A medical staff member tests a shopper at a supermarket carpark in Christchurch, New Zealand. AP
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that the country's biggest city Auckland will remain in lockdown for another two weeks as it looks to control the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
There will be no changes in the social restrictions that have already been in place for over two months in Auckland under alert level 3, Ardern said at a news conference.
Earlier, New Zealand health care workers administered a record number of vaccine jabs on Saturday as the nation held a festival aimed at getting more people inoculated against the coronavirus.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attends a meeting.
Musicians, sports stars and celebrities pitched in for the "Vaxathon” event, which was broadcast on television and online for eight hours straight. By late afternoon, more than 120,000 people had gotten shots, eclipsing the daily record of 93,000 set in August.
A throwback to TV fundraising "telethon” events that were popular from the 1970s through the 1990s, it comes as New Zealand faces its biggest threat since the pandemic began, with an outbreak of the Delta variant spreading through the largest city of Auckland and beyond.
Ardern, who chatted with motorists at a drive-through vaccination centre in Wellington, initially set a target of 100,000 jabs for the day but upped that to 150,000 after the first target was met.
She also set a target of 25,000 shots for the indigenous Maori, whose vaccination numbers have been lagging and who have been hit hard by the latest outbreak.
With both nations seeing significant drops in new infections, Ardern accepted Australian counterpart Scott Morrison's invitation to join a virtual meeting of the National Cabinet, which brings together Australia's regional and federal leaders.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday slapped down Donald Trump's talk of an out-of-control coronavirus "surge" in New Zealand as "patently wrong".
The government will drop social distancing restrictions form midnight on Monday as it moves to a level 1 national alert from Level 2, Ardern told a news conference. Public and private events, the retail and hospitality industries and all public transport could resume without social distancing norms still in place across much of the world.
The authorities highlighted that the move is applicable to all pilgrims irrespective of their nationalities.
Svante Paabo has spearheaded research comparing the genome of modern humans and our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans, showing that there was mixing between the species.
A circular issued by the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources on Saturday added that work will resume on Monday, 10th October.