New Zealand on August 17, 2021 recorded its first locally transmitted case of Covid-19 in six months. This immediately led the New Zealand government to impose a three-day snap national lockdown. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the nation, which had not recorded any infections in the community for six months, could not take any chances with the “game-changer” Delta strain.

Arden said in a televised national address, “We have seen what can happen elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it. We only get one chance.”

Where has the COVID case been detected?

The single case has been identified in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, as per the nation’s health department. The health authorities are still tracing the origin of the case and no link has yet been established between the case and the border. 

New Zealand’s response to first locally-transmitted case

•The New Zealand Ministers would meet on August 17 to determine how to respond to the nation’s first community case since February 28.

•The New Zealand health department said that a hard and early response is the best tool to stamp out any potential spread. Each person in New Zealand has been asked to stay calm, be kind and play their part while the health department gathers more information on the potential case.

Further details on the same are awaited. 

New Zealand lockdown 

•Auckland has been forced earlier into several brief periods of lockdown since the initial national lockdown in 2020 that successfully halted the virus at the border.

•The most recent lockdown orders in the city, which is home to two million people, had ended in March 2021. 
Health officials had though warned last week that the presence of the Delta variant in New Zealand would trigger “a short, sharp lockdown”.

Background 

•New Zealand is one of the very few nations that had battled COVID-19 successfully and made the country largely free of the virus. The nation had won worldwide praise for its response to COVID-19. 

•New Zealand has so far recorded just 26 deaths in a population of five million. The nation had not needed to impose a national lockdown for more than a year and life had almost returned to normal in the country with no limits on social gatherings and limited mask use.

•The nation, however, maintained strict border controls with mandatory two-week quarantine for international arrivals.

•The nation’s vaccine rollout has though not been up to mark, as only around 20 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. 

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