Coronavirus: How the world reacted to New Zealand's latest COVID-19 lockdown

The world has reacted with a mixture of surprise, praise and criticism to the news New Zealand has gone into lockdown following the detection of COVID-19 in the community.

While many Kiwis dolefully accepted the alert level 4 measures announced on Tuesday night - we're well-versed in the Government's elimination strategy by now - the rest of the world appears confused that we'd lock down without rampant spread of the virus.

The likes of the US, India, Brazil and large swathes of Europe have taken very different approaches than New Zealand to limiting COVID-19, using lockdowns only when the virus has got out of hand and focusing on high vaccination rates to get themselves through.

It's only natural then that global media coverage of New Zealand's lockdown emphasises the seemingly extreme response of telling an entire country to stay home and isolate when only a single case has been found.

"New Zealand announces it's locking down the entire country … over one Covid case," a headline on CNN reads, barely concealing its surprise.

Coronavirus: How the world reacted to New Zealand's latest COVID-19 lockdown

"One coronavirus case. That's all it took to send New Zealand into a three-day, nationwide lockdown late Tuesday as the country's six-month streak without local transmission came to an end," The Washington Post wrote.

Reuters focused on the dramatic way life was changing for Kiwis, saying Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement had "left people struggling to stack up essentials, businesses shutting abruptly and schools and offices making last-minute changes to go online".

Many other outlets focused on New Zealand's achievement of keeping COVID-19 out of the community for so long, noting it'd been six months since we last had a case outside of our managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

Al Jazeera noted New Zealand's "tough response" to previous outbreaks was much the same as the current approach, and had helped us "virtually eliminate COVID-19 domestically, allowing people to live without restrictions".

But among the praise was some criticism - not just at what the Associated Press described as the "drastic action" of moving to alert level 4 so quickly, but at our low vaccination rates.

"Its vaccination programme has rolled out at a slow pace, with only around 20 percent of people fully vaccinated and 33 percent of people having received one dose," the BBC noted.

The New York Times added that fears of a Delta outbreak here had been "heightened" by the lack of jabs administered, noting that the first case detected had not been vaccinated.

Gizmodo described Ardern's decision to pause vaccinations for 48 hours - one questioned by our own politicians since she announced it - as "curious".

Elsewhere, UK far-right politician Nigel Farage weighed in on our lockdown on Twitter, saying "Jacinda Ardern has lost her marbles" and labelling New Zealand "the land of panic".

Kiwi-British gossip columnist Dan Wootton joined the pile-on, condemning Ardern for taking such an extreme approach to a virus "we all know we have to learn to live with".

"Jacinda Ardern’s Zero Covid fantasy is nothing short of a never ending nightmare," he tweeted.