COVID-19: One year since New Zealand recorded first case of coronavirus

Auckland is entering its fourth lockdown on the same day as NZ's first recorded case.
Auckland is entering its fourth lockdown on the same day as NZ's first recorded case. Photo credit: Getty Images

As Auckland awakes to the prospect of another week in lockdown, it is 12 months to the day since the country recorded its first case of COVID-19. 

On February 28 2020 New Zealand became the 48th country in the world to report a case of COVID-19. 

The Ministry of Health said in a statement back then the infected individual was in their 60s and was in Auckland Hospital in a stable condition.

They were a New Zealand citizen who returned to the country from Iran via Bali, Indonesia.

The statement used words like contact tracing and isolation that were to become a familiar part of the nation's vocabulary. 

"Household contacts are in isolation as a precautionary measure. Public health officials have begun tracing the patient’s other close contacts to ensure appropriate protection measures are in place, including on the flight involved which originated in Tehran and came via Bali.

"The person arrived in Auckland on 26 February and travelled home in a private car. Their family became concerned about their condition and called Healthline," the statement said.

The Ministry also said the chances of a community outbreak were low. 

On this day in February 2020, the world was largely unaware of the mass disruption the relatively new virus would wreak upon the world.

Just over a month earlier the Ministry of Health had said the risk to New Zealand was low. 

By the start of February, there were only 14,557 confirmed cases of the virus and 305 deaths globally. 

A year later that figure stands at 113 million, with 2.5 million deaths. 

Nearly every country in the world has been affected and lockdowns have become a part of life for billions. 

In New Zealand, new cases began to trickle in and by March 7 the country had five cases. 

By now there were restrictions on travellers arriving from China, who had to self-isolate for 14 days. 

The requirement to self-isolate was soon made mandatory for all tourists and by March 19 New Zealand's borders were closed for the first time in history. 

New cases were being reported on a daily basis and on March 26, just under a month after the first case here, the country went into level 4 lockdown. 

Twelve months from that first case Auckland is in its fourth lockdown. 

The latest alert level changes come after an older sibling of a Papatoetoe High School student tested positive for COVID-19 along with their mother. The case has been infectious for as long as a week and hasn't been in isolation.

Prime Minister Ardern said in a late-night press conference on Saturday several high-risk places were involved; including a supermarket, gym, and the Manukau Institute of Technology.

The older sibling is a 21-year-old man who's a student at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

Estimates say each shift up in alert level costs the city around $45 million a day in lost GDP. On top of that is the mental toll as residents of New Zealand's biggest city yo-yos in and out of lockdown.