Follow us for updates
© 2021
Read the Story →

New Zealand Goes Into Lockdown Over One COVID Case

Suspected to be the Delta variant.
by Agence France Presse
3 hours ago
Photo/s: Pixabay

WELLINGTON -- New Zealand moved into a snap three-day lockdown Tuesday after identifying a single case of locally transmitted COVID-19 suspected to be the Delta variant, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Ardern said New Zealand, which had not recorded any infections in the community for six months, could not take any chances with the "game changer" Delta strain.

"We have seen what can happen elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it. We only get one chance," Ardern said in a televised national address.

More on the Delta variant

The New Zealand leader cited Australia's struggles to contain the highly transmissible Delta variant for her "short, sharp" reaction to the case, which was found in a 58-year-old Auckland man.

"We are better to start high and be cautious, then move out as soon as we are comfortable doing so, than to start low and be in that phase (lockdown) for much, much longer," she said.

Continue reading below ↓

"You only need to look at Australia to see the alternative. In New Zealand, 'go hard, go early' has served us well."

The initial plan is for New Zealand to remain in lockdown for three days from Tuesday night, with Auckland and the nearby Coromandel area facing the restrictions for a week.

Officials said a major factor behind the strong response is the fact that the Auckland case has no obvious connection to the border or managed isolation.

New Zealand has won widespread praise for its coronavirus response, recording just 26 deaths in a population of five million.

It has meant there were no national stay-at-home orders for more than a year and domestic life remained close to normal, with no limits on social gatherings and limited mask use.

Continue reading below ↓
Recommended Videos

But the country's vaccine rollout has been less stellar, with only around 20% of the population fully inoculated.

Ardern said New Zealand was one of the last places in the world to record Delta in the community but it had to be assumed the strain was now present, even though laboratory tests would not offer confirmation until Wednesday.

Continue reading below ↓

"Every case we've had at MIQ (border quarantine) recently has been the Delta variant and Delta is surging around the world," she said. 

"We need to assume this will be too and this has shaped all the decisions we have made."

Reportr is now on Quento. Download the app or visit the Quento website for more articles and videos from Reportr and your favorite websites.

Latest Headlines
Read Next
Recent News
Download it when it's stable, or now if you can't wait.
Tripartite deals for at least 10 million doses remain unsigned, senator says.
Leopoldo Serantes gave the Philippines its sixth Olympic medal.
Suspected to be the Delta variant.
The news. So what? Subscribe to the newsletter that explains what the news means for you.
The email address you entered is invalid.
Thank you for signing up to On Three, reportr's weekly newsletter delivered to your mailbox three times a week. Only the latest, most useful and most insightful reads.
By signing up to newsletter, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.