As has been the case for the last year, New Zealand is not taking any chances when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a man in Auckland tested positive for COVID-19 – the first case in six months – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put the country on a level 4 lockdown, the toughest in New Zealand, which leads to the closure of schools, offices, and all businesses. Only essential services will stay open.
The nationwide lockdown will last three days across the country apart from Auckland and Coromandel, where the man lives and visited respectively. These two locations will be in this strict lockdown for a full week. The goal is to stamp out the possible spreading of the disease. The 58-year-old man has been to 23 locations, knowns "locations of interest", since the possible timeframe he got infected, the New Zealand government said.
"I want to assure New Zealand that we have planned for this eventuality and that we will now be putting in place that plan to contain and stamp out COVID-19 once again," Prime Minister Arden said in a press conference. "Going hard and early has worked for us before. While we know that Delta is a more dangerous enemy to combat, the same actions that overcame the virus last year can be applied to beat it again."
While the border is seen as the most likely source of the infection, officials are yet to find how the virus spread to some of the people quarantined after coming from abroad and this person.
New Zealand's strict response to the pandemic has meant that it's reported 2,926 cases and 26 people lost their lives to the disease. Currently, around 18 percent of its 5-million-strong population is vaccinated against COVID-19.