Two people wearing face masks depart a train station in Auckland, New Zealand.

Auckland will remain on alert level 2.5, which limits gatherings to no more than 10 people.(Reuters: Fiona Goodall)

New Zealand has retained restrictions put in place to beat the spread of the coronavirus until at least mid-September, as the country reported a new death related to the virus.

Auckland, the country’s largest city and the centre of a fresh outbreak, will remain on alert level 2.5, which limits gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Other parts of the country will be under alert level 2, which requires people to observe social distancing rules and restricts gathering sizes to no more than 100 people.

It comes after New Zealand’s health ministry said a man in his 50s died in an Auckland hospital on Friday due to COVID-19.

He was linked to a known Auckland cluster and was in intensive care for the past few days.

His death takes the number of COVID-19 related fatalities in the country to 23.

“I acknowledge the anxiety New Zealanders may be feeling about today’s news, both in the wider community and also for the family and whanau grieving over this death,” said the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

WATCH

Duration: 27 seconds
NZ authorities rule out the possibility of coronavirus transmission through chilled services

 

The ministry also reported five new COVID-19 cases on Friday — three cases of community transmission and two imported cases at managed isolation facilities.

The country has had 1,413 coronavirus cases 

 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern said the settings would be reviewed on September 14 because the new settings had only been in place for five days, so it was too early to know how well they were working.

“The best economic response remains a strong health response. If we get it right we will ultimately shake off restrictions faster and lessen the risk of bouncing around,” Ms Ardern said.

The Pacific nation of 5 million people had appeared to have succeeded in halting community transmission of COVID-19, but Auckland’s fresh outbreak prompted the government to place the city back in lockdown last month.

The lockdown was mostly lifted on Sunday (local time), allowing schools and offices to reopen, although masks are mandatory on public transport across the country.

“Today’s news reinforces the importance of our shared vigilance against COVID-19, the very serious consequences the virus can carry with it, and the measures we all need to take to stop the spread, break any chain of transmission and prevent deaths,” Dr Bloomfield said.

Comment:

Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern said the settings would be reviewed on September 14 because the new settings had only been in place for five days, so it was too early to know how well they were working.

But we are talking about 5 new cases and yet we are restricting movement and gatherings to under 10.

A woman from Dubai and a child from Uzbekistan — clearly the cases are linked to international travel. Are these people being quarantined at the border, or allowed to wander around for a few days?

Supporting what? The non- sense here is incredible. These ministers are talking about Covid like it’s developing a strategy for improving recycling waste. And yet the matter is far more serious. Because none of these politicians live in the real world  where people have jobs, businesses, family and other health issues to contend with. I could say more, but I will refrain…

 


ABC/Wires