© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Individuals jog previous a social distancing check in Auckland, New Zealand, August 31, 2020
By Praveen Menon
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday introduced a three-day lockdown within the nation’s largest metropolis Auckland, after three COVID-19 circumstances emerged, the primary native infections since late January.
Stage 3 restrictions would require everybody to remain residence aside from important buying and important work, Ardern mentioned, repeating the strict strategy the nation has taken over the previous yr in just about eliminating the pandemic.
“We have now stamped out the virus earlier than and we’ll do it once more,” Ardern advised a information convention within the capital, Wellington.
New Zealand, which had gone greater than two months with out native infections earlier than the January case, is to begin inoculating its 5 million individuals in opposition to the brand new coronavirus on Feb. 20, receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine sooner than anticipated.
Restrictions had been raised to degree 3 by means of Wednesday, shutting public venues and prohibiting gatherings outdoors houses, aside from weddings and funerals of as much as 10 individuals. Colleges will keep open for youngsters of important staff however others had been requested to remain residence.
Sunday’s circumstances had been a pair and their daughter in Auckland, the primary native infections since Jan. 24.
Well being authorities are looking for out whether or not these circumstances contain any of the brand new, extremely infectious variants and the way the household contracted the virus, Ardern mentioned.
“Three days ought to give us sufficient time to assemble additional data, undertake large-scale testing and set up if there was wider neighborhood transmission,” she mentioned. “That’s what we imagine the cautious strategy requires and its the suitable factor to do.”
The prime minister mentioned there was no have to top off on items, as important companies – together with supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations – would stay open. Nonetheless, lengthy queues fashioned outdoors Auckland supermarkets, and photos on social media confirmed empty grocery cabinets.
Airways have been contacted, as the girl within the contaminated household works for an airline catering firm, LSG Sky Cooks, the place she largely works in laundry amenities, officers mentioned.
The COVID-19 alert for the remainder of the nation was raised to degree 2, with all gatherings restricted to 100 individuals, together with at eating places and cafes.
Australia on Sunday reported two new native COVID-19 circumstances within the nation’s second-most populous state, Victoria, on the second day of a snap lockdown to comprise the unfold of the extremely infectious UK variant.
The 2 circumstances, together with a 3-year-old little one, had been the primary who weren’t family contacts of a cluster of contaminated staff at a quarantine lodge at Melbourne airport which triggered the five-day lockdown, well being authorities mentioned.
The lodge cluster has now affected 16 individuals.
New Zealand and Australia closed their worldwide borders and launched strict social distancing guidelines early within the pandemic, dramatically decreasing the unfold of the virus. New Zealand was ranked the best-performing nation in an index of virtually 100 nations based mostly on containment of the coronavirus.