New Zealand’s prime minister has announced Monday that the country’s largest city, with a population of 1.7 million, will remain in a strict lockdown in an effort to curb small outbreaks of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.
“It’s clear there is no widespread transmission of the virus in Auckland,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “but so long as we have new cases emerging, there are risks,” she added speaking at a news conference.
Auckland’s lockdown has been extended to September 21, with 33 new cases recorded Monday, following weekend reports of 23 and 20 cases.
New Zealand went into a countrywide snap lockdown on August 17. Some restrictions, allowing people to go back to offices and schools, were lifted elsewhere in New Zealand last week.
Israel was warned that Israeli travelers who went to the Ukrainian city of Uman for Rosh Hashanah celebrations and re-entered Israel with fake negative COVID test results will face full criminal charges.
“The Israeli government views the matter of patients fraudulently entering Israel by falsifying documents very seriously,” the office of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.
Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, reported that by Friday 17,000 of the travelers had returned home and 1,600 had tested positive for COVID. Israel says 25,000 Israelis made the pilgrimage to Uman. More than150 Israelis are suspected of using fake negative coronavirus test results to return home, according to The New York Times.
Britain’s Health Ministry announced Sunday that it would reverse its decision to require ‘vaccine passports’ for Britons entering nightclubs and bars.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said that the idea, which faced pushback from conservative lawmakers, had been shelved but would be reconsidered if rates of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, increased substantially.
Britain is expected to announce this week its plans for inoculating 12- to 15-year-old youngsters in the battle against the virus. The vaccine campaign will likely start later this month.
Elsewhere, Bangladesh reopened schools after over 500 days of closure Sunday, as the government reported that 97% of teachers throughout the country have been fully vaccinated.
Children were still required to wear masks in schools and the government warned against being lax on safety measures. For now, students in each class will attend school once a week.
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center said early Monday that it has recorded 224.7 million COVID cases worldwide. The center said 5.7 million vaccines have been administered.
(Some information for this report came from Reuters.)