New Zealand’s government took drastic action Tuesday by putting the entire nation into a strict lockdown for at least three days after finding a single case of coronavirus infection in the community.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern invoked some of the stirring rhetoric she used early in the pandemic by urging the “team of 5 million” — New Zealand’s population — to go hard and early in trying to eliminate the latest outbreak.
“We have seen what happens elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it,” Ardern said. “We only get one chance.”
She said Auckland, where the infected man lives, and Coromandel, where he had visited, would go into a full lockdown for seven days and the remainder of the country for three days while health experts tried to find the source of his infection.
The developments prompted people to line up outside supermarkets to stock up on essential items and sparked a sharp drop in the value of the New Zealand dollar.