WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand’s authorities took drastic motion Tuesday by placing all the nation right into a strict lockdown for at the least three days after discovering a single case of coronavirus an infection locally.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern invoked a number of the stirring rhetoric she used early within the pandemic by urging the “workforce of 5 million” — New Zealand’s inhabitants — to go exhausting and early in making an attempt to eradicate the newest outbreak.
“Now we have seen what occurs elsewhere if we fail to get on prime of it,” Ardern mentioned. “We solely get one probability.”
She mentioned Auckland, the place the contaminated man lives, and Coromandel, the place he had visited, would go right into a full lockdown for seven days and the rest of the nation for 3 days whereas well being specialists tried to search out the supply of his an infection.
The developments prompted folks to line up exterior supermarkets to replenish on important objects and sparked a pointy drop within the worth of the New Zealand greenback.
New Zealand had managed to stamp out the virus, and the final outbreak was in February. However Ardern had been warning that the contagiousness of the delta variant would probably require extra drastic motion than earlier outbreaks.
New Zealand has additionally been slower than different developed nations to inoculate its inhabitants, leaving it weak to outbreaks. Solely 32% of individuals have had at the least one shot and 18% are absolutely vaccinated.
And officers have been viewing a rising outbreak in close by Sydney with alarm, saying they do not wish to make the identical errors by ready too lengthy to impose strict measures.
Well being officers mentioned genome testing wouldn’t confirm till Wednesday whether or not the contaminated 58-year-old man had the delta variant, though they have been working below the belief he does.
Officers mentioned they may not instantly discover a connection between the person and the handful of people that have examined Positive whereas isolating in quarantine after arriving from overseas. The border is seen because the almost definitely supply of any outbreaks.
The transfer into the strictest lockdown underscored the vastly totally different method New Zealand has taken to the virus than most different nations, which try to suppress its unfold slightly than eradicate it completely.
New Zealand has reported simply 26 virus deaths because the pandemic started.
The lockdown takes impact from simply earlier than midnight Tuesday. It requires folks to stay at house and keep away from others. Most individuals can go away solely to purchase groceries or train. The nation’s vaccination program had been accelerating however has been suspended for 2 days because of the outbreak.