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Sometimes, living in the United States can make you feel like you’re looking at the rest of the world from a mirror universe. So it goes with the lastest news out of New Zealand, which is shutting down its largest city over a single confirmed coronavirus case.
Auckland, a city of 1.6 million people, is entering the country’s strictest tier of lockdown protocols, NBC News reports. The so-called “level 3 lockdown” will close all public spaces and end all activity deemed non-essential (going to work at “essential” jobs or going to buy groceries). The rest of the country will enter “level 2” lockdowns that place restrictions on public gatherings. The lockdown will last for seven-days, starting on Sunday.
The new lockdown comes after officials in the city confirmed a single case of COVID-19. The unnamed person became ill on Tuesday, according to a report from Reuters. Health officials believe the person was contagious since last Sunday. The longer lockdown comes on the heels of a three-day shutdown when the U.K. variant of coronavirus was found in the country.
“Based on this, we are in the unfortunate but necessary position to protect Aucklanders again,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said while announcing the restrictions.
New Zealand has barely cracked 2,000 confirmed cases since the beginning of the global pandemic. The United States, by contrast, has seen 28.5 million confirmed cases and around 511,000 deaths. The U.S. is averaging around 68,000 new cases per week while many municipalities remain partially or entirely free of restrictions on doing business.