New Zealand to go into hard lockdown after one Covid case found in Auckland

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Watch: New Zealand to go into hard lockdown after one Covid case found in Auckland

New Zealand is going into a level 4 lockdown after reporting its first case of Covid-19 in the community in six months.

Health officials said the positive case was found in its largest city of Auckland on Tuesday afternoon and has no known link to outside the country.

The hard lockdown measures will come into place at 11.59pm on Tuesday and last for three days for the entire country and a minimum of seven days in Auckland.

New Zealand health chief Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there is no link between Auckland’s Covid case and the border.

The last community outbreak was in February and New Zealand has reported just 26 virus deaths since the pandemic began. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised a tough approach, including possible lockdowns, for any outbreaks of the Delta variant as New Zealand continues to pursue a zero-tolerance approach towards the virus.

Ms Ardern rushed back to the capital Wellington from Auckland to attend a cabinet meeting, state broadcaster TVNZ reported.

The Auckland Regional Public Health unit is holding interviews with the case for contact tracing purposes, a statement said.

“Ministers will meet this afternoon once additional information is gathered to confirm a response,” it added.

New Zealand has followed a go hard and early response that has helped it virtually eliminate Covid-19 throughout the country, allowing people to live without restrictions.

However, its border remains largely closed.

University of Auckland coronavirus modeller Professor Shaun Hendy, who has helped the government model its response to the virus, said Aucklanders must take precautions and assume they have been exposed to the virus.

“If there is a link to the border, then there is a chance we’ve caught this outbreak at an early stage. If not, then there will be more cases out there,” he said on Twitter.

“In either case we should be prepared for an alert level change in Auckland, if not other parts of the country.”

Watch: New Zealand to Keep Its Borders Closed Through the End of 2021

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