Thousands of people have been forced into isolation after six new coronavirus cases were recorded in New Zealand.
It comes after nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Auckland on Friday, an upswing from five on Thursday.
Four of Saturday’s new cases are epidemiologically linked to the cluster in Auckland – two are household contacts and two are church contacts, while the other two remain under investigation.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said on Saturday there were 145 people linked to the cluster who had been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility.
This includes 75 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as their household contacts.
On Saturday morning, 2,060 close contacts had been identified – 2,004 of which have been contacted and are self-isolating, while the rest are in the process of being contacted.
The new cases bring the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 1,321, while there are 111 cases currently active.
Sixteen of the active cases are imported cases from managed isolation facilities.
Nine people are being treated in hospital – two in Auckland City Hospital, four people in Middlemore, two people in North Shore Hospital and one person in Waikato Hospital.
Six people are stable on a ward and three people in Middlemore are in the intensive care unit.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday compared New Zealand's case numbers to the United States to highlight how well her country had managed cases.
“New Zealand is among a small number of countries that still has a low rate of COVID-19 cases and one of the lowest death rates in the world,” she said.
“For example, the United States has 16,563 cases per million people. We have 269 cases per million people. Today in New Zealand we're talking 11 cases whereas the United States is dealing with over 40,000 cases.
“Our approach has been different to other countries, but it's an approach I think we can all feel very proud of.”
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