Wellington: New Zealand announced its first locally transmitted coronavirus infections more than 100 days on Tuesday and issued a stay-at-home lockdown order for the country’s largest city.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has received global acclaim for successfully spreading the virus. He said that four cases were found in a family in Oakland for unknown reasons.
“After 102 days, we have our first cases of COVID-19 outside of managed isolation or quarantine facilities… we have all worked incredibly hard to prevent this scenario,” she told the country in a televised address.
“We have also planned and prepared for it.”
Until Tuesday, the World Health Organization had hailed the country as an example to others for having “successfully eliminated community transmission”.
Since May 1, only 22 of the 22 million people reported by New Zealand have died, and no community transmission has been recorded.
As a result, New Zealanders have always enjoyed a nearly normal lifestyle, without social distancing, and have not allowed spectators in sports and cultural events.
But health authorities have repeatedly warned people not to be complacent, saying that the second wave of infections is “inevitable.”
From Wednesday, Auckland will be locked for at least three days, and other parts of the country will reintroduce some social restrictions.