“Stay local and do not congregate. Don’t talk to your neighbours. Please keep to your bubbles. It comes down again to those very simple principles. We know from overseas cases of the Delta variant that it can be spread by people simply walking past one another. So, keep those movements outside to the bare minimum,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in an earlier press conference.
The island nation shut itself down over a single Covid case yesterday. After testing, there are now four new cases of Covid, placing New Zealand into a level four alert where only ‘essential contact between people’ is allowed.
One of the positive cases is a fully vaccinated health worker at Auckland City Hospital. The hospital has since brought in extra Covid measures to restrict movement.
The three-day lockdown is part of Ardern’s ‘go hard and go early’ approach to Covid.
“As it is, we are one of the last countries in the world to have the Delta variant in our community. This has given us the chance to learn from others. And while this is a situation that no one wants to be in, there are benefits to being amongst the last.
“We are in the position to learn from experience overseas and what actions work, and what actions don’t work.
“Delta has been called a game-changer,” said Ardern, at a Covid press conference this morning.
Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula are expected to be under level four alert for at least seven days, due to their higher population density.
While this is the first case of community Covid in over six months, it has come at a high cost to residents of New Zealand. The nation has been turned into a prison state, locking itself off from the rest of the world.
Over the course of the pandemic, New Zealand has reported 2,926 cases and 26 deaths. All of their deaths were in the over fifties category, with the majority being over seventy – which is similar to global statistics.
Ardern has indicated that she intends to stick to New Zealand’s Covid-Zero policy indefinitely. The earliest that vaccinated travellers from low risk countries can expect to enter New Zealand is 2022.
“Just like after 9/11, the border will never be the same after Covid,” said Ardern, at the time. “Things can change, but that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt to them in a way that eventually feels normal again.”