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Ardern orders fresh lockdown in Auckland after first locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases in 102 days

People in New Zealand’s largest city are being asked to stay at home again.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
Image: Mark Mitchell/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Updated Aug 11th 2020, 11:43 AM

NEW ZEALAND ANNOUNCED its first locally transmitted coronavirus infections in 102 days today, prompting the country’s prime minister to issue a stay-at-home lockdown order for the country’s largest city.

After receiving global praise for its success containing the virus, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said four cases had been detected in a single family in Auckland from an unknown source.

“After 102 days, we have our first cases of Covid-19 outside of managed isolation or quarantine facilities… we have all worked incredibly hard to prevent this scenario,” she told the country in a televised address.

“We have also planned and prepared for it.”

Until today, the World Health Organization had hailed the country as an example to others for having “successfully eliminated community transmission”.

New Zealand reported just 22 deaths in a population of almost five million and had not recorded community transmission since 1 May.

As a result, New Zealanders had been enjoying a near-normal lifestyle with no social distancing and spectators allowed at sports and cultural events.

But health authorities had repeatedly warned people not to be complacent and said a second wave of infections was “inevitable”.

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Auckland will be locked down for at least three days from tomorrow and some social distancing restrictions will be reintroduced in the rest of the country.

© – AFP 2020 

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