'Insanity': NZ's national lockdown mocked, but cases grow

New Zealand’s decision to enter a snap lockdown after recording just one new Covid case raised eyebrows overseas, with some people overseas labelling the move as “insane”.

Given the increasing number of Delta infections in countries like Australia, the US, the UK and India, some were shocked at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement on Tuesday of a nationwide level four lockdown.

Numerous publications highlighted their surprise at the call in their headlines.

“New Zealand to begin a three-day lockdown after a single case is reported,” a New York Times article was titled.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a news conference.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a news conference in Wellington, New Zealand. Source: TVNZ via AP

“New Zealand announces it's locking down the entire country ... over one Covid case,” a CNN headline reads.

“New Zealand enters nationwide lockdown over one Covid case,” the BBC’s headline says.

“One coronavirus case. That's all it took to send New Zealand into a three-day, nationwide lockdown late Tuesday as the country's six-month streak without local transmission came to an end,” Washington Post's Sydney correspondent Michael E. Miller wrote in his article covering the news.

“Auckland, the largest city, where the new case was detected, is likely to be shut down for seven days.”

While many people, including physicians, have taken to Twitter to praise Ms Ardern and the lockdown, numerous others hit out at the decision. Lockdowns after one case have been commonplace in several Australian states and territories.

Shoppers lineup to enter a supermarket in Auckland, New Zealand. Source: Brett Phibbs/New Zealand Herald via AP
Shoppers queue to enter an Auckland supermarket on Tuesday. Source: Brett Phibbs/New Zealand Herald via AP

“How about isolating that one person and not an entire nation?” one man said.

“Her poll numbers must be down,” another wrote.

“Insanity,” a third person Tweeted.

“Make the whole country suffer for a single case,” another man said.

“It appears as they haven’t seen what happens in the World. A national lockdown will probably boost contagion within family members, as already demonstrated, and depress economy,” one person Tweeted.

New Zealand Covid outbreak expands

Seven more Covid cases linked to the original case were announced by NZ health officials on Wednesday.

Ms Ardern says the growth of a Delta strain of Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland confirms her government's decision to put New Zealand into lockdown was necessary.

She said genome sequencing has confirmed it is the Delta variant and that the initial case originated in Australia.

The level four lockdown —-with NZ's harshest level of restrictions — will last at least three days in an attempt to quash the spread of the deadly virus.

Auckland and the Coromandel, where 'Case A' travelled while infectious, will spend at least seven days in lockdown.

Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, said generic modelling suggested the cluster could grow to around "50 and 120 cases".

Six of the seven cases are young people who socialised heavily around Auckland during their likely infectious period — including trips to a nightclub, church and the casino.

"We're expecting more (cases). Particularly of the age group and demographic," Ms Ardern said.

With AAP

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