New Zealand: Expert warns of ‘nasty’ RSV outbreak
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The whole of New Zealand will be plunged into a three-day lockdown from Wednesday after one case of COVID-19 was detected in Auckland. The largest city in New Zealand and the coastal town of Coromandel, where the case was found, will be placed under lockdown for an extended seven days.
The drastic response comes despite it being the first positive case of coronavirus in the community since February.
Ms Ardern will close schools, businesses and vaccination centres, with only essential shops being allowed to open.
GB News presenter Dan Wootton has condemned the decision and accused Ms Ardern of adopting a strategy of “Zero Covid fantasy”.
Jacinda Ardern has sparked a backlash over her coronavirus response (Image: GETTY)
Dan Wootton has hit out at the latest lockdown (Image: Twitter/Dan Wootton)
The New Zealander tweeted: “New Zealand has just been plunged into a nationwide lockdown with all vaccinations cancelled because of one Covid case.
“That’s right, ONE case of a virus we all know we have to learn to live with.
“Jacinda Ardern’s Zero Covid fantasy is nothing short of a never ending nightmare.”
Political commentator and senior UK parliamentary assistant, Bella Wallersteiner, urged the people of New Zealand to reject the draconian measures.
Jacinda Ardern has announced a three-day lockdown (Image: GETTY)
She tweeted: “All of New Zealand is going into a lockdown because of ONE Covid case Sanctimonious Jacinda Ardern has lost the plot.
“Zero Covid is an authoritarian fantasy. If lockdown were the answer, Covid would have been eliminated 17 months ago.
“New Zealanders should resist this madness!”
Meanwhile, another disgruntled user on the platform simply wrote: “Confirmation she completely lost the plot.
“New Zealand’s Ardern locks down nation over single COVID-19 case. One. Single. Case. Lockdown.”
Jacinda Ardern is the Prime Minister of New Zealand (Image: GETTY)
New Zealand Health Chief Executive Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the Covid case was a 58-year-old man who became symptomatic on Saturday.
His wife has been tested and since returned a negative result.
Ms Ardern said it was not known if the virus found was the highly transmissible Delta variant, which was first discovered in India.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister was widely praised for her swift response to the pandemic at the start of 2020 and has defended her latest move.
Ms Ardern said: “Going hard and early has worked for us before.
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A political profile of Jacinda Ardern (Image: EXPRESS)
“While we know that Delta is a more dangerous enemy to combat, the same actions that overcome the virus last year can be applied to beat it again.”
Restrictions in New Zealand come into force at level 4 – the highest level in the country.
Ms Ardern added: “We have made decisions on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than start too low, not contain the virus and see it move quickly.
“We’ve seen overseas, particularly in Sydney, unnecessary trips outdoors have spread the virus and communities have not been able to get on top of it.
“So I ask New Zealanders to please follow the rules to the letter.”
New Zealand has reported around 2,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 26 related deaths since the start of the global Covid crisis.