The COVID-19 situation around the world has been dire. Even with vaccination at full force, there are currently over 17 million active cases globally. An outbreak of the Delta variant is a threat to the efficacy of the virus, and its quick transmission is a cause of grave concern. Keeping all this in mind, on August 17, New Zealand went into lockdown over one reported case of the Novel Coronavirus. At a press conference, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern issued a nationwide lockdown after the country confirmed a single novel coronavirus case after 6 months of zero cases.
The nation’s battle with the virus had been afoot since last year but since the past six months, they have had the winning hand. The country hadn’t reported a new case since February. The Prime Minister had this to say about the Delta variant:
“We are one of the last countries in the world to have the Delta variant in our community,”
“We’re in the position to learn from experience overseas, and what actions work, and what actions don’t work.”
“Delta has been called a gamechanger — and it is. It means we need to again go hard and early to stop the spread. We have seen what can happen elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it. We only get one chance.”
As for the infected, the patient is an unvaccinated 58-year-old man in Auckland who first showed symptoms this past Thursday. He is assumed to have the contagious Delta variant, though genome mapping is still underway. According to Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, the man had been travelling to different parts of the country.
New Zealand Issuing Level 4 Lockdown
Since the authorities are suspecting a case of the Delta variant, the country went to the strictest level 4 lockdown from Tuesday night. Under their level 4 lockdown, everyone is required to stay at home and only essential services like pharmacies and grocery stores will be operational. When the lockdown was announced, there was also an increased rush at supermarkets and pharmacies.
While other parts of the country will be staying under lockdown for a total of three days, the city of Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula to where the patient travelled will stay shut for a week. There are about 23 possible sites of transmission.
With a population of 5 million, the country has had a little less than 3,000 cases and 26 deaths since last year. Their strategy in handling the virus over the past year has also received global praise. Their neighbour Australia, on the other hand, has been battling with an increased number of Delta variant cases in the past few weeks.
Vaccination Drive in New Zealand
New Zealand had mostly returned to normal before this case had been reported. But according to data published by CNN, the country has staggeringly low vaccination rates. It holds at 33% for the population vaccinated with a single dose and 20% for the fully vaccinated.
Despite everything, the country has kept a tight check on their borders, which have mostly remained closed.
For more COVID-19 Updates check here.