Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delayed New Zealand's general elections by four weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak in Auckland. The elections that were due for September 19 will now be held on October 17.
Arden said the priority is to curb the outbreak and assure people the elections would be safe. The Electoral Commission has planned out to conduct elections under certain lockdown conditions and would also have the power to defer the vote under extreme situations, she added.
The decision comes as the city of Auckland reported coronavirus cases and the government put the city under a two-week lockdown since August 12, halting election campaigning.
The country reported the first case after going 102 days straight without recording any new cases or community transmissions. Schools were reopened, restaurants, stadiums were opened and life had almost returned back to normal for people. The only possible cases were during the time of returnees who were quarantined at the border.
Auckland is home to one-third of the nation's five million citizens. The outbreak has grown to 58 new infections without any outbreaks in the community, the country's health Ministry informed on Monday. Total active cases tally stands at 78, including 20 identified during mandatory quarantine for all returned overseas travellers, reported The Indian Express.
The source of the new outbreak is yet to be determined. According to the report, health authorities suspect the Americold cold-storage plant in the city that's linked to the earliest symptomatic case.
They are working with a team of experts of Australia to find whether cases have the same genome sequence as an outbreak in an Americold facility in the city of Melbourne, where there has been a surge of cases in recent weeks.