Wellington, New Zealand reported 75 new community cases of Delta variant of COVID-19, including 74 in the largest city Auckland and one in the capital Wellington on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country’s community outbreak to 687.
Auckland has 671 community cases and Wellington has 16 cases, according to the Ministry of Health.
All of the cases have or will be transferred safely to a quarantine facility, under strict infection prevention and control procedures, including the use of full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a press conference.
There are 632 cases that have been clearly epidemiologically-linked to another case or sub-cluster, and a further 55 for which links are yet to be fully established, Bloomfield said.
Of the current community cases, 32 cases are in hospital, including eight cases in intensive care units (ICUs), he said.
New Zealand also reported one new case in recent returnees who have remained in a managed isolation and quarantine facility in Auckland, according to a statement of Ministry of Health.
The total number of confirmed cases in New Zealand since the start of the pandemic is 3,288, it said.
Auckland will remain at the top level 4 national lockdown for two more weeks, with the area south of Auckland moving to level 3 at 11:59 p.m. local time Tuesday for a week. Northland will move to level 3 at 11:59 p.m. local time on Thursday if no new cases emerge.
Under the Alert Level 4 lockdown, businesses and schools are closed except for essential ones such as supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations. Life under level 3 will be relaxed to some degree as construction work and takeaway services can resume with the necessary safety measures in place.
The country has moved to a lockdown since midnight Aug. 17 after the first COVID-19 Delta variant case in the Auckland community was identified.