NEW ZEALAND Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a temporary lockdown of Auckland as the city recorded its first four cases of coronavirus after 102 infection-free days.
The New Zealand leader urged people in Auckland to stay at home for the next three days as she announced a new temporary local lockdown of the city. Four new cases of coronavirus were recorded, Jacinda Ardern said, after 102 days of the country being infection-free. The Prime Minister urged people not to rush to supermarkets as she reassured food shops and pharmacies would remain open.
Addressing the nation from Wellington, she said: “We’ve learned from overseas that there is a need to go hard and go early and stamp out the risk of a wider outbreak.
“As disruptive as it is our strong response remains the best long-term economic response.
“In line with our precautionary approach we will be asking Aucklanders to take swift action with us.
“As of 12 noon tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12, we will be moving Auckland to level three restrictions for a period of three days until midnight on Friday.
“These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have widespread contact tracing so we can find out more about how these cases arose and make decisions on how to respond to it once we have further information.”
She added: “We are asking people in Auckland to stay home to stop the spread.
“This means doing the simple things that you’re already familiar with to prevent picking up the virus or passing it onto others.
“Act as if you have COVID and as if people around you have COVID.”
She urged people to stay at home in their bubbles and only leave the house for essential food shopping or outdoor sports activities.
All schools and childcare facilities will also be closed from Wednesday morning, except for children of essential workers.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will be closed and gatherings of more than 10 people banned in Auckland.
“Food and supplies will continue to be readily available,” she added.
“Food delivery is also available as you recall at level three.
“Please do not rush to the supermarket tonight.
“You will recall as when we were in level three on the last occasion that supermarkets will be open and there will be ample stock on the shelves.
“There is no reason to go out and make any purchases this evening.”
The announcement comes after a retirement village was put into lockdown as residents displayed symptoms of respiratory illness, the New Zealand Herald reported on Tuesday.
The Village Palms retirement village in Christchurch advised of the lockdown in a letter to family members today, the newspaper said. No further details were immediately available.
New Zealand, which has managed to largely contain the spread of the coronavirus, has gone more than 100 days without community transmission of COVID-19.