New Zealand is extending its lockdown as the country continues to identify more COVID-19 cases in its delta-fueled outbreak, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
Most of the country will be on an Alert Level 4 lockdown until Friday, she said, an extra four days from when the lockdown was supposed to expire. The government plans to review data again on Friday. Auckland, the city in northern New Zealand where the outbreak was first identified, will be on lockdown through the rest of August. The government plans to review the situation in Auckland once again on Monday.
On Tuesday, New Zealand had 41 "community cases" of COVID-19, or ones that can't be traced to the country's border, according to the country's government. There were 148 active cases the same day.
At Monday's news conference, Ardern said that the country's sitting of Parliament will be suspended for one week.
Last week, the country went into its first lockdown since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, after a single case of COVID-19 was identified in a person whose illness couldn't be linked to travel or the country's border testing.
"We have made decisions on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than start too low, not contain the virus, and see it move quickly," Ardern said during a news conference last week.
During an Alert Level 4 lockdown, people are asked to shelter in place and leave their home only if they're doing things such as going to the grocery or dairy store or the pharmacy, seeking medical care, or getting a COVID-19 test.
New Zealand has been applauded by some people for its response to the pandemic. Around 19% of New Zealand's population is fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country, with a population of about 5 million, has had 26 total COVID-19 deaths, according to the university.
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