Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned Wednesday after six more positive tests New Zealanders must brace for additional coronavirus cases from an outbreak that has plunged the previously virus-free country into a snap lockdown.
Ardern confirmed New Zealand was dealing with the highly transmissible Delta variant linked to the outbreak in Australia that authorities have so far been unable to contain.
Ardern said a total of seven cases justified her decision to issue nationwide stay at home orders on Tuesday after the single case was identified covid 19 suspected to the delta variant .
She said one of the new cases was a nurse at Auckland Hospital and another was a teacher at a high school, both representing high risk environments spreading the virus of delta variant.
The infection, an unvaccinated 58 year old Auckland man, ended a six-month run without community transmission in New Zealand, which has recorded only 26 Covid-19 deaths in a population of five million since the start of the pandemic.
Ardern said investigators were trying to work out how the man caught the strain linked to Australia.New Zealand’s the national lockdown first in 15 months is scheduled to last three days, with Auckland and the nearby Coromandel area facing restrictions for a week.
Ardern said there had been three positive border cases this month from Sydney, where an outbreak continues to rage even though stay at home orders have been in place since late June.
Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there were no obvious links between the border cases from New South Wales of which Sydney is the capital and the seven strong cluster in Auckland, four of whom were flatmates in their 20s.
Police confirmed 4 people had been arrested at a small anti lockdown protest in Auckland, with supporters of high-profile conspiracy the orists Billy Te Kahika saying on his social media platforms that he was among those detained.”It is disappointing that some choose to put others at risk” .
It said,”Today’s reintroduction of Level 4 restrictions to activity across New Zealand is a stark example of how unpredictable and disruptive the virus is proving to be”.