NZ’s Auckland City Imposes ‘Circuit Breaker’ For 3 Days, Public Venues, Bars & Restaurants To Close
New Zealand has been a shining example to the whole world on how to control the spread of Covid-19.
Its last active cases recovered on 8 Jun, and the country went 102 days without any community transmission.
Unfortunately, that steak has come to an end. 4 new cases were detected in Auckland, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will impose a version of a ‘Circuit Breaker’ on the city.
4 cases of unknown origin
On Tuesday (11 Aug), New Zealand announced something that it hadn’t announced for a few months — new community cases of Covid-19.
4 of them, in fact, according to a press statement from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health (NZMOH).
All 4 cases came from the same household, and most worryingly, are of unknown origin, the ministry said.
Index case had no overseas travel history
The origin is unknown as the index case, identified as a person aged 50-something from South Auckland, had no travel history.
The person showed symptoms of Covid-19 for 5 days, and was tested twice.
The infection was confirmed on Tuesday (11 Aug) after the 2nd test.
The authorities proceeded to test the index case’s household members and 3 of them tested positive.
3 other household members tested negative, NZMOH said.
The authorities have placed close contacts and casual contacts under self-isolation.
PM puts Auckland on level 3 alert
In response to the new infections, Ms Ardern said that she was putting Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, on a level 3 alert.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (11 Aug), she said it would take effect from mid-day on Wednesday (12 Aug) to midnight on Friday (14 Aug).
Only children of essential workers can attend school
Essentially, New Zealand’s alert level 3 is somewhat like Singapore’s ‘Circuit Breaker’.
One similarity is that schoolchildren will have to learn from home, and only those whose parents work in essential services will be allowed to attend school physically.
Like in Singapore, bars and restaurants will be closed except for takeaway.
Essential services like supermarkets and pharmacies will be open.
Auckland residents are also advised to stay at home and leave home only for essential purposes, and exercise within one’s local area.
Rest of NZ moves to alert level 2
The new measures aren’t only for Auckland, as Ms Ardern also put the rest of the country under alert level 2.
That means, among other measures, that gatherings are limited to 100 people.
However, schools will stay open, and safe distancing in public is advised.
Let’s hope that NZ succeeds again
The last time that New Zealand was put under lockdown was in March, when the highest alert level 4 was imposed.
Since it was lifted, the country has been lauded as a Covid-19 success story.
While it was probably inevitable that the virus would surface again, let’s hope that the country manages to control it as effectively as it did last time.
Featured image adapted from Facebook.