A higher Covid-19 alert level, just one step short of lockdown, has been implemented in Wellington, as authorities fear the more dangerous Delta strain of the deadly virus was brought to the island country.

New Zealand’s capital moved to a ‘level 2’ alert until at least the end of the week, its health officials announced Wednesday. Gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited under the fresh restrictions and social distancing rules are in place across the city.

The country with its population of nearly 5 million people has been enjoying a relatively quiet life during the global outbreak, with no new Covid cases reported in over 100 days lately. A quarantine-free travel bubble had been arranged with neighboring Australia, but has now been halted.

Worries over the new potential outbreak have emerged after a tourist from Sydney visited Wellington over the weekend and tested Covid-positive back in Australia. “This is the first time an Australian traveler has brought Covid-19 to NZ, and since gone home,” the health ministry said on Wednesday.

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There are concerns the man might have spread the Delta strain of the deadly virus. “This is a more infectious variant. The risk is higher than usual,” public health official Ashley Bloomfield said, as quoted by local media. He also said “everything’s on the table,” meaning the government cannot rule out a lockdown. (RT)