New Zealand Extends Lockdown as Cases Reach Wellington

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended the lockdown in New Zealand as part of the effort to prevent the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.

As the outbreak spread beyond the largest city, Auckland, to the capital, Wellington, Ardern prolonged the lockdown until midnight Tuesday for the population of 5.1 million people.

The 11 additional cases on Friday, three of which were in Wellington, brought the total number of infections in New Zealand to 31.

According to the health ministry, three in Wellington had recently traveled to Auckland and visited locations identified as exposed to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, health chief Ashley Bloomfield warned that the lockdown in Auckland, the epicenter of the outbreak, may be extended further.

Ardern has received praises for her strategy to stop the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand and enforce strict lockdowns and close the country’s international border in March 2020.

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