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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks with media  in Wellington, New Zealand, on February 14.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks with media in Wellington, New Zealand, on February 14. Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

New Zealand is imposing a three-day lockdown in its most populous city beginning Sunday, after three new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases were reported on Saturday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the lockdown for Auckland, home to 1.5 million people, during a news conference on Sunday. The lockdown will end at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.

Under the lockdown: All Auckland residents, including students, must stay home except for essential outings. Ardern also asked all businesses to switch to non-contact services, such as takeaway instead of dining in. 

The rest of New Zealand will also be raised to Level 2 social distancing measures, where mask-wearing is mandatory on public transport and there is a cap of 100 people on gatherings.

Family tests positive: The three local cases reported are a mother, father and daughter from the same South Auckland household, according to Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.

There is another close-contact member of the family that is also waiting for their test results. 

The high school that the daughter attends, Papatoetoe High School, will be closed Monday and Tuesday following the girl’s positive test. A pop-up testing site will be available for students at the school.

All four family members are moving to the Auckland quarantine facility Sunday, Bloomfield said. 

New Zealand has been largely successful in containing the virus, and has reported a total of 1,974 Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began.



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