Auckland back to lockdown after one Covid case detected


New Zealand's prime minister has ordered a seven-day lockdown of Auckland, the country's biggest city, after a single local coronavirus case of unknown origin was recorded.

New Zealand's fourth Twenty20 worldwide against Australia has been shifted to Wellington where it will be played behind closed doors on Friday as Auckland enters a seven-day COVID-19 lockdown on Sunday, the country's cricket board has said.

Health officials, who could not immediately confirm how the person got infected, said genome sequencing of the new infection was under way. As a result, the person is regarded as being potentially infectious from Sunday 21 February.

Under alert level three, public venues including playgrounds, libraries and gyms are closed and public events are canceled.

"Based on this, we are in the unfortunate but necessary position to protect Aucklanders again", Ardern said, announcing the lockdown.

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Health authorities were trying to find out whether the new case was linked to the earlier February cluster, now at 12 infections.

Under Alert Level 3, people in Auckland will not be permitted to leave their home unless for essential reasons.

The rest of New Zealand will be put into Level 2 restrictions that limit public gatherings, among others, Jacinda Ardern told a news conference on Saturday.

A New Zealand Cricket spokesman said the third match in the current T20 series, to be played in Wellington on Wednesday, will go ahead but without spectators. Both the Black Caps and the White Ferns will stay on in Wellington following their respective games on March 3 which will also be played to empty stands.

Sport is not allowed under Level Three and Ardern's snap decision meant it was unlikely the start of the America's Cup final between holders Team New Zealand and Italian challengers Luna Rossa would go ahead on March 6.