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Eight new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand

·2-min read

Health officials have reported eight new community cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, the country's lowest figure since the outbreak was identified.

The new cases, reported on Tuesday, were all in Auckland as NZ's biggest city heads into a seventh week of lockdown.

The outbreak was first picked up on August 17 with a single case, and peaked on August 29 when 83 cases were found.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said his team had narrowed down new cases into three sub-clusters.

"We are making good progress," he said.

Two of the subclusters are groups of linked households, and the third involves an Auckland boarding house.

Of the 1185 cases from the Delta outbreak, most have recovered, while one woman aged in her 90s died.

As of Tuesday, 14 Kiwis are in hospital with the virus including three in intensive care.

Of the eight new cases, seven have been linked back to the outbreak.

The unlinked case was identified at Auckland's Waikatere Hospital.

Affected areas of the hospital have been deep cleaned, and staff in contact with the positive case have been stood down and assessed.

Jacinda Ardern's government is hell-bent on eliminating COVID-19 from Auckland, but after six weeks of lockdown, pressure from Aucklanders to open back up is growing.

Ms Ardern said her government was "open to considering" localised lockdown by suburbs but they would be hard to manage.

"There's a lot of complexity in the clusters at the moment," she said.

Dr Bloomfield said he had ordered follow-up testing after detection of COVID-19 in wastewater testing near Bay of Plenty city Tauranga.

Ms Ardern's government is releasing rooms in its quarantine hotel regime - known locally as MIQ - on Tuesday afternoon.

As obtaining an MIQ voucher and undertaking a fortnight in quarantine is the only way for overseas Kiwis to travel home, tens of thousands are expected to scrap over the 3800 rooms being released.

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