New Zealand Goes Into Nationwide Lockdown Over Single Delta Case, Detects 6 More


Wellington: New Zealand entered into a strict nationwide lockdown after the discovery of the first community case of Covid-19 since February.

A further six cases have been identified in New Zealand, all connected to the single delta infection discovered Tuesday, said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“Delta has been a game-changer, we’re responding to that,” Ardern said. “The best thing we can do to get out of this as quickly as we can is to go hard.”

Ardern put the nation into a three-day lockdown from midnight Tuesday, assuming the initial case — an unvaccinated Auckland man in his 50s — had the more infectious delta strain. Auckland and the nearby Coromandel region, where the man and his wife had visited, are facing a seven-day lockdown.

It is New Zealand’s first nationwide lockdown since the initial pandemic response over a year ago. Under so-called Alert Level 4, all schools, public venues and most businesses must close and people are urged to wear a face covering if they need to venture out. Only shops providing essential services such as groceries, gasoline and health products can stay open.

New Zealand has so far largely kept the virus out of the community, allowing its economy to recover quickly during the pandemic. But a slow vaccine rollout has left it vulnerable to another outbreak, particularly of the delta strain that is challenging virus containment efforts around the world.

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