New Zealand prolongs COVID-19 restrictions for one more week

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The new case is a young girl who is epidemiologically linked to an existing case associated with the Botany sub-cluster which has been genomically linked to the Auckland cluster.

Auckland has been put under alert level 2.5 - which bans social gatherings of more than 10 people - and those who fail to comply with orders under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 may be given a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment or a NZ$4,000 fine. Of those, 39 are imported cases in managed isolation facilities, and 57 are community cases, the statement said.

CNBC reported two new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand last Saturday, with the total number of confirmed infections rising to 1,444. The rest of the country has been in alert level 2 since the discovery of the cases in August.

"And for the rest of the country, while we will retain the status quo for now, Cabinet has agreed in principle that at 11.59pm on Monday, September 21, the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 1".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce Cabinet's decision on alert level settings today at 1pm.

The current rules would remain until at least September 21, she said.

Meanwhile, Marketview data released yesterday showed a 26 per cent drop in hospitality and accommodation spending since Auckland came out of level 3, but only a 3.5 per cent drop in retail spending compared to the previous year.

"More cases will emerge from this cluster's tail", Ardern said.

"These assessments are underpinned by a secure border, good levels of community testing and responsive contact tracing processes".

National Party leader Judith Collins questioned why the South Island remained in alert level 2, calling the restrictions "a continued lockdown".

As of today there are three people in hospital with Covid-19 - one is in isolation on a ward in Auckland City Hospital and two are in ICU, at North Shore and Waikato hospitals.

They are employed to work exclusively at the Auckland quarantine facility and do not work at any other site.

The healthcare worker has five household contacts who have all tested negative.

A deep clean of staff areas in the facility was completed yesterday. The coronavirus outbreak has claimed 24 lives in New Zealand.

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