New Zealand extends nationwide lockdown as Covid outbreak tops 100 cases

New Zealand extends nationwide lockdown as Covid outbreak tops 100 cases

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended the nationwide lockdown until midnight Friday, after New Zealand recorded another 35 coronavirus cases, bringing the total number in its outbreak to 107.

The epicenter of the outbreak, Auckland, where 99 cases were detected so far, will remain in lockdown until at least August 31. The rest of the country has seen only 8 cases, so restriction there will be reviewed later this week, Ardern announced.

“Six days into the outbreak, we are building a picture of Delta's spread,” she said.

The safest option for all of us right now is to hold the course for longer.

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The Lambton Quay business district is devoid of people on the first day of a lockdown to curb the spread of a new coronavirus outbreak, in Wellington, New Zealand, August 18, 2021.
New Zealand’s snap nationwide lockdown triggers protests, as Covid outbreak grows to 7 cases, traced to Australia’s NSW

New Zealand entered its snap lockdown – one of the strictest in the world – last Tuesday, after authorities detected just a single 'community-transmitted infection'. The restrictions effectively placed the entire population under isolation, shutting down most businesses, schools and public spaces.

Authorities in New Zealand hope to contain the outbreak through rigorous contact tracing, testing and isolation, apparently following the model of neighboring Australia – and China. So far, contact tracers have identified more than 280 locations and some 13,230 individuals “of interest.”

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