New Zealand is set to enter its highest level of lockdown tonight after detecting a single case of Covid-19 in Auckland, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed.
A 58-year-old man has been found to have the virus – the first coronavirus case within New Zealand’s borders for 170 days.
The strict restrictions comes amid concerns from officials that the man may have highly contagious Delta variant, which has been characterised as being more contagious than the original strain.
New Zealand has only experienced a level four nationwide lockdown once before.
While the latest lockdown – due to last three days – is only the second for communities outside Auckland, the country’s most populous city, since the pandemic began last year.
Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, where the man visited recently, will lenter lockdown for seven days.
Ardern told a news conference that although the strain of the virus the man has is unknown, most of the infections entering managed hotel quarantine had the Delta variant.
The three-day level four lockdown will mean schools move to remote classes and non-essential businesses close — including food delivery services.
Meanwhile, only essential travel is allowed and water activities like swimming are banned.