New Zealand has expanded the lockdown of its most populous city as the country is battling a new community coronavirus outbreak that occurred months later without any cases of local transmission.
Just five days ago, New Zealand marked fortunate milestone-100 days without any community transmission. But here this week proved how fast everything can change, even in a country like New Zealand that has always been believed a world leader in handling the virus.
On Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland-the city of about 1.5 million people at the center of the new epidemic-will continue to be in a state of three-level confinement for 12 days, while the rest of the country will remain at the second level. Below the level limit, this means that the party is limited to no more than 100 people. The rule expands the restrictions that took effect earlier this week.
What caused the outbreak?
There remains a major unresolved question: how did this outbreak occur?
The remote island nation imposed strict border controls in March, which means that in most cases; only New Zealanders are allowed to enter New Zealand-those who do arrive from abroad need to stay in the national quarantine facility for 14 days. According to the Ministry of Health, 68% of cases in New Zealand were imported or related to imported cases.
Compare with others:
The recent outbreak in New Zealand is similar to Australia and Hong Kong. After the number of infections was low and the virus appeared to be under control, both places adopted strict border measures, only to make the virus reappear.
In Victoria, Australia, a lockdown imposed in Melbourne. On Thursday, Victoria (about 6 million people) has more than 7,800 active cases of the coronavirus, of which 275 have died.
In Hong Kong-where approximately 7.5 million people live-there are approximately 1,000 active cases, 32 of which are in critical condition. 66 people have died. Despite the current outbreak, the city has not yet implemented a lockdown,
On Thursday, Ardern noted that New Zealand had enforced restraints within 24 hours of the first new community coronavirus cases-she said the response was faster than Hong Kong or Victoria.
She said on Thursday: “Speed and speed should also be reassuring.” She reiterated the mantra she has been saying since the outbreak: “Working hard and doing it early is still the best action.”
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