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NZ COVID outbreak spreads to Wellington, national lockdown extended

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will keep all of New Zealand in lockdown until at least Tuesday August 24, after it was confirmed the new Auckland coronavirus outbreak has spread to Wellington.

The Ministry of Health said earlier three cases had been detected in the nation’s capital in people who had recently travelled to Auckland.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there were 11 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community, eight of those in Auckland. This brought the total number of cases associated with the current Auckland outbreak to 31.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Credit:AP

He said genome sequencing had confirmed that of those, 19 were linked to the Auckland outbreak, the other 12 were under investigation.

Ardern said although progress had been made to link most cases, it was too soon to release people from a three-day national lockdown that began on Wednesday. Auckland is already locked down for seven days and Ardern indicated it was likely to be extended beyond next Tuesday.

“Based of what we know and what we learnt about Delta,” she said that authorities needed time to test the 1189 contacts identified as of Friday morning.

A staff member talks to people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 in Wellinton.

A staff member talks to people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 in Wellinton.Credit:Getty Images

One of the cases was a patient being treated for other conditions at Auckland’s North Shore Hospital, prompting the ministry to begin diverting all emergency cases away from the facility as a precaution.

All confirmed cases have or were being transferred safely to a managed isolation facility, the ministry said.

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