New Zealand’s biggest city went into full lockdown — when FOUR people tested positive for COVID-19.
New Zealand had gone 102 days with no new cases in the country, but Auckland announced a family of four had contracted the virus.
In response, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a citywide lockdown as a “precautionary approach,” Reuters reported. In addition, New Zealand will shift to Level 3 of its virus restrictions, which mandates residents stay home from work and school and don’t gather in groups of 10 or more.
In Auckland, more than 1.6 million residents will not be able to leave their homes except for emergencies, to buy food and to seek medical attention.
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“This is something we have prepared for,” she said in a news conference Tuesday. “We have had 102 days and it was easy to feel New Zealand was out of the woods. No country has gone as far as we did without having a resurgence. And because we were the only ones, we had to plan. And we have planned.”
The new restrictions will last until Friday, Ardern said, adding that officials will reassess the situation then.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff tried to assuage residents’ fears. “I am urging Aucklanders to come together like we did last time to stamp out community transmission,” Goff said in a statement. “Please remain calm, please do not panic buy, and please follow the lockdown rules.”
Melbourne, Australia, recently announced a nearly full lockdown for the next six weeks, a phase that runs until Sept. 13.
- Must stay within 5km (3 mi) radius of home.
- Only one person from a household is allowed to shop per day.
- No more than one hour of exercise per day and groups limited to two.
- Recreational activity is banned.
- Curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.
But the government officials say residents “can leave your house if you are at risk of family violence or to apply for an intervention order, and to attend court or a police station,” The Guardian reported.
And masks, of course, are required.
“People must wear a mask or covering whenever leaving the house. There are a few exceptions. People with a medical reason are exempt, as are children younger than 12. Those who have a professional reason are also exempt and “if it’s just not practical, like when running”, but those people will still be expected to carry a face covering at all times ‘to wear when you can,’” the UK paper said.