United Kingdom

Jacinda Ardern extends New Zealand's lockdown by 12 days after an explosion of coronavirus cases 

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended the country's lockdown by an additional 12 days after an explosion of coronavirus cases.

The island nation reported 13 new cases of coronavirus on Friday.  

A total of 30 cases have now been recorded after the country spent 102 days free of the virus. 

The earliest coronavirus case was detected after a worker at the Americold Coolstore in Mt Wellington became sick on July 31.

This worker may not be the earliest case as the source of the virus transmission has not been discovered.  

'It will grow before it slows. And it may continue to be linked to schools, churches and social gatherings, as it has done to date,' Ms Ardern warned on Friday. 

'What is important is making sure we establish the perimeter of the cluster and to stop it from growing. 

'In keeping with our cautionary approach and New Zealand's philosophy of going hard and going early, today, cabinet has agreed to maintain our current settings for an additional 12 days, bringing us to a full two weeks in total,' she said.

Auckland will remain in level 3 restrictions while the rest of the country will be restricted to level 2.    

All of the new cases are connected to the existing cluster except for one, who is in hospital, which is still under investigation. 

Two of Friday's new cases are linked to the Americold frozen storage facility, bringing the total number to 13 and the Auckland count to 19.   

It has prompted health authorities to probe whether the virus was spread on frozen food shipments. 

Five direct cases are workers, while seven others are family of infected staff. The refrigerated warehousing company is awaiting the results for 14 other workers.  

More to come  

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