Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, gives a speech. Photo: Nick Perry / AP / dpa
“We have seen the terrible consequences if you take too long to act,” said Ardern about the strict measures. Since 11:59 p.m. (local time), citizens are only allowed to leave the house for at least three days under certain conditions, for example for medical care or to go shopping in the supermarket. Schools and many businesses will be closed during this time.
According to the authorities, it was the first known local Corona case since the end of February. Since then, until this case, infections have only been detected at the border. According to Ardern, gene sequencing of the coronavirus is being carried out. It can be assumed that it is the delta variant. “We know Delta is a more dangerous enemy,” said Ardern. The measures taken last year could now have an effect again.
The island nation in the South Pacific had largely isolated itself from the outside world in March 2020. Only New Zealand citizens and people residing in the country were allowed to enter. In April, the government opened a travel corridor with neighboring Australia, but it was closed again at the end of July due to a corona wave down under.
The country with five million inhabitants is regarded worldwide as a model state in the fight against the pandemic. So far, only around 2900 infections have been confirmed, 26 people have died in connection with Covid-19.