Sydney, Australia, Aug 17 (EFE).- New Zealand Tuesday declared a three-day nationwide lockdown after health workers detected the first local Covid-19 case in nearly six months.
The restrictions, which come amid fear that the case is related to the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus, will start from Tuesday midnight.
The lockdown in Auckland, the most populous city, and the nearby Coromandel Peninsula will be seven days.
“We have made the decision on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than to go low, not contain the virus and see it move quickly,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters in Wellington.
Ardern has earned global praise for her management of Covid-19 so far.
New Zealanders will only be able to leave their homes with face masks and maintaining social distances to shop, play sports, and undergo tests to detect Covid-19.
New Zealand Health Director-General Ashley Bloomfield told reporters that the 58-year-old man, infected with the virus, had traveled over the weekend to the Coromandel Peninsula.
He got infected last Thursday.
The health authorities have not detected the virus origin or determine if it was from the quarantine centers for international travelers.
Bloomfield said the case was from Auckland, but the Kiwis could not afford to be complacent.
“It is a national matter.”
New Zealand has accumulated more than 2,900 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began last year.
These include 26 deaths and 43 active cases, almost all in quarantine centers.
The New Zealand authorities last week accelerated the vaccination campaign that began in February.
The authorities began giving Pfizer vaccine jabs to the general population of more than 5 million people at the end of July.
The government intends to inoculate all the eligible people before the year-end to reopen its borders.
The country closed its borders in March 2020. EFE