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Coronavirus Australia: New Zealand plunged into three-day lockdown over one case

New Zealand is plunged into a three-day lockdown and Auckland for a whole week over just ONE case of coronavirus

  • New Zealand will enter a level four three day lockdown from 11.59pm Tuesday
  • Lockdown to be extended to one week in Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula
  • Can only leave home for exercise, groceries or testing and must wear a mask 
  • Auckland man, 58, tested positive, was infectious in community for five days

New Zealand has been plunged into a snap lockdown after a mystery case of Covid-19  was recorded in Auckland.

The entire country will enter a three day level four lockdown from 11.59pm Tuesday, which will be extended to a week in Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula.

A 58-year-old Auckland man, who is unvaccinated, tested positive on Tuesday and is believed to have been infectious for the last five days. He had travelled with his wife to Coromandel on the weekend.

The case is being treated as the highly contagious Delta strain until genome testing results come back on Wednesday.

Kiwis can only leave their homes for exercise, getting groceries or getting a test and must wear a mask.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged the country to follow the rules ‘to the letter’ and referred to Australia’s difficulty in controlling the spread of the virus when she addressed the nation on Tuesday night.

‘Delta has been called a game changer and it is, it means that we again need to go hard and early to stop the spread,’ she said. 

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has announced the country will go into lockdown from 11.59pm Tuesday

‘We’ve seen elsewhere what can happen if we fail to get on top of it. We only get one chance.’

‘We have made the decision on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than to go low, not contain the virus and see it move quickly.’ 

‘We’ve seen the dire consequences of taking too long to act in other countries, not at least our neighbours.’ 

‘I’m asking the team of five million to unite once more to defeat what is likely the more transmissible and deadly variant of the virus.

‘Remember to always act like you have Covid-19, stay clear of others; don’t put them in harm’s way in the same way you would expect that they don’t put you in harm’s way.’

All schools and non-essential businesses will shut down for the duration of lockdown, while Covid-19 vaccinations have been suspended for the next 48 hours. 

Health officials are now scrambling to identify how the man became infected, which at this stage shows there is no immediate link to any high-risk settings. 

New Zealand's Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the government's response to an outbreak of the Delta variant is likely to be 'swift and severe' (pictured, medical staff test people in their car at drive-through clinic in Wellington)

New Zealand’s Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the government’s response to an outbreak of the Delta variant is likely to be ‘swift and severe’ (pictured, medical staff test people in their car at drive-through clinic in Wellington)

‘A link between the case and the border or managed isolation is yet to be established,’ the Ministry of Health said.

‘While we collect more specific information all New Zealanders are reminded of the basic public health measures of mask wearing and hand washing.’

Ten Auckland exposure sites have been listed with another 13 in Coromandel.

The new case is the first New Zealand has recorded since February.

University of Auckland COVID-19 modeller Professor Shaun Hendy urged  Aucklanders to 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. In either case we should be prepared for an Alert Level change in Auckland, if not other parts of the country,’ Hendy tweeted.

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