“Beating Delta means upping our game,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who announced that New Zealand would be under the strictest level of blockade after a single confirmed case of COVID-19.
Single case of COVID sends New Zealand into lockdown in just a few hours
New Zealand has entered the country’s strictest level of lockdown after its first locally transmitted case of COVID-19 since February was confirmed.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a three-day national lockdown during a press conference on Tuesday, with the lockdown taking effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight, according to CNN.
The level four lockdown requires everyone to stay home and non-essential businesses to remain closed. In addition, masks are required at all times when people must leave the house.
The lockdown comes after an unvaccinated 58-year-old man in Auckland, the country’s largest city, tested positive for COVID-19. Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the man had recently traveled to other parts of the country and was linked to the border.
In addition to the three-day blockade, Auckland and Coromandel (a coastal town where the infected spent time) will remain on lockdown for seven days. Meanwhile, the Auckland Regional Public Health unit is interviewing those infected to determine who they may have been in contact with, according to Reuters.
Although tests are still ongoing, authorities assume he was infected with the Delta variant, Ardern said.
“The best thing we can do to get out of this as quickly as possible is to make an effort,” he said Tuesday.
“We’ve made the decision on the basis that it’s better to start high and get the levels down rather than to go down, not contain the virus and watch it move quickly,” Arden added.
The shutdown comes as part of Ardern’s strategy of “do everything possible, go early” which has helped curb COVID cases and deaths in the country.
There have been fewer than 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 26 related deaths in New Zealand, which has a population of about 5 million, CNN reported.