October 14 (Reuters) – New Zealand reported the largest increase in new coronavirus cases in six weeks on Thursday, with all cases detected in Auckland, raising the prospect of an extension of lockdown restrictions in the largest city of the country after next week.
About 1.7 million people in Auckland are under strict stay-at-home orders until Monday as authorities work to contain the highly contagious Delta outbreak, the first major wave of community cases in the country since the start of the pandemic. .
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the increase in cases in Auckland was not unexpected “but it is increasing faster”, and he blamed illegal home gatherings for the increase.
“Now is not the time to be complacent,” Robertson said at a press conference in Wellington, urging Aucklanders to strictly adhere to the level three rules, by which most people are. invited to stay at home unless they have urgent reasons. Get out. .
A total of 71 new local cases have been reported in the country, all discovered in Auckland, up from 55 the day before.
“Today’s new case numbers are concerning, but not unexpected given where we are in the outbreak,” said Carolyn McElnay, director of public health.
About 2.49 million New Zealanders are fully vaccinated, or about 59% of the eligible population, and authorities have pledged to end the lockdowns once 90% are vaccinated. The authorities want to administer 100,000 doses in one day on Saturday during a mass vaccination campaign.
Even with the Delta virus outbreak, New Zealand has recorded 4,472 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 28 deaths during the pandemic, far fewer than many comparable countries.
(Report by Ringo Jose in Sydney) Editing by Peter Cony
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