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New Zealand extends COVID-19 restrictions as outbreak spreads

More parts of New Zealand will be placed back under strict COVID-19 restrictions overnight, COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins announced on Friday.

He said Auckland, the country’s largest city, has been under restrictions after a single case was detected on Aug.18.

The number of cases in the outbreak has now reached 1,492.

Hipkins said a positive case had been detected in Northland, north of Auckland at the top of the North Island.

He noted that the region would be placed under restrictions in spite of it being unusual to enforce restrictions for one case.

“However, it’s vitally important that we get ahead of any potential spread and set up widespread testing and continue contact tracing efforts.

Read also: Snag for travellers as UK blacklists Nigeria’s Covid-19 vaccine certificate

“Businesses will be moved to contactless trade and education centres will close, although most are already shut due to the school holidays.

“The restrictions would be reviewed on Monday,” he said.

The response minister urge everyone to urgently get vaccinated and not to wait.

About 81 per cent of the country’s eligible population has received their first vaccine dose, with 53 per cent fully vaccinated.

Twenty-five cases have been detected in the Waikato, south of Auckland, which was placed into lockdown on Sunday.

With a population of 5 million, New Zealand has reported about 4,150 cases of infections since the onset of the pandemic with 28 deaths.

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