COVID-19 Returns to New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern puts Auckland on lockdown
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2020 7:36 AM CDT
New Zealand Isn't Free of the Virus After All
In this image from a video, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a news conference in Wellington, New Zealand Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.   (TVNZ via AP)

(Newser) – New Zealand put its biggest city on lockdown Tuesday after four new COVID-19 cases cropped up in the same household, Sky News reports. That means Auckland residents are being told to work at home and leave only for essential needs while nurseries, schools, bars, and restaurants are shut down for three days. Travel out of Auckland and gatherings of over 10 people are also restricted. "One of the most important lessons we've learned from overseas is the need to go hard and go early," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday. "And stamp out flare-ups to avoid the risk of wider outbreak."

"These three days will give us time to assess the situation ... [and] find out more about how this case arose," she added. Indeed, the transmissions are a mystery so far: All four are in the same South Auckland family with no history of traveling abroad, Reuters reports. Now more family members have been tested and "widespread contact tracing" is under way, said Ardern. Her Pacific island nation of 5 million people has been lauded for keeping the coronavirus largely at bay. This mini-outbreak is New Zealand's first case of domestic transmission in 102 days. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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