New Zealand again in lockdown as new thriller cases emerge

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By David Estcourt

August 11, 2020 — 7.49pm

About Zealand
Zealand (Danish: Sjælland, pronounced [ˈɕɛˌlænˀ], Swedish: Själland), at 7,031 km2, is the largest and most populous island in Denmark proper (thus excluding Greenland and Disko Island, which are larger). Zealand has a population of 2,319,705 (as of 1 January 2020).It is the 13th-largest island in Europe by area and the 4th most populous. It is connected to Funen by the Great Belt Fixed Link, to Lolland, Falster (and Germany from 2028) by the Storstrøm Bridge and the Farø Bridges. Zealand is also linked to Amager by several bridges. Zealand is linked indirectly, through intervening islands by a series of bridges and tunnels, to southern Sweden.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, with a population between 1.3 and 1.4 million people in 2020, is located partly on the eastern shore of Zealand and partly on the island of Amager. Other cities on Zealand include Roskilde, Hillerød, Næstved and Helsingør.
Despite their identical names in English, the island is not connected historically to the Pacific nation of New Zealand, which is named after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

New Zealand back in lockdown as new mystery cases emerge

About lockdown
A lockdown is a requirement for people to stay where they are, usually due to specific risks to themselves or to others if they can move freely. The term “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” is often used for lockdowns that affect an area, rather than specific locations.
The term is used for a prison protocol that usually prevents people, information or objects from leaving an area. The protocol can usually only be initiated by someone in a position of authority.
A lockdown can also be used to protect people inside a facility or, for example, a computing system, from a threat or other external event. In buildings doors leading outside are usually locked so that no person may enter or exit. A full lockdown usually means that people must stay where they are and may not enter or exit a building or rooms within it, needing to go to the nearest place designated safe if not already in such a place. A drill lockdown may be held in the absence of a threat, to familiarise people with what they must do.

New Zealand will re-enter coronavirus lockdown restrictions after four new cases of COVID-19 were discovered in Auckland.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday night that four cases with an unknown source had been discovered in one household.

New Zealand back in lockdown as new mystery cases emerge

Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media.

Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media.Credit:

Contact tracing was under way but authorities had not been able to pinpoint the origin of the outbreak.

New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, will undergo mass testing as residents enter level three restrictions for the next three days.

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The rest of the country, which will be isolated from Auckland, will enter level two restrictions.

“These are very significant decisions,” Ms Ardern said, “moving an entire city, and new Zeland’s largest city, into level three restrictions is not a decision we take lightly.

“We need to make sure we have as much information as possible.

“This move means we can be cautious but also make sure we have more information before we make any decisions that have a longer-term impact.”

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Ms Ardern said it was the first positive case in the county in more than 100 days that was not in a managed isolation facility and that the country would resort to the “go hard, go early” strategy they had successfully deployed before.

“Given we haven’t identified the original source case we are expecting that there will be more cases,” Ms Ardern said.

“Together we’ve beaten the virus before and together, with fast action, we can do so again. We know what to do because we’ve successfully done it before.”

Ms Ardern said the positive cases had come from one household but the outbreak had put more than one workplace at risk.

Public facilities, bars, restaurants and businesses in Auckland must close on Wednesday, as will schools unless they have students whose parents are essential workers.

“We’re asking people in Auckland to stay home to stop the spread,” Ms Ardern said.

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For the rest of the country, level two restrictions involve social distancing, good hand-washing regimes, staying home if unwell and wearing a mask in areas where distancing is hard.

New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the virus had been acquired from an unknown source and that more cases were “inevitable”.

“This is a tricky virus,” Dr Bloomfield said.

“The health system is well prepared and the important thing is to stop the virus spreading through our community.”

The Prime Minister urged New Zealanders to come together to face the new outbreak.

“It was easy to feel like NZ was out of the woods,” she said. “No country has gone as far as we did without a resurgence.

“We have planned [for a possible resurgence], now that moment has arrived where we have to use that plan. We’ve rolled out our plans before and it’s worked.”

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Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has called for calm and patience as the city goes into another lockdown.

“I understand that people are probably feeling a little bit scared, a little angry and a little confused right now,” he said.

“None of us wanted to go back into a lockdown, but we always knew this was a very real possibility. I am urging Aucklanders to come together like we did last time to stamp out community transmission.

“Please remain calm, please do not panic buy and please follow the lockdown rules.”

Ms Ardern asking Aucklanders not to rush to the supermarket, but many stores were inundated with shoppers after the announcement.

Auckland resident Tim Armstrong was at the supermarket when the lockdown announcement was made. He said anxious shoppers arrived almost immediately.

“When I left, people were leaving with 10-litre bottles of water and trollies of toilet paper and rice. Trollies filled to the brim,” he said.

“I feel for the staff. There must be 10 people working who were expecting a quiet night.”

By the time Mr Armstrong left, a queue had already formed outside and cars were blocking the street, trying to get to the supermarket. A staff member had been put on the door to limit entry.

New Zealand’s successful fight against COVID-19 has made the Pacific island nation of 5 million one of the safest places in the world.

New Zealanders had returned to normal life, but authorities said earlier this week they had become concerned people were refusing testing, not using the government contact-tracing apps, and even ignoring basic hygiene rules.

“Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can’t afford to be complacent,” Dr Bloomfield said.

Two Christchurch retirement villages were put in partial lockdown on Tuesday after a number of residents began displaying signs of respiratory illness.

However, officials said the measures were precautionary and the residents were highly unlikely to have the virus.

With Reuters and Stuff

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David Estcourt

David Estcourt is a court and general news reporter at The Age.

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