New Zealand imposes three-day lockdown on Auckland after 3 new local COVID-19 cases

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FILE PHOTO: People jog past a social distancing sign in Auckland, New Zealand, August 31, 2020

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minsiter Jacinda Ardern on Sunday announced a three-day lockdown in the country's biggest city Auckland, after three new local COVID-19 cases were reported.

Ardern said the level 3 restrictions, which require everyone to stay home except for essential shopping and essential work, repeating the super cautious approach the country has taken over the past year in stamping out the pandemic.

New Zealand has not had any local virus cases for months until the recent infections and was ranked the best performing in an index of almost 100 countries based on containment of the coronavirus. By closing its international borders early the island nation virtually eradicated the virus in the early stage of the pandemic.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Michael Perry)