Auckland lockdown extends as New Zealand battles Delta variant

Aneela SiddiquiWeb Editor

13th Sep, 2021. 01:14 pm

On Monday, New Zealand extended a strict lockdown in its largest city, mandating 1.7 million people in Auckland to stay indoors for at least another week in order to contain tiny outbreaks of the highly dangerous Delta variant of coronavirus.

On Monday, health officials reported 33 additional cases of Covid-19’s Delta variant, all in Auckland, which was higher than 23 and 20 cases reported over the weekend.

After that, Auckland will drop from level 4 to level 3, which implies that some limitations will be lifted, offices, schools, and public venues would remain closed.

“It’s clear there is no widespread transmission of the virus in Auckland, but so long as we have new cases emerging, there are risks,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference, announcing the decision to prolong the city’s lockdown until September 21.

Since March 2020, New Zealand’s lockdowns and international border closures have been credited with reining  Covid-19, allowing people to resume normal activities.

Since the pandemic began, there have been only 3,593 cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, with 27 deaths.

However, Ardern has been criticized for the country’s slow vaccination efforts during the Delta outbreak. So far, just 34% of the country’s 5.1 million people have been properly vaccinated.

To boost its vaccination campaign, New Zealand has purchased doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from Spain and Denmark.

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