New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks with media on February 14, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand
  • PM Jacinda Ardern said Auckland will be entering Level 3 of New Zealand's four-tier coronavirus system.
  • A border will be placed around the city's 1.7 million residents who will be required to stay home.
  • Reviews of the measures will be held every 24 hours.
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New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland, is going into lockdown for three days at midnight tonight after three members of the same family tested positive for Covid-19.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the news at a press conference today and said Auckland would be entering Level 3 restrictions of its four-tier coronavirus alert system.

She said: "Three days should give us enough time to gather further information, undertake large scale testing and establish if there has been wider community transmission."

A border will be placed around the city's 1.7 million residents who will be required to stay at home other than for essential shopping and work which cannot be done from home, the BBC reported.

Schools will also be closed apart under Level 3 apart from for the children of essential workers, according to The Guardian.

The rest of the country will enter Level 2 restrictions for the same time period, meaning that social distancing will be enforced. There will be a 100 person limit on mass gatherings, and face masks will be mandatory on public transport, the Independent added.

Reviews of the measures will be held every 24 hours, according to Ardern, who canceled plans to attend Auckland's Big Gay Out event and instead held an urgent cabinet meeting in Wellington, the nation's capital, on how to manage the outbreak best, NBC noted.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the three cases are the first since January 24. Genomic testing is being conducted to see if the family's infection was linked to highly infectious variants.

Despite just one nationwide lockdown under Level 4 for six weeks in March, this will be Auckland's third since August when Level 3 restrictions were imposed and removed by the end of the month.

The news comes as New Zealand is due to begin rolling out the Pfizer vaccine on Saturday, with border staff the first in line.

There are currently 47 active Covid-19 cases, with 44 in managed hotel isolation, Axios noted. New Zealand has a population of five million and has reported 2,330 cases and 25 deaths since the pandemic started, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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