New Zealand delays general election after COVID-19 outbreak

New Zealand has delayed its election after a COVID-19 outbreak in its largest city, the prime minister announced Monday local time. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the election will be pushed back four weeks, from Sept. 19 to Oct. 19. 

She said during a briefing the decision was made after consulting with leaders of every political party. 

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Arden said the government landed on a date that “provided sufficient time for parties to plan around a range of circumstances we could be campaigning under, for the electoral commission to prepare, and for voters to feel assured of a safe, accessible and critical election.” 

The decision comes after New Zealand extended a lockdown on Friday in Auckland after facing its first COVID-19 outbreak in more than three months. The country had gone 102 days without any reported coronavirus cases. 

New Zealand has reported a total of 1,622 coronavirus cases and 22 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.