New Zealand Locked Down After One Coronavirus Case Reported


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

    Despite that virus-free stretch, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed she would move to Alert Level Four on the presumption the Delta variant has been isolated, saying it was important for the country to “go hard and go early.”

    Level Four means reducing contact between people to the bare, essential minimum with the closing of schools, offices and all businesses with only essential services remaining operational.

    “As we've seen overseas, particularly in Sydney, unnecessary trips outdoors can spread the virus,” she said, Nine News reports.

    There is no immediate link between this case and any possible breach of the New Zealand border.

    “We will not be able to identify if this is a case of the Delta variant until genome sequencing comes back tomorrow,”Ardern said.

    Just around 20 percent of the New Zealand population has been fully vaccinated, the New Zealand Herald reports, with the underlining principle for Level Four designed to reduce contact between people to a bare minimum with essential contact only.

    “That means the simplest thing New Zealanders can do to reduce the spread of virus is to stay at home. Beating Delta means lifting our game.

    “I ask New Zealanders to follow the rules to the letter,” Ardern said.

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