AUCKLAND — New Zealand on Tuesday (11/8) announced the closure of its largest city, Auckland, after four new Covid-19 cases were discovered in the city and was the first evidence of local transmission after the country for 102 days of virus-free.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Auckland will be switching to Level 3 restrictions starting Wednesday afternoon (12/8) as “precautionary measures”. As such, people should not work and attend school, as well as meetings of more than 10 people are again forbidden. These restrictions will be applied for three days to Friday (14/8).
Director general of Health Ashley Bloomfield said four confirmed cases came from one family. One of them is at the age of 50 years.
They do not have international travel records. Their family members have been tested and contact tracking is underway.
“This is something we have prepared,” says Ardern in a shocking press conference. He added that increased alertness was done because the virus source is unknown.
“We’ve recorded 102 days (without viruses) and it’s easy to feel New Zealand is out of danger. No country is stepping as far as we are without a revival (virus). And since we are the only one, we must make a plan,” he said.
According to Ardern, a trip to Auckland, on the North Island, will be restricted except for residents living there. Ardern also said other New Zealand territories entered the standby Level 2, starting Wednesday afternoon for three days. That level of preparedness means social restriction rules will be reapplied.
He encourages people not to rush shopping to supermarkets to accumulate logistics and groceries. New Zealand on Sunday (9/8) marked 100 days without the domestic transmission of Corona viruses, but the government warned the public not to be complacent because countries such as Vietnam and Australia, who had successfully controlled the virus, now fought the rise of infection.
Separately, a retired New Zealand village in Christchurch, on South Island, was isolated after its inhabitants showed symptoms of respiratory disease, according to a New Zealand Herald report on Tuesday.