WORLD New Zealand reports 11 new Delta cases of COVID-19 in community, extends national lockdown

WORLD

New Zealand reports 11 new Delta cases of COVID-19 in community, extends national lockdown

Xinhua

12:44, August 20, 2021

WELLINGTON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand reported 11 new Delta cases of COVID-19 in the community on Friday, bringing the total number of cases associated with the current Auckland community outbreak to 31.

A woman wearing a face mask walks on the street in Auckland, New Zealand, Aug. 18, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

The current top level 4 national lockdown will be extended until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 24, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at a press conference.

"We just don't quite know the full scale of this Delta outbreak," Ardern said.

All new cases have or are being transferred safely to a managed isolation facility under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including the use of full PPE, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of the 11 new cases, eight are in Auckland and three in Wellington, the first time this community outbreak seen out of Auckland. The three in Wellington had recently travelled to Auckland and visited a location of interest there, said a ministry statement.

Among the 31 total cases, 19 cases are now confirmed as part of the Auckland outbreak, with the remaining 12 under investigation to confirm the linkage to the outbreak. Initial assessment shows most cases have a plausible link, it said.

The Auckland cluster is linked to the Sydney outbreak in Australia - a returnee from Sydney who arrived in Auckland on a flight on Aug. 7 tested positive of Delta COVID-19.

Five of the newly reported cases on Friday are from family bubbles of previously confirmed cases, according to the ministry.

COVID-19 was also detected in wastewater samples collected on Wednesday from the Waitakere area in Auckland, it said, adding testing is in progress for a number of samples.

More higher risk locations have been identified by public health staff as they are currently engaged in contact tracing work, it said.

New Zealand has moved to the top level 4 national lockdown from midnight Tuesday after the first identified Delta COVID-19 case in the Auckland community.

Under the Alert Level 4 lockdown, businesses and schools are closed except for essential ones such as supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations.

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