven days in Auckland, but three days elsewhere. Ms. Ardern said authorities were assuming the new case was a Delta variant although this has not been confirmed.
New Zealand recorded its first locally transmitted case of Covid-19 in six months, sparking efforts to trace the origins of the infection as officials pondered a response. The health department said the case was identified in Auckland, the country’s largest city, adding “a link between the case and the border or managed isolation is yet to be established”. It said ministers would meet later Tuesday to determine how to respond to New Zealand’s first community case since February 28th.
New Zealand has won widespread praise for its coronavirus response, recording just 26 deaths in a population of five million. But its vaccine rollout has been less stellar, with only around 20 percent of the population fully inoculated. But officials warned last week that the presence of the Delta variant in New Zealand would trigger “a short, sharp lockdown”.
From 11.59pm tonight Tuesday 17 August, all of NZ will move to Alert Level 4. This measure will remain in place for 3 days from 11:59pm tonight for all of NZ, with the exception of Auckland & the Coromandel Peninsular, with both staying in Level 4 likely for the next 7 days. pic.twitter.com/4ieTNv6KTu
— Unite against COVID-19 (@covid19nz) August 17, 2021
Auckland has been forced into several brief periods of lockdown since an initial nationwide response last year succeeded in largely halting the virus at the border.
New Zealand has it’s first case of Covid in 170 days, & PM Jacinda Ahern immediately puts the whole country in lockdown for 3 days.
Auckland, where the man lives, will be locked down for a week.
Don’t fucking mess with
— Ann is still European 🎃 Halloween is coming 🕸🎃 (@56blackcat) August 17, 2021
“A hard and early response is the best tool to stamp out any potential spread and everyone in New Zealand is asked to stay calm, be kind and play their part while we gather more information on the potential case,” the New Zealand Ministry of Health said in a statement.