COVID-19 returns to New Zealand

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Auckland has been put back into lockdown after New Zealand recorded its first cases of COVID-19 following 102 days without any domestic transmission in the country.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced at a media conference this evening there were four new cases in Auckland with no known connection to managed isolation or workers at the border.

"This will give us your up-to-date contact details, so if we need to get in touch with you for contact tracing purposes, we can do so quickly", says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.

Ms Ardern said Auckland would be placed under "level three" restrictions from noon on Wednesday until midnight on Friday.

She said the rest of the country would be raised to Level 2, with some physical distancing restrictions to be reintroduced.

The World Health Organization previously said the country was an example for others for having "successfully eliminated community transmission".

New Zealanders had to return to stringent hand hygiene and careful social distancing.

"The important thing now is that we stop the spread of the virus in our community". And because we were the only ones, we had to plan.

"We have eight residents experiencing normal flu-like symptoms", Regional manager John Amesbury said as he confirmed people within the facility were being tested, although he noted those feeling unwell may not necessarily have the virus. The city will undergo lockdown measures for three days.

As a result of the infections, mobile phones nationwide received an emergency text that set off blaring alerts and said "if you are in Auckland STAY HOME. and SAVE LIVES".

Additionally, New Zealand will hold an election and two optional referendums about the legalization of cannabis and euthanasia on September 19.

As you might have heard, South Pacific country New Zealand had been enjoying a COVID-19 free run for over three months. We had all hoped not to find ourselves in this position again, but we had also prepared for it.

Gatherings of ten of more people will be prohibited in Auckland, and schools and childcare facilities will be closed except for the children of essential workers.

If you are now in Auckland but do not normally reside there you also can leave to go home, but we are asking you to be conscious of your health and if you begin to exhibit any symptoms please get tested. We know if we have a plan, and stick to it, we can work our way through very hard and often unknown situations.

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