Covid-19 experts are praising the Government’s hard and fast approach putting New Zealand in Alert Level 4 after a case assumed to be the Delta variant was detected in the community.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced all of New Zealand would move to Alert Level 4 from midnight Tuesday for three days, while Auckland and Coromandel will remain in level 4 lockdown for seven days.
It comes after a man in his 50s from Devonport on Auckland’s North Shore returned a positive result for coronavirus, having spent the weekend away in Coromandel.
Professor Shaun Hendy, a Covid-19 modelling expert, said the announcement "wasn’t surprising", considering how dangerous the Delta variant can be.
"It isn’t surprising unfortunately that we’ve seen it here, we’ve still got a lot to learn about this case."
It’s not yet been confirmed whether the newly identified case has the Delta variant, but authorities are assuming he does as all recent cases at MIQ have had the more contagious variant.
Hendy said that a best-case scenario would be if the genomic sequencing results, expected overnight, can link the case back to the border.
However, even if the results indicate community transmission, the country is still isn’t as bad off as New South Wales.
"I don’t think we’ll find ourselves in the position of NSW, we think that Alert Level 4 will be effective against this variant.
"The way to deal with Delta I think is the way that the Government has chosen to do it, which is to go for the strongest restrictions you’ve got, as early as possible."
Under Alert Level 4, people are asked to stay home and limit their movements unless they are essential workers.
No gatherings are allowed and all public venues, as well as schools, will be made to close.
Businesses like pharmacies, clinics and petrol stations can stay open while all non-essential places must close.
Ardern said financial support will become available for businesses affected.