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New Zealand returns to lockdown as COVID-19 makes a comeback

There are about 10 cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand as of Wednesday, but it is expected to rise to about 50-100.

Updated: August 18, 2021 - 12:32pm

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New Zealand returned Tuesday to a COVID-19 lockdown after six months to prevent the spread of the virus's highly contagious delta variant.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mandated a three-day lockdown after a single case of the suspected variant was discovered in the largest city, Auckland, according to Reuters.

"From the experience of what we've seen overseas, we are absolutely anticipating more cases," Ardern said.

Over 21% of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated. 

The last reported cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand was February when 26 people died and 2,500 people had confirmed infections, the wire service also reports.

Since the lockdown announcement, schools and businesses have moved online, but there are still dozens of people protesting the change, leading to some being arrested and others taken into custody. 

The country will be on the highest alert level for at least three days and in level 4 lockdown, while Auckland will be for seven days. It is unknown how the virus entered Auckland, but genome sequencing showed it was linked to an outbreak in Australia’s New South Wales.

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