(Wellington) New Zealand extended its national lockdown to August 31 on Friday to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases related to the Delta variant, and that measure will remain in place for longer in Auckland, the epicenter of the epidemic .
Posted on Aug 27, 2021 at 8:23 am
A case of the much more contagious variant was discovered last week in Auckland, the major city of the North Island, which ended six months without local contamination.
With a total of 347 cases, including 70 on Friday, this infection has led to the country’s largest epidemic focus since the pandemic began.
On August 17, the national sentence was imposed until August 31.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there are signs that the epidemic will soon peak if the lockdown is maintained.
“We should hit a plateau in the number of cases soon,” she said.
“Our job is to keep working hard to bend over and then flatten the (infection) curve.”
She said Auckland, where all but 14 cases have been identified, and the neighboring Northland region would need to be contained for at least two more weeks.
The archipelago wants to continue its “Zero COVID-19” strategy, while the spread of the much more contagious Delta variant undermines the effectiveness of a previously successful policy.
Ms. Ardern said police checkpoints are being set up to prevent movement between Auckland in Northland province and the rest of the country.
To date, out of five million residents, only 26 people have died of COVID-19, thanks to strict border closings and lockdowns and an intensive traceability policy as new cases emerge.