New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, announced its second lockdown in a month on Sunday, with health officials trying to contain a cluster of more contagious coronavirus variants first detected in the United Kingdom.
Exactly one year after New Zealand registered its first coronavirus case in a Country came again to a seven-day lockdown with a population of nearly two million.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced late on Saturday that there was a new coronavirus case in the community that was not directly related to previous cases.
In this case the 21-year-old student had been suffering from an infection for a week, but was not alone.
“Despite our best efforts so far, recent cases have come to work when they were not,” Ordern told a television news conference. “There may be additional cases in the community.”
The lockdown follows a three-day stay-at-home order on Sunday in mid-February following the local emergence of a UK variant of the new coronavirus causing COVID-19. The cluster now has about 14 cases.
“COVID kills people. We must never lose sight of the reasons we take these measures – it is to save our people’s lives and our livelihoods,” said Ardern.
Opposition leader Judith Collins has called for tougher fines for those who do not follow public health advice on loneliness.
“No one wants to be yo-yo-in and lockdown,” Collins said in a statement.
The new lockdown, with Level 3 restrictions, allows people to leave home only for essential shopping and essential tasks. Public venues will be closed.
Restrictions on Level 2 will be tightened in other countries, including restrictions on public meetings.
These measures have complicated many high-profile sporting events planned in Auckland.
The head-to-head final between Italy and New Zealand, which starts on March 6, has been postponed to at least March 10, the organizers of the US Cup Yacht Race said on Sunday.
New Zealand’s fourth Twenty20 international cricket match against Australia has been moved to Wellington, where it will be played behind closed doors on Friday.
Some social media users around the world have expressed frustration over the strong response that locks a big city in a single case, with one Twitter user writing “they are insane”.
However, New Zealand has been extremely successful in preventing the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, combined with rapid public health measures, aggressive contact tracing, and border closures that have been frequently implemented over the past year.
New Zealand, with a population of five million, has reported more than 2,000 cases of coronavirus and 26 deaths since the outbreak began.