New Zealand’s Ardern defends virus elimination policy

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defended her “COVID zero” elimination strategy on Thursday amid fears an outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant has rendered the previously successful policy ineffective. A Delta case emerged in Auckland last week, ending a six-month run without local transmission in New Zealand, one of the world’s last COVID-free … Read more

New Zealand to stay in lockdown, outbreak ‘yet to peak’

New Zealand extended a national COVID-19 lockdown Monday, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying a Delta variant outbreak has yet to peak. Ardern said the rapid spread of the highly transmissible variant meant it was too early to lift restrictions imposed last week after a virus cluster emerged in Auckland, ending a six-month run of … Read more

New Zealand extends Delta outbreak lockdown

New Zealand extended a national COVID-19 lockdown on Friday as case numbers continued to rise and a Delta variant outbreak spread from Auckland to the capital Wellington. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the initial three-day lockdown, which would have expired overnight Friday, would be extended by another four days. She said New Zealand was still … Read more

New Zealand says it has solved COVID outbreak ‘puzzle’

New Zealand reported a breakthrough Thursday in tracing the source of a COVID-19 outbreak that plunged the nation into lockdown, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying it should help “stamp out” the virus. Health officials have been trying to determine how an Auckland man contracted the coronavirus this week, ending a six-month run of no … Read more

New Zealand PM warns virus outbreak will grow

New Zealanders must brace for additional COVID-19 cases from an outbreak that has plunged the previously virus-free country into a snap lockdown, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned Wednesday after six more positive tests. Ardern confirmed New Zealand was dealing with the highly transmissible Delta variant linked to the outbreak in Australia that authorities have so … Read more

Delta variant confirmed in New Zealand, virus case total at five

A coronavirus case that plunged New Zealand into a snap national lockdown was confirmed as the Delta variant Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as four more cases emerged. Ardern said one of the new cases was a nurse at Auckland Hospital, which had been placed in “internal lockdown” while all staff and patients were … Read more

Snap national lockdown in New Zealand over single virus case

New Zealand imposed a snap three-day lockdown Tuesday after identifying a single case of locally transmitted COVID-19 suspected to be the Delta variant, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. Ardern said New Zealand, which had not recorded any infections in the community for six months, could not take any chances with the “game changer” Delta strain. … Read more

New Zealand records first local virus case in six months

New Zealand recorded its first locally transmitted case of COVID-19 in six months on Tuesday, sparking efforts to trace the origins of the infection as officials pondered a response. The health department said the case was identified in Auckland, the country’s largest city, adding “a link between the case and the border or managed isolation … Read more

New Zealand hopes to relax border controls next year

New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday that strict border controls would remain this year but she hoped to cautiously reopen to the rest of the world in 2022 while maintaining the country’s virus-free status. She said the changes would be “careful and deliberate” to avoid allowing variants such as the highly contagious Delta strain … Read more

New Zealand opens travel bubble to Pacific workers

Seasonal workers from selected Pacific countries will be allowed into New Zealand without undergoing two weeks in quarantine, Jacinda Ardern said Monday. The expansion of the travel bubble will be restricted to workers from Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu employed in the horticulture and viticulture industries where there are not enough New Zealand-based workers. “This new … Read more