WELLINGTON AFP Aug24, 2020-
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday extended a lockdown in New Zealand’s largest city, saying more time was needed to ensure a stubborn cluster of coronavirus infections was under control.
Ardern said stay-at-home orders would remain in place across Auckland until at least late Sunday, instead of restrictions easing late Wednesday as originally planned.
Auckland went into lockdown on August 12, a day after the virus re-emerged in the city, ending New Zealand’s record of 102 days without community transmission.
The cluster has since grown from four to 101 and its source remains unknown, despite extensive genome testing and contact tracing. Ardern also said masks would be compulsory on public transport and flights.
New Zealand suppressed the virus with a strict seven-week lockdown earlier this year and its re-emergence has forced the country’s general election to be pushed back to October 17 from September 19.