New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered the country’s biggest city Auckland into a snap lockdown for the first time in nearly six months on Sunday after three coronavirus cases emerged in the community.
Nearly two million residents in the city were told to stay at home from midnight, with schools and businesses to close except for essential services.
“The main thing we are asking people in Auckland to do is stay at home to avoid any risk of spread,” Ardern said.
She added that the restrictions were “just in case it could be one of the more transmissible strains of Covid that we need to act with a high degree of caution around”.
The remainder of the country will move to alert level two, Ardern said, with people required to wear masks on public transport and gatherings limited to a maximum of 100 people.