New Zealand enter lockdown after one COVID-19 case

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Adern

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern is not taking any chances. After one case of COVID-19 believed to be the first Delta in community transmission, she ordered a level four lockdown for the regions of Auckland and Coromandel for four to seven days.

A level four lockdown requires all citizens to shelter in place in a “bubble” that only includes their immediate household or dependents. They can only leave the house to buy food or medical supplies, to access medical care or for socially distanced exercise. The lockdown will take effect at midnight on Tuesday (August 17).

“Delta has been called a gamechanger, and it is. It means we need to again go hard and early to stop the spread. We have seen what can happen elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it. We only get one chance,” she said.

This is the country’s first locally transmitted case in six months.

But Ardern said the government does yet know if the case is of the Delta variant. However, they are operating under the assumption.

“With Delta raging around the world … it was not a matter of if, but when. As it is, we are one of the last countries in the world to have the Delta variant in our community, so we have had the chance to learn from others,” she said.

“We’ve seen the dire consequences of taking too long to act in other countries, not least our neighbours,” she said.

New Zealand has recorded 26 deaths from the virus since the onset of the pandemic.