New Zealand resets itself after COVID-19 case

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday that the country had returned to a strict lockdown after a new case of coronavirus was reported in Auckland, the country’s largest city, for the first time in six months.

New Zealand will be completely closed for three days from Wednesday, while Auckland and Coromandel, the coastal city where the patient also stayed, will be closed for seven days.

Schools, houses of worship, administrations and all businesses will have to close and only essential services will remain operational.

“The best thing we can do to get out of this situation as quickly as possible is to do our best,” Jacinda Ardern told a news conference.

The previous case of COVID-19 reported was in New Zealand in February.

The New Zealand dollar was down 1.5% at $0.6926 when the close was announced. A return to confinement may affect monetary policy decisions due to be announced by the National Central Bank on Wednesday.

So far, markets had been expecting New Zealand to be the first developed country to raise interest rates since the start of the pandemic.

(Reporting by Pravin Menon, French version by Kate Enteringer, Editing by Marc Angrand)

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