New Zealand has recorded four new cases of coronavirus within one family unit, sparking fears of a second wave.
The nation has been the envy of the world for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, particularly after passing the 100 day milestone without any community transmission.
But from midday on Wednesday, Auckland will reenter a stage three lockdown and the rest of the nation will enter a level two lockdown after new cases were identified on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scheduled a last minute press conference for about 9.15pm on Tuesday night as word spread of a potential lockdown.
Contact tracing is now underway among multiple workplaces in suburbs across New Zealand.
Ms Ardern is concerned about the origin of the virus, given the family have no links to overseas travel.
‘We have not yet been able to determine the source of these cases, there is no known link to hotel quarantine.
‘One of the most important lessons we have learned from overseas is to go hard at this… In line with our precautionary approach, we will be asking Aucklanders to take swift lockdown’.
Ms Ardern will plunge Auckland back into a stage three lockdown from Wednesday in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus as part of her ‘resurgence plan’.
‘You are asked to stay home in your bubble unless you are an essential worker’.
All bars, restaurants and public services must close by midday on Wednesday, as gatherings of more than 10 are prohibited.
‘If you are in Auckland, we ask that you wear a mask when accessing essential services.’
‘While this initial three day lockdown will primarily effect the Auckland region, I am asking our team of five million to stay alert as well. We have defeated this virus before and can do it again.’
The rest of the nation will enter a three day level two lockdown.
If contact tracing and widespread testing do not identify the source of the current outbreak, the lockdown could be extended.
‘If we are not able to identify the source, we should be able to identify whether we have wider geographic spread.’
Authorities hope their swift action will help to manage the potential spread of the virus following the latest outbreak.
New Zealand went into level 4 lockdown on March 25, acting swiftly once the threat of COVID-19 was present.
By April 27, the virus appeared somewhat under control and the lockdown was eased to level 3.
May 13 signalled the beginning of level 2 lockdown while most restrictions were entirely eased on June 9.
Ms Ardern said she has no doubt New Zealand will defeat the virus for a second time.
More to come.