New Zealand entered a strict three-day national lockdown Tuesday after a single case of coronavirus was detected in Auckland, the first locally transmitted example in six months.
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,” the former president of the International Union of Socialist Youth said.