New Zealand Puts Nation Into Lockdown on Single Covid Case

By BLOOMBERG

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put the nation into a three-day lockdown after reporting the first community case of Covid since February.

The nation will be placed in lockdown at midnight tonight after discovery of a single case in Auckland, Ardern said at a news conference in Wellington. Auckland and the nearby Coromandel region will be in lockdown for seven days.

Under the so-called alert level 4, all schools, public venues and most businesses must close while people are being urged to work from home and wear a face covering if they need to venture out.

“Going hard and early has worked for us before,” she told reporters. She said officials assume the case is the delta variant, adding that strain “has been called a game changer, and it is.”

New Zealand has 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 highly infectious delta variant that has forced large parts of neighboring Australia back into lockdown.