Opinion: NZ's best shot is a tough Covid lockdown

New Zealand needs a tough lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19, and our trans-Tasman neighbours are the perfect example of why.

An Auckland street during Level 3 lockdown

While it’s not confirmed, the working assumption is this newly announced case has the Delta variant.

It’s the strain proving tough to wrangle, as it sweeps through New South Wales and Victoria.

Officials in Sydney only opted for a soft lockdown when its cluster had grown to 48 cases. It was not a response that could be called “hard and fast”.

Late last week I spoke to Professor Tony Blakely, a leading epidemiologist in Australia, who has been watching the NSW outbreak closely.

He told me the most important thing Sydney did wrong, was not implement a tough lockdown in the initial stages of the outbreak.

Now the Delta variant has now started transmitting amongst essential workers.

“The virus has found the most likely place it can take hold in Sydney so now it's hard to eke out.”

“For those reasons it’s proving very challenging for Sydney,” he said.

“Their chance of getting down to zero transmission from here is slight.”

Professor Blakely says vaccines are an important tool in bringing Delta under control, but don’t work alone.

“The big learning out of this is how hard it is to control Delta if it gets a little out of control - so don't even let it in.”

Andrew Macfarlane is 1 NEWS' Australia correspondent. He's based in Sydney and has been in lockdown for nearly eight weeks.