NZ to go into lockdown after one case detected in community

NZ to go into lockdown after one case detected in community


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New Zealand will go into a snap lockdown after an Auckland man tested positive to COVID-19, the first case in the community since February.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the entire country would move to alert level four from 11.59 on Tuesday for three days, except Auckland which will be in lockdown for seven days.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday.Credit:Getty Images

Ardern said vaccinations would be put on hold for 48 hours while health authorities determined a safe way to proceed with the rollout.

She said the worsening COVID-19 situation in Sydney showed the urgency of the snap lockdown with the Delta variant proving to be a “game changer”.

“We are better to start high [with restrictions] and be cautious and move out as soon as we have the comfort to do so, than to start too low and be in that phase for much, much longer,” she said.

“We only need to look at Australia to see the alternative.

Shoppers line up to enter a supermarket in Auckland on Tuesday. The city is going into a snap seven-day lockdown.Credit:New Zealand Herald/AP

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

New Zealand Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there was no obvious link between the case and New Zealand’s borders.

Bloomfield said 58-year-old unvaccinated man was likely infectious from August 12 and had travelled to Coromandel, a coastal town, on the weekend. He went to his GP with symptoms on Monday.

Bloomfield said the man’s fully vaccinated wife has so far tested negative.

Health authorities are yet to receive the results of genomic testing but are working on the assumption it is the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The level-four restrictions mean residents can only leave their homes for exercise in their neighbourhood, essential shopping, medical care or to get a COVID-19 test.

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