International students in New Zealand — brace yourself for a new wave of infections and lockdowns.
Auckland is preparing for a second lockdown after four new infections were found, following 102 days of zero infections in New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday that there are now four confirmed cases of the virus from one Auckland family.
Many are calling it a “mystery outbreak” as the source of the infection is unknown, and those who tested positive have not reported any overseas travel.
Auckland will be moved to Alert Level 3 for three days, from midday on Wednesday through midnight on Friday, and many establishments will be closed.
The rest of New Zealand will be raised to Level 2 until Friday, which limits social gatherings to 100 people. Restaurants, cafes, bars, museums, libraries, cinemas and other public venues can still stay open.
Ardern said, “These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have widespread contact tracing so we can find out more about how this case arose and make decisions about how to respond to it once we have further information.”
“I know that this information will be very difficult to receive. We had all hoped not to find ourselves in this position again. But we had also prepared for it. And as a team, we have also been here before.”
For international students, this means they will have to buckle down at home and continue their studies via remote learning.
International students studying in Auckland, as well as the rest of New Zealand, must be vigilant of the current situation.
They should continue to practise good hygiene, avoid close contact with those who have symptoms, and keep track of they’ve been.
Here’s what you should know about the latest lockdowns:
What is Alert Level 3?
Alert Level 3 is the highest level of lockdown in New Zealand.
According to Unite Against COVID-19, the New Zealand government’s dedicated website for the pandemic, “Under Alert Level 3 you should continue to stay in your household bubbles whenever you are not at work or school.
“You must stay within your household bubble but can expand this to connect with close family and whānau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people.”
Additionally, you must maintain physical distancing of two metres outside your home, when buying groceries or exercising.
Wearing face coverings when you’re out and about is not mandatory, but highly recommend to prevent spreading or catching the virus.
Only essential businesses are allowed to offer services. Supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations will be open, but restaurants and cafes can only offer delivery and pick-up services.
All public venues such as libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets must be closed. Gatherings of up to 10 people are only allowed for weddings, funerals, and “tangihanga” (a traditional Māori funeral rite held on a marae).
Can you have people over or visit others?
You should not be mingling with people outside your bubble. According to Unite Against COVID-19, “Keep your bubble exclusive and only include people where it will keep you and them safe and well. If anyone within your bubble feels unwell, they must immediately self-isolate from everyone else within your bubble.”
What if international students in New Zealand get sick?
If you’re not feeling well, stay home and avoid contact with others. The government of New Zealand advises those with symptoms of cold or flu to call their doctor or Healthline, and seek advice about getting tested for COVID-19.
Can you exercise outdoors?
Under Alert 3, you can do low-risk recreation activities in your local area, such as go for a walk or a run, swim at the beach, or fish from a wharf.
You can only do recreational activities by yourself or with people from your bubble.
Can you leave or enter Auckland?
Travelling into the city of Auckland will be banned, unless it’s your place of residence and you are returning home. It’s best not to leave at this time unless it’s an emergency as you may have trouble re-entering the city.