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New Zealand locks down Auckland after 3 new native COVID-19 circumstances By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Folks jog previous a social distancing check in Auckland, New Zealand, August 31, 2020

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By Praveen Menon

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday introduced a three-day lockdown within the nation’s greatest metropolis Auckland, after three COVID-19 circumstances emerged, the primary native infections since late January.

Degree 3 restrictions would require everybody to remain house apart from important buying and important work, Ardern stated, repeating the strict strategy the nation has taken over the previous 12 months in nearly eliminating the pandemic.

“We’ve stamped out the virus earlier than and we are going to do it once more,” Ardern informed a information convention within the capital, Wellington.

New Zealand, which had gone greater than two months with out native infections earlier than the January case, is to start out inoculating its 5 million individuals towards the brand new coronavirus on Feb. 20, receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine sooner than anticipated.

Restrictions had been raised to stage 3 via Wednesday, shutting public venues and prohibiting gatherings outdoors houses, apart from weddings and funerals of as much as 10 individuals. Faculties will keep open for youngsters of important employees however others had been requested to remain house.

Sunday’s circumstances had been a pair and their daughter in Auckland, the primary native infections since Jan. 24.

Well being authorities are looking for out whether or not these circumstances contain any of the brand new, extremely infectious variants and the way the household contracted the virus, Ardern stated.

“Three days ought to give us sufficient time to assemble additional info, undertake large-scale testing and set up if there was wider group transmission,” she stated. “That’s what we imagine the cautious strategy requires and its the suitable factor to do.”

The prime minister stated there was no have to top off on items, as important companies – together with supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations – would stay open. Nonetheless, lengthy queues shaped outdoors Auckland supermarkets, and photos on social media confirmed empty grocery cabinets.

Airways have been contacted, as the girl within the contaminated household works for an airline catering firm, LSG Sky Cooks, the place she principally works in laundry services, officers stated.

The COVID-19 alert for the remainder of the nation was raised to stage 2, with all gatherings restricted to 100 individuals, together with at eating places and cafes.

Australia on Sunday reported two new native COVID-19 circumstances within the nation’s second-most populous state, Victoria, on the second day of a snap lockdown to comprise the unfold of the extremely infectious UK variant.

The 2 circumstances, together with a 3-year-old baby, had been the primary who weren’t family contacts of a cluster of contaminated employees at a quarantine lodge at Melbourne airport which triggered the five-day lockdown, well being authorities stated.

The lodge cluster has now affected 16 individuals.

New Zealand and Australia closed their worldwide borders and launched strict social distancing guidelines early within the pandemic, dramatically decreasing the unfold of the virus. New Zealand was ranked the best-performing nation in an index of just about 100 nations primarily based on containment of the coronavirus.