New Zealand’s Covid-19 outbreak continues to spread, with 83 cases announced on Sunday – a new daily high for this outbreak.
All but one of the new cases were found in Auckland, with the other in Wellington.
A total of 511 New Zealanders have been infected in the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant, first identified in the community on 17 August.
New Zealand entered a national lockdown within hours of the positive case being picked up, which will continue for at least another week.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has warned that Auckland, the country’s biggest city, is likely to be in lockdown for at least another fortnight – and possibly longer.
Ardern said her government was seeking more information on the spread of the infections.
“If we need to tighten up our restrictions further, we will,” she told a televised briefing.
New Zealanders had been living virtually virus-free and without curbs until the August outbreak. So far, the country has recorded just over 3,100 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and 26 related deaths, according to the health ministry.
Of the current community cases, 34 people were in hospital and two of them in intensive care.
“Having positive cases in our communities, along with the impact of lockdowns I know can be hugely unsettling, and that uncertainty can impact everyone’s mental health,” Ardern said, announcing additional financial resources for mental health and urging people to seek help.
“So, it’s OK to feel overwhelmed, to feel upset, or even to feel frustrated because this situation is often all of those things.”
With Reuters and AAP