NZ reports 35 new community Covid cases of Delta variant

Wellington, Aug 23 : New Zealand reported 35 new community Covid-19 cases of the Delta variant on Monday, among which 33 are from Auckland and two from Wellington, bringing the total number of infections in the country's community outbreak to 107.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a press conference that the country will remain at the top level 4 national lockdown for an additional four days until midnight Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The alert level will be reviewed again on Friday.

The country's largest city Auckland will remain in alert level 4 until August 31, Ardern said.

New Zealand moved to the top level 4 national lockdown from midnight August 17 after the first Covid-19 Delta variant case in the Auckland community was identified.

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

All of Monday's new community cases have been or are being transferred safely to a managed isolation facility, under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including the use of full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), according to the Ministry of Health.

"It's not unexpected to see a rise in daily case numbers at this stage.

At its peak last year, New Zealand had a daily total of 89 new cases," said a ministry statement.

The total number of community cases in Auckland, the country's largest city, is now 99 and Wellington's number of community cases have increased to eight, it said.

Of the 107 cases in the cluster, 72 are already epidemiologically linked to other community cases identified in the outbreak.

Investigations are continuing to determine whether and how the remaining 35 cases are linked to the outbreak.

However, most have a plausible link on initial assessment, such as people at a location of interest, the statement said.

Meanwhile, there are three new cases in recent returnees in managed isolation facilities.

The newly imported cases came from Belgium and Singapore and have remained in managed quarantine facilities in Auckland and Christchurch, according to the ministry.

Since the onset of the pandemic early last year, New Zealand has reported a total of 3,054 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 26 deaths.



Source: IANS