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Coronavirus

New Zealand Extends Virus Lockdown; Australia Eyes Vaccines

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — New Zealand’s government on Monday said it is extending a strict nationwide lockdown until at least Friday as it tries to extinguish a growing coronavirus outbreak.

The news came after health authorities reported 35 new local cases of the fast-spreading delta variant, the highest number of daily cases since April last year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the lockdown would continue until at least the end of the month in Auckland, where most of the cases have been found.

“We do need more information, we need more certainty, we don’t want to take any risks with delta. If the world has taught us anything, it is to be cautious with this variant of COVID-19,” she told reporters.

The outbreak, first discovered last week, has grown to 107 cases.

But health authorities say they’ve found links between most of them, giving them hope they can contain the outbreak.

They said they’ve tested about 3% of the nation’s population over the past week.

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