New Zealand’s biggest city ordered into lockdown

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered the country’s biggest city Auckland to go into lockdown after the discovery of three new local cases of Covid-19.

The measures will last three days and require residents to stay at home.

Ms Ardern said the country was going “hard and early” after the cases were identified.

New Zealand has won widespread praise for its handling of the pandemic, going months without community transmission.

The new cases were a couple and their daughter in Auckland.

Ms Ardern announced that the city’s schools would remain open for the children of parents who need to work, but otherwise students will be asked to stay at home.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield Source: Getty

Pharmacies and supermarkets will stay open, but other businesses requiring face-to-face interaction will close.

“I’m asking New Zealanders to continue to be strong and to be kind,” Ms Ardern said of the nation’s first lockdown in six months.

“We all get that sense of ‘not again’. But remember, we have been here before and that means we know how to get out of this again, and that is together.”

New Zealand, which went more than two months without infection before the January case, is due to roll out vaccines to its population of five million from February 20.

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