Sydney, Australia, Aug 30 (EFE).- The hard lockdown of New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland has been extended for two more weeks due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 Delta variant, the country’s prime minister announced Monday.
“We need to be confident we don’t have Delta circulating undetected in the community, and we need to be confident any cases we may have are contained and isolated,” Jacinda Ardern told a news conference in Wellington at the end of a cabinet meeting.
The authorities reported 53 new community Covid-19 cases on Monday, a drop compared to the 83 registered Sunday, bringing the total to more than 560 cases since the start of the outbreak.
Ardern also confirmed the slight easing of restrictions for the rest of the country – moving from national alert level 4 to 3 – from Tuesday at 11.59 pm local time, with the exception of Northland region, which will conclude its level 4 restrictions two days later.
The government of the Labor leader issued hard lockdown orders for the entire country on Aug. 17 after detecting a case of community transmission in Auckland, the first since Feb. 28.
New Zealand, which has one of the slowest vaccination rates of developed countries, has been recognized worldwide for its effective management of the pandemic, which consisted of closing its borders and carrying out hard and swift lockdowns.
The country, which reported on Monday that it is investigating its first probable death linked to the Pfizer vaccine, has fully vaccinated some 1.2 million of its 5 million residents and intends to finish its immunization campaign by the end of the year.
Health authorities have recorded 3,519 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 26 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. EFE