New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken a huge swipe at Sydney’s covid response, as she put her country on a strict lockdown after its first coronavirus case in six months was linked to NSW.
It’s the first time the Delta variant has spread in New Zealand with the cluster now growing to at least 10 people.
Ms Ardern did not hide the fact that she blames NSW’s “light and long” lockdown for the spread of covid across the Tasman.
“Our ability to narrow down that this is a case that is linked to New South Wales outbreak, gives us a lot of leads to chase down as quickly as we can,” she said.
Asked by a reporter “what is your message to people who questioned the need for an alert level four lockdown?’
“Australia,” Ms Ardern replied bluntly. “We’ve seen the dire consequences of taking too long to act in other countries, not least our neighbours.”
“We have seen what can happen elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it. We only get one chance,” she said.
New Zealanad has made mask-use mandatory for people over 12, if they are visiting supermarkets, pharmacies or other locations open for essential services. Mask use is already mandatory on public transport.
The vaccine rollout will also continue today, after momentarily being paused. Currently only 24 per cent of New Zealand’s population is vaccinated.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian defended her coronavirus restrictions after she announced a record-breaking 633 local cases.
Ms Berejiklian remained adamant the shutdown in Greater Sydney has been sufficiently strict and blamed “too many people” who have been breaking the rules for the rise in cases.
“We have the right settings in place. But unfortunately too many people continue to do the wrong thing,” she said.
“We know the settings we have in place are some of the harshest that Australia has ever seen.
“Unfortunately it only takes a small number of people to do the wrong thing, to cause this amount of spread.
NSW Police issued 736 penalty notices across the state in the last 24 hours.
Deputy Commissioner Worboys said 448 of those were issued to residents who were moving outside of their houses without a good reason.