New Zealand extends pandemic curbs for another week in Auckland - GulfToday

New Zealand extends pandemic curbs for another week in Auckland


A medical staff member tests a shopper at a COVID-19 testing station in Christchurch, New Zealand. AP

Gulf Today Report

New Zealand will extend coronavirus curbs for another week in its largest city of Auckland, but ease some after that, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, another day of record new infections.

The country reported 162 new Delta variant cases of coronavirus in the community on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country's community outbreak to 3,510.


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According to the Ministry of Health, the new infections, 156 were recorded in the largest city of Auckland, five in nearby Waikato, and one in Northland.

Fifty-three cases are being treated in hospitals, including three in intensive care units or high dependency units, said a Ministry statement.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attends a press conference. File photo

As New Zealand battles the spread of the infectious Delta variant of COVID-19, it has agreed on a Nov. 10 re-opening date for retail stores and institutions such as libraries and museums, Ardern told a news conference.

"Because of the high vaccination rates in Auckland we can move with greater confidence," Ardern said.

"These decisions are carefully balanced and allows us to release some of the pressure and fatigue that we know exists in Auckland."

The city's limit on the size of outdoor gatherings was lifted to 25 people.

New Zealand won global praise last year for a response that stamped out the coronavirus, but has proved unable to quash the current outbreak, forcing it to adopt a strategy of living with the virus instead of the earlier aim of elimination.

People visit a pop-up vaccination site in suburban Auckland, New Zealand. AP

Still, it has fared far better than many other countries, with tough curbs that have held COVID-19 infections to about 6,000 and a toll of just 28 deaths.

But Ardern said high vaccination rates gave protection to keep down hospital admissions.

"Previously we worked hard to eliminate every case. While Delta has forced us to change our approach, vaccines ensure we have the same goal," she added.

More than 75% of New Zealand, or about 3.1 million people, have now been fully vaccinated, while 88% have got one dose.

However, the government said an increasing number of new cases are among the indigenous Maori community, where the vaccination rate is lower.


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