© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses supporters at a Labour Get together occasion in Wellington, New Zealand, October 11, 2020. REUTERS/Praveen Menon/File Photograph
By Praveen Menon
WELLINGTON (Reuters) -Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put New Zealand beneath strict lockdown on Tuesday after the nation’s first coronavirus case in six months was reported within the largest metropolis of Auckland.
Ardern’s “go laborious, go early” technique has helped curb COVID-19 however her announcement left folks struggling to stack up necessities, companies shutting abruptly and faculties and workplaces making last-minute adjustments to go surfing.
All New Zealand will likely be within the hardest, level-four lockdown for at the least three days from Wednesday. Auckland and Coromandel, a coastal city the place the contaminated individual additionally hung out, will likely be in lockdown for seven days.
“The very best factor we will do to get out of this as shortly as we will is to go laborious,” Ardern informed a information convention.
“We’ve got made the choice on the idea that it’s higher to start out excessive and go down ranges slightly than to go low, not include the virus and see it transfer shortly.”
Colleges, workplaces and companies will shut and solely important companies will likely be operational.
Buyers crowded supermarkets as information of the brand new case and the approaching lockdown unfold.
Ardern mentioned authorities had been assuming the affected person, a 58-year-old man from Auckland who was not recognized, had contracted the extremely contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 though genome sequencing was but to be accomplished.
There may be different instances, she mentioned.
The Auckland Regional Public Well being unit is interviewing the affected person for contact-tracing functions and COVID-19 vaccinations are to be suspended for at the least 48 hours.
‘LIFTING OUR GAME’
The final reported neighborhood case of COVID-19 in New Zealand was in February. Its residents have been dwelling with out restrictions though worldwide borders have largely remained closed.
The nation has general reported about 2,500 confirmed coronavirus instances and 26 associated deaths.
Ardern mentioned that beneath the level-four lockdown folks should keep at dwelling, leaving just for important companies. Protecting face masks needs to be worn always when leaving dwelling.
“Beating Delta means lifting our sport,” Ardern mentioned.
“I ask New Zealanders to please comply with the principles to the letter. We all know from proof abroad that the Delta variant can unfold simply by strolling previous somebody.”
The New Zealand greenback tumbled on the announcement, falling 1.5% to $0.6926 after the lockdown was introduced.
The Reserve Financial institution of New Zealand is broadly anticipated to lift rates of interest on Wednesday. However one financial institution, Westpac, mentioned it now anticipated the central financial institution to maintain the official money price (OCR) unchanged.
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