Coronavirus: World reacts to New Zealand's lockdown move nearly one week on

As New Zealand enters its sixth day in lockdown, the world is reacting to Aotearoa's move to shut the country down amid an outbreak of COVID-19.

There are currently 107 cases in the outbreak, 35 of which were reported on Monday. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday all of New Zealand will remain in COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown until at least Friday 11:59pm with Auckland in lockdown till at least the same time on Tuesday

The country entered an alert level 4 lockdown last Tuesday after just one case was found in Auckland. Since then, the world has reacted with bewilderment over the decision to lockdown following a single COVID-19 case.

Mark Dolan from the GB News took aim at New Zealand and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for putting the country into lockdown. Dolan produced a monologue on his evening show, Tonight Live with Mark Dolan, criticising the lockdown and New Zealand of having "no prospect of getting back to normal". 

"Things go from bad to worse in New Zealand," Dolan says. "The saintly Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, reminded people not to talk to their neighbours. 

"There is even talk about splitting New Zealand in two to fight the Indian-Delta outbreak as it records another wait for it, 21 cases. 

"With no prospect of getting back to normal for months if not years to come, Australia and New Zealand are a salutary lesson of what happens if you try to stop a virus like COVID, especially the Delta variant.

"Living with this virus is going to be the only show in town. Zero COVID leads to zero economies, zero society, zero freedom and zero democracy." 

The UK Telegraph’s Louis Ashworth also took aim at Ardern saying the current COVID-19 approach is like "taking a step into the past" and questioned whether New Zealand could continue its elimination strategy into the future. 

"Toilet paper shortages. Compulsory masks. A nation enthralled by the movements of a single COVID-19 spreader. Watching New Zealand's current news cycle is like taking a step into the past," he writes. "The so-called 'Auckland cluster' threatens to end a period of almost unbelievable control of the virus in the world's southernmost country.

"The country is now the last real holdout of the 'zero COVID' strategy shared with its near neighbour Australia, which has seen its own efforts fall apart amid similarly low vaccination rates."

The Telegraph also took exception to New Zealand's slow vaccination rollout and explaining the shortfalls of our "wait and see" stance. 

"Low rates of inoculation show the shortfalls of the 'wait and see' stance that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Government took last year. As international peers more blighted by the coronavirus scrambled to secure doses last autumn, Wellington was more ponderous, awaiting trial information and calling for worst-affected nations to be prioritised."

Another writer from the Telegraph wrote a brutal opinion piece on Ardern's decision to move New Zealand to a level 4 lockdown. Matthew Lesh called the decision "poetic justice" and New Zealand's approach has "frightening consequences".  

"We now have a vaccine," Lesh writes. "The ingenious jabs substantially reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death from the virus. They do not mean zero risks or, for that matter, zero cases. 

"But they change the calculation: elimination becomes a costly strategy with very limited benefit. What's the point of lockdowns and maintaining closed borders for a virus that, with vaccines in the mix, no longer causes much harm to individual people? 

"New Zealand has not come to this realisation. It has fetishised 'zero risks' for the past 17 months and shows little interest in updating its strategy.

 "New Zealand's zero COVID strategy has had frightening consequences. 

"A once-welcoming nation is turning into an isolated dystopia, where liberties are taken away in a heartbeat and outsiders are shunned. Living under the constant threat of disruptive and psychologically crushing lockdowns. 

"Being closed off to the world, with citizens' ability to travel curtailed and foreigners largely prevented from entering. So much for the open, welcoming liberal nation projected by Ardern." 

The world might be criticising New Zealand, but Kiwis haven't lost their sense of humour. The hashtag "#NZHellhole", initially a response to former US President Donald Trump’s attempts to call New Zealand out on its COVID-19 response, has again been trending since New Zealand went into lockdown last Tuesday. 

One Twitter user said: "Moved here four months ago from Australia. It's terribble, stay away from this #NZHellhole you'll hate it!"