New Zealand locks down country for single COVID-19 case

As case numbers rise in the U.S., New Zealand officials have a single coronavirus case circulating in the country and they’ve taken the step to go into lockdown.

The lockdown affects the entire island nation, not just the community where the single case was located.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced the move Tuesday and said the decision was made because officials assumed it was the delta variant. But genome sequencing is still being done in this case, CNN reported.

Officials said a 58-year-old man tested positive in Auckland. He had traveled to other parts of the country and was linked to the border, health officials said Tuesday.

The man was not vaccinated and it is unclear how he contracted it, The New York Times reported.

The entire country will be under lockdown for three days starting at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday local time. It is a level four lockdown, meaning everyone must remain at home and everything but essential businesses, like supermarkets and pharmacies, are to close. Schools and public facilities will also be closed, the Times reported.

Aukland and the Coromandel Peninsula, where the man had traveled, is expected to be under lockdown for a week.

The lockdown announcement had people rushing to supermarkets for supplies like toilet paper, the Times reported.

“We are one of the last countries in the world to have the delta variant in our community,” Arden said, according to CNN. “We’re in the position to learn from experience overseas, and what actions work, and what actions don’t work.”

New Zealand shut down its borders early during the COVID-19 pandemic and had fewer than 3,000 cases with only 26 deaths in a population of 5 million.

Despite the shutdown, the country has 20% of the population fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

New Zealand had announced the reopening of tourists from low-risk countries in early 2022 earlier this month.

The last community transmission was reported on Feb. 28, CBS News reported.

According to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, there have been more than 208 million cases of the original COVID-19 illness and all variants worldwide with 4.3 million deaths.

In the U.S., there have been 36.9 million confirmed cases with 622,634 deaths overall.

Currently, there have been about 141,365 new coronavirus cases diagnosed in the U.S. as of Thursday with 704 new deaths, according to data compiled by The New York Times. The delta variant has been dominating the country for the past two months, according to the newspaper.

According to the analysis of data by The Wall Street Journal, from Jan. 1 through early August, there were 193,204 breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals in 44 states and Washington, D.C., accounting for .1% of the more than 136 million people who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The number may be higher due to people who are asymptomatic and are not getting tested for COVID-19. It also doesn’t account for the states where data was not available or due to tracking procedures, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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