2:07 PM PDT, August 17, 2021
New Zealand went into a three-day lockdown on Tuesday after a single case of COVID-19 case was detected in the country.
The last outbreak of the virus in New Zealand was nearly six months ago and reported on Feb. 28, CBS News reported.
“We have seen what happens elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it. We only get one chance,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who spoke at a press conference at Parliament on Tuesday.
The lockdown will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Ardern said. With the exception of exercise or purchasing groceries, she urged people to stay home, a report said.
A level-4, seven-day lockdown for people in the Auckland community, where the person who tested positive with the virus, a 58-year-old man, lives, was also issued. The Coromandel region, the area where the man had reportedly traveled to for the weekend, is also locked down for that amount of time.
Health officials said they performed genome testing that will be available by Wednesday, but officials are operating under the assumption that the man has the Delta variant, CBS reported.
The Prime Minister has been vigilant but also sharing her concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant that would most likely require swifter action compared to other outbreaks, the news outlet said.
Officials said they could not immediately find a link between the man and the handful of people who have tested positive while isolating in quarantine after arriving from abroad. The border is the most likely origin of any outbreaks, CBS News reported.
Approximately 32% of people in New Zealand have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vacccine and 18% are fully vaccinated. Since the pandemic began, New Zealand has reported just 26 virus death.
As of March 2020, the resident population was nearly 5,003, according to Stats NZ.
In the meantime, in nearby Sydney, officials are monitoring a growing outbreak that is causing some concern and is one of the reasons for the stricter mandates in the country.