New Zealand extending lockdown as COVID-19 outbreak grows
New Zealand’s government has extended its nationwide lockdown as COVID-19 cases grow around the world.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday said the nation’s lockdown will continue until the end of August, adding that a new data model shows the current outbreak in the country will peak within the next few days, The Associated Press reported.
“We do need more information. We need more certainty. We don’t want to take any risks with delta,” Ardern said, referring to the highly contagious variant. “If the world has taught us anything, it is to be cautious with this variant of COVID-19.”
The new lockdown means that most New Zealanders will remain at home, only being able to leave for buying groceries and medicines and exercising, according to the AP.
Ardern also said New Zealand’s parliament will suspend sessions for a week due to the outbreak, the AP reported.
New Zealand’s health officials reported 35 new delta variant cases, the country’s highest total since April 2020.
Twenty percent of New Zealand’s population has been fully vaccinated, the AP noted, much lower than in the United States.