New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered a mandatory, three-day lockdown for Auckland, New Zealand, after a couple and their daughter all tested positive for COVID-19.
The new cases make four confirmed coronavirus cases in the last three months in the country.
This is the first lockdown to take place in New Zealand in six months and requires all Auckland residents to remain at home unless they are shopping for essentials or working an essential job.
What are the details?
During a Sunday conference, Ardern said, “We have stamped out the virus before and we will do it again. We have a plan that works for our team of 5 million, and you have shown that time and time again.”
“Three days should give us enough time to gather further information, undertake large-scale testing, and establish if there has been wider community transmission,” she added. “That is what we believe the cautious approach requires, and it’s the right thing to do.”
She added, “I’m asking New Zealanders to continue to be strong and to be kind. I know we all feel the same way when this happens. We all get that sense of ‘not again.’ But remember, we have been here before and that means we know how to get out of this again, and that is together.”
The adult woman infected by the virus works for an airline catering company, according to reports.
According to NBC News, “Officials are investigating whether there is a link to infected passengers. Officials said the woman hadn’t been going aboard the planes herself.”
Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, one of New Zealand’s top health officials, added, “As we continue to explore all possible sources of transmission for these cases, we will take a particularly close interest in this workplace because of its obvious connections to the border.”
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins weighed in on the developments, and said that the country is busy fact-finding and contact tracing.
“We are gathering all of the facts as quickly as we can, and the system that served us so well in the past is really gearing up to do so again,” Hipkins said. “New Zealand has kept COVID-19 contained better than almost any other country. But as we have kept saying, there is no such thing as no risk.”
At the time of this reporting, researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that there have been at least 2,337 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, with at least 26 deaths attributed to the virus.
Auckland shifted to Alert Level 3, rest of NZ to level 2 | nzherald.co.nz