Sun, 24 Oct 2021

WELLINGTON, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand reported 22 new community cases of Delta variant of COVID-19 on Monday, which brought the total number of cases in the country's community outbreak to 1,071.

The new cases were in the largest city Auckland and nearby Whakatiwai, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of the current community cases, 16 cases are in hospital, including four cases in intensive care units (ICUs) or high dependency units (HDUs), said a ministry statement.

Auckland, including three cases in Whakatiwai, has 1,051 community cases and the capital Wellington has 17 cases, the statement said.

There are 1,039 cases that have been clearly epidemiologically-linked to another case or sub-cluster, and a further 12 cases for which links are yet to be fully established, it said.

According to the Ministry of Health, New Zealand also reported one case in recent returnees. The case has remained in a managed isolation and quarantine facility in Auckland.

The total number of confirmed cases in New Zealand since the start of the pandemic is 3,725, according to the ministry.

Areas outside Auckland moved to Alert Level 2 from 11:59 p.m. local time on Sept. 7, which means businesses and schools are back to normal, with masks mandatory in certain settings and gatherings limited to 50 people in size.

Auckland has remained at Level 4, the top-level COVID-19 lockdown, for more than 30 days, longer than last year's lockdown, with schools and none-essential businesses closed.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce a new alert level decision after a post-cabinet meeting later on Monday.

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