New Zealand’s prime minister Tuesday issued a lockdown in the country’s largest city, Auckland, after the first new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in 102 days were discovered there.
At a news conference in Wellington, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, along with New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, announced Auckland will be moved to level three restrictions until midnight on Friday after the four cases were discovered in one household.
She said the cases came from an unknown source and involve different workplaces.
The level three restrictions mean people will be asked to stay at home, while bars and many other businesses will be closed.
Ardern added the rest of the country will be raised to Level 2 through Friday, meaning that mass gatherings will be limited to 100 attendees and people would need to socially distance.
Bloomfield said the infections were confirmed after a person in their 50s went to their doctor Monday with COVID-19 symptoms and was swabbed twice, testing positive both times. Six other people in the person's household were then tested, with three more positive results.
Until Tuesday, the only known cases of the virus in New Zealand were 22 travelers who had recently returned from abroad and were being held in quarantine.
The country has been praised globally for its virus response.