One COVID-19 case plunged New Zealand’s islands into a strict stay-at-home order on Aug. 17.
Left-leaning Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern forced the entire Kiwi population into lockdown, because a single Auckland man tested positive to the deadly disease.
“We are one of the last countries in the world to have the Delta variant in our community,” she said in a statement. “We are in the position to learn from experience overseas, and what actions work, and what actions do not work.”
Reuters suggested the 58-year-old became infected because he was not immunized against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus. The patient reportedly visited different parts of the North Island before he went into quarantine.
The nation was among the world’s first countries to bar entry to international travelers in early 2020. Subsequent lockdowns have been rigorous.
Since the beginning of the pandemic the CCP virus has infected more than 2,900 Kiwis and killed 26 of them according to the Worldometer website.
The Labour government suggested New Zealand must endure harsh government restrictions, if the country is to survive the Delta strain.
“The best thing we can do to get out of this as quickly as we can is to go hard,” Ardern said in the statement. “We have made decisions on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than start too low, not contain the virus, and see it move quickly.”
The level-four lockdown will continue for at least three days and ending in most parts at 11:59 p.m. local time, on Aug. 20. However, schools, workplaces, and non-essential businesses must close for at least a week across Auckland and Coromandel where the patient allegedly traveled. Face masks must be worn after leaving home.
“I ask New Zealanders to please follow the rules to the letter,” the prime minister said. “We know from overseas cases of the Delta variant that it can be spread by people simply walking past one another.”
New Zealand recently celebrated six months of zero local transmissions since February 2021. The country will postpone plans to partly reopen its border to welcome immigrants. The nation is still experiencing a severe skills shortage crisis.
Although both islands reported relatively low infection rates, residents have shown reluctance towards taking the jab. Less than 20 percent of the entire population is fully vaccinated according to CNN.