Registering four new cases of COVID-19 might not sound like a huge jump, but in a country like New Zealand, which effectively stamped out the virus a while ago, it’s cause for serious concern. Four new cases were recorded today in Auckland, all within the same household, and in an abundance of caution the city will return to level three restrictions for three days. The new cases, of unknown origin, break New Zealand’s 102-day streak without any new cases.
In a TV press conference, prime minister Jacinda Ardern said, “We’re asking people in Auckland to stay home to stop the spread. Act as if you have COVID, and as though people around you have COVID.”
The new restrictions on Auckland will force restaurants, bars, and other nonessential shops to close for three days, and people will only be allowed to leave their homes to conduct essential activities like grocery shopping and exercising. Gatherings of over 10 people will also be prohibited, and schools are temporarily closing. Outside Auckland, the rest of the country will revert to level two restrictions, which are slightly more lenient. Nonessential public venues may remain open, but only if they comply with social distancing regulations.