Even as reports claimed that Covid-19 cases are on a rise in a few parts of India, especially Maharashtra, New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland has gone on a three-day lockdown following the discovery of three unexplained coronavirus cases in the community.
Health officials said Monday the cases were of the more contagious variant first found in Britain and that genome testing hadn’t linked them to any previous known cases.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the lockdown after an urgent meeting with other top lawmakers in the Cabinet. She said they decided to take a cautious approach until they find out more about the outbreak.
The lockdown, which extends through Wednesday, is the first in New Zealand in six months and represents a significant setback in the nation’s largely successful efforts to control the virus. It has also forced a delay in the America’s Cup sailing regatta.
New Zealand had successfully stamped out community spread, and many people elsewhere in the world looked on in envy as New Zealanders went back to work and began attending concerts and sporting events without the need to wear masks or take other precautions.
Indeed, Ardern on Sunday had planned to attend the Big Gay Out, an Auckland festival that celebrates the rainbow community and attracts tens of thousands of people. She ended up canceling those plans and returning to Wellington to manage the outbreak. India has no doubt gained significant victory against the virus. But even a slightest of carelessness may make things worse.