Auckland locked down as Jacinda Ardern announces New Zealand's first coronavirus cases in 102 days

| 12.08,20. 04:13 AM |

Auckland locked down as Jacinda Ardern announces New Zealand's first coronavirus cases in 102 days


Jacinda Ardern says Auckland will move to level three restrictions for three days


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed four new cases of coronavirus, the country's first in 102 days.

The infected people are from the same family in south Auckland.

The source of their infection is unknown.

Ms Ardern said Auckland would now move to level three restrictions for three days as a "precautionary approach", while level two restrictions would be imposed in the rest of the country.

"While we have worked hard to avoid this scenario, we have also prepared for it," she said at an emergency press conference.

She said increased caution was required because the origin of the virus was unknown.

"We have had a 102 days [without a new case] and it was easy to feel New Zealand was out of the woods," she said.

"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 first of the new cases, a person in their 50s, was swabbed on Monday after presenting to their GP.

The test was processed twice and returned two positive results.

The person has no history of overseas travel.

Health officials interviewed the first positive case, and all six of their family members in the same household were tested.

Three were negative and three were positive.

Close contacts have been tested and all remain in isolation for 14 days regardless of their test results.

Health officials are working to trace the origin of the infection and contact tracing is underway.

Ms Ardern said as part of the level three restrictions being imposed, travelling into Auckland would be prohibited for people who did not live in the city.

People will be asked to stay home from work and school, bars and many businesses will be closed and gatherings of more than 10 people are again restricted.

Under the level two restrictions applied to the rest of the country, social distancing measures will be applied again.

Ms Ardern urged people not to rush to supermarkets to stock up.

"We are defining the area covered as Auckland, as the geographic Auckland super city," Ms Ardern said.

Ms Ardern said: "We are not talking about one distinct suburb in Auckland.

"At this stage we have not been able to determine the source of these cases.

"We need to take a much more precautionary approach until we find the source of this case.

"As disruptive it is, a strong and rapid health response remains the best long-term economic response."

She encouraged people in the rest of the country to abide by the level two restrictions that would be imposed.

"That means social distancing applies and mass gathering will need to be limited to 100 people," she said.

"I know that this information will be very difficult to receive," Ms Ardern added.

"As a team, we have also been here before. We know if we have a plan and stick to it … we can work through it."

"We have come too far to go backwards.

"If you are in Auckland, make sure your neighbours are OK."

New Zealand marked 100 days without a domestic transmission of coronavirus on Sunday, but warned against complacency.

ABC



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