New Zealand, which was hailed for handling the coronavirus pandemic, put its biggest city back in blockade on Wednesday after it recorded its first COVID-19 case in more than three. month.
Four members of an Auckland family had a positive result, prompting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to re-call for tight city-wide restrictions and national social segregation measures until at least Friday.
To complicate the situation, health officials said two infected family members visited the resort in the town of Rotorua, about 140 miles southwest of Auckland, expanding the number of people who could have been. there is a possibility of exposure. The family did not travel abroad.
“As we have seen in other countries where the resurgence has occurred, it is extremely important to act early,” said Health Department Director General Ashley Bloomfield.
“We̵7;ve done this before and we can do it again,” he added.
Residents of Auckland, a city of around 1.7 million inhabitants, had little time to prepare for a return to the level 3 restrictions, asking everyone to stay home, work from home and if Maybe, please wear a mask when going out. All schools, public facilities, bars, restaurants and businesses have also closed.
Police set up barriers to prevent a massive exodus from Auckland, while supermarkets split up the sale of some staple products amid rushing shelves. Long queue at the city’s COVID-19 testing centers.
Although the origin of the virus is unknown, health officials are probing whether the virus could be imported by air.
New Zealand, which hosted the national elections in mid-September, managed to stop the virus during the pandemic, recording 1,225 confirmed cases and 22 deaths.
Despite its small population, with less than 5 million people, New Zealand recorded just 4.56 deaths per million people, compared with nearly 500 deaths per million people in the United States., according to data from Oxford University.
In June, Ardern famously said she was “doing a little dance” to celebrate the news that New Zealand had no active COVID-19 infections.
While the resurgence of the virus after 102 days of no local transmission is a setback for the nation’s efforts to contain the pandemic, Ardern remains optimistic.
“If we get immediate feedback during this critical phase, we have the opportunity to reduce the time we are subject to those heavier restrictions and that’s the lesson we all took. Let’s learn together, ”Arden said, adding that the new limitations were a big disappointment for many.
Meanwhile, neighboring Australia recorded the deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday and the largest increase in infectious disease in three days.
A flurry of infections in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, prompted authorities last week to impose a night curfew, tightening restrictions on the daily commute of people and ordered the closure of major parts of the state economy.
Officials in the country’s remote Northern Territory said on Tuesday that they would continue to enforce strict border controls until at least until 2022.
“If you can, cancel your Christmas vacation plans and stay here in the Northern Territory,” the territory’s Minister Michael Gunner told Australia’s ABC News channel.
Worldwide, the number of COVID-19 infections has now reached 20 million, of which the US, Brazil and India account for more than half of them, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll is hovering over 740,000.
This virus has devastated the global economy, with the monetary consequences of the pandemic causing hundreds of thousands of people around the world to lose their jobs or rely on malicious government schemes.
The biggest drop reported by any major economy to date was announced in the UK on Wednesday.
Officials there said the UK economy experienced a record 20.4% decline between April and June when it entered recession for the first time in 11 years.
“Today’s numbers show the hard times are here,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told British television station Sky News, like Comcast-owned NBC News. “Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs and many others will lose their jobs.”
The UK suffered the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe with more than 46,000 deaths to date.
Reuters contributed to this report.