New Zealand moves to national lockdown over new COVID-19 case

New Zealand will move from current level 1 alert directly to the top level 4 lockdown from midnight after a positive COVID-19 case was identified in the Auckland community, which is likely to be the Delta variant, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at a press conference Tuesday.

The alert level will be reviewed after three days for all areas except Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula which are likely to remain at Level 4 for an initial period of seven days.

Under Alert Level 4, everyone is asked to stay at home or remain in local areas to prevent any further community transmission. All mass gatherings must be canceled. Schools and early childhood centers are closed but services including supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and petrol stations will stay open at Alert Level 4.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the community case was a 58-year-old man in Auckland’s North Shore who lived with his wife and tested positive on Monday. His wife, who was fully vaccinated, tested negative and would be tested again.

The man wasn’t vaccinated but was trying to book an appointment recently, Bloomfield said, adding the case was a community one as a link between the case and the border or managed isolation and quarantine facilities is yet to be established.

“A hard and early response is the best tool to stamp out any potential spread,” said a statement released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Health.

The ministry encourages everyone to wear a mask and keep a 2-meter distance from others and keep on scanning QR codes whenever they leave home.

Meanwhile, there are no new cases to report from managed isolation at the border on Tuesday.

One previously reported case has recovered. The number of active cases in New Zealand is 43, and the total number of confirmed cases is 2,570, said the statement.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border is three, it said.