New Zealand on Tuesday reported four new COVID-19 infections, the first cases of local transmission in the country in 102 days.
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister who made the announcement at a news conference said the cases were detected in one household in the nation’s largest city, Auckland.
She noted that from midday Wednesday through midnight Friday, people in Auckland will be asked to stay at home, while bars and many other businesses will be closed.
“These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have widespread contact tracing so we can find out more about how this case arose and make decisions about how to respond to it once we have further information.
“I know that this information will be very difficult to receive,” Ardern said. “We had all hoped not to find ourselves in this position again. But we had also prepared for it. And as a team, we have also been here before.”
Ardern said that travelling to Auckland will be banned unless people live there and are travelling home.
She added that mass gatherings will be limited to 100 attendees and people would need to socially distance themselves from each other in the rest of the country.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield explained the infections were confirmed after a person in their 50s went to their doctor on Monday with symptoms. The person was tested twice and both results returned positive.
Six other people in the person’s household were then tested, with three more positive results.
“Importantly, the person has no history of overseas travel,” Bloomfield said, adding that the source of the infections remains unknown.
Until Tuesday, the only known cases of the virus in New Zealand were 22 travellers who had recently returned from abroad and were being held in quarantine at the border.