'going hard and early'
New Zealand is headed into a nationwide lockdown after a single case of COVID-19 was confirmed.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday the country will be locked down after officials confirmed the first locally transmitted case of COVID-19 in six months, CNN reports. The lockdown will go into effect on Tuesday evening. Schools, offices, and businesses that aren't essential services will close under the level 4 lockdown, BBC News reports. Auckland and Coromandel will be locked down for seven days, as the man who tested positive lives in the former and visited the latter, and the rest of the country will lock down for three days, according to The Associated Press.
New Zealand was able to largely eliminate COVID-19 last year after implementing an early lockdown and closing its borders. The country recently announced it would reopen its borders to international travelers in early 2022.
"I want to assure New Zealand that we have planned for this eventuality," Ardern said Tuesday, per BBC News. "Going hard and early has worked for us before."
Ardern, calling the Delta variant of COVID-19 a "game changer," added that "we have seen what can happen elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it," and "we only get one chance." But the prime minister said that "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."