New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday imposed a countrywide lockdown for three days after one Covid-19 case was reported in Auckland city.

This was the first coronavirus case that New Zealand has reported in six months.

From Wednesday onwards, the entire island country will be placed under a Alert 4 lockdown, which is the most stringent one.

Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula are likely to stay at Level 4 for the next seven days.

Under the new restrictions, residents would be able to leave home only to buy groceries, access healthcare facilities, exercise in their local area or go to offices if working from home is not possible. Several public spaces, including restaurants, bars, schools, gymnasiums, cinema halls, and playgrounds would be closed.

Ardern said that the best strategy would be to “go hard” in order to deal with the situation as quickly as possible, Reuters reported.

“We have made the decision on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than to go low, not contain the virus and see it move quickly,” she said.

After the prime minister’s announcement, New Zealand residents were reportedly seen crowding at supermarkets to stock up on supplies, according to Reuters.

The person who tested positive for Covid-19 was a 58-year-old man, according to the BBC. Authorities have reportedly identified 23 locations, where he could have transmitted the virus.

New Zealand has been largely successful in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. The country has reported only 26 deaths due to the disease since the pandemic began in December, according to AFP.

The vaccine rollout in New Zealand, however, has been slower than some other developed countries, and only about 20% of the population has been fully inoculated.

In comparison, about 77% of adults in the United Kingdom have been completely vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the BBC.