New Zealand registered seven new coronavirus cases overnight as the impact of the nascent cluster continues to mount.
The Director General of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, and Health Secretary Chris Hipkins, announced the growing cases on Saturday morning.
Jetstar has also canceled all flights across the country after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was forced to extend New Zealand's lockdown on Friday.
New Zealand (Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pictured) reported seven new coronavirus cases on Saturday morning, recording a total of 56 active cases of COVID-19
Ms. Ardern announced on Friday that New Zealand's lockdown would be extended to August 26 after the coronavirus case explosion (illustration of the coronavirus test clinic in Auckland).
Jetstar (pictured) canceled all New Zealand flights after announcing the lockdown
All seven new COVID-19 cases were spread within the community, bringing the total active cases in New Zealand to 56.
Six cases have been linked to the growing Auckland cluster, and one is currently under investigation.
In New Zealand, there are 37 cases of coronavirus that have been spread within the community and 19 cases of travelers in hotel quarantine.
At least 35 active cases have been linked to the Auckland cluster and it is "strongly believed" that the two additional cases are also linked to the cluster.
Dr. Bloomfield said at least 1,090 close contacts were identified and 934 were contacted.
He encouraged New Zealanders to continue to maintain social distance and get tested for coronavirus symptoms.
"There is no shame or fault having either this virus or any other infectious disease," said Dr. Bloomfield.
A record 23,846 coronavirus tests were processed on Friday.
Dr. Bloomfield also said 45 requests to leave the Auckland borders had been confirmed and 1.6 million masks had been sent across community groups.
Two cases, confirmed in Tokoroa, 200 km from Auckland on Friday, have been moved to an Auckland facility and are in isolation.
Former Cook Islands Prime Minister Joseph Williams (pictured above) was also hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday and it is unclear who he was in contact with
At least 35 coronavirus cases have been linked to the Auckland cluster and two cases studied are believed to be related as well (coronavirus testing pictured in Victoria on Friday).
At least 13 coronavirus cases have been linked to the Americold cold store (pictured above), where an employee tested positive for the coronavirus following an illness on July 31
New Zealand spent 102 days with no record of a locally transmitted coronavirus case, but four new infected family members tested positive on Tuesday.
Former Cook Islands Prime Minister, 82-year-old Dr. Joseph Williams, was hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday.
It is not known whether the doctor known in the Auckland and Pacific Parishes had any contact with any of the original family.
His doctor's office is located near the Americold Cool store in south Auckland, where at least 13 employees tested positive.
Dr. Bloomfield said the facility will undergo environmental tests and an Americold facility in Victoria will also be tested to see if there is a connection.
Ms Ardern said Auckland would continue to be subject to level 3 restrictions while the rest of New Zealand would be subject to level 2 restrictions (students pictured in Wellington on Friday).
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended the country's lockdown until August 26 after coronavirus cases exploded.
She announced that Auckland would remain in Level 3 restrictions and the rest of the nation would remain on Level 2 with no plans for a Level 4 lockdown.
"The important thing is that we determine the scope of the cluster and prevent it from growing," the prime minister told reporters.
Jetstar announced that it will suspend all flights in New Zealand from Tuesday to August 26 following Ms Ardern's announcement of the lockdown.
& # 39; During this period, travel restrictions vary across the country. As a result, Jetstar has temporarily suspended all domestic flights starting Tuesday 11:59 am.
"If you are affected by flight cancellations, Jetstar will contact you directly within the next 24 hours with your available options," it said in a statement.
Level 3 restrictions mean residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons such as exercise, grocery shopping, and care (a couple are wearing masks pictured in Wellington).
The earliest known coronavirus case in the Auckland cluster was discovered in an employee of the Americold Cold Storage in Mt Wellington who fell ill on July 31st.
However, this person may not be the earliest case as the transmission chain was not discovered.
The workplace is believed to have been tested for COVID-19 due to fears that the virus may have survived on refrigerated cargo from overseas and then spread to staff.
It has prompted health officials to investigate whether the virus spread on frozen shipments.
Anyone who tests positive for the virus must be quarantined in a managed facility.
Residents are only allowed to leave their homes to move around, shop, and support themselves under the level 3 restrictions.
Ms Ardern said a move to level 4 restrictions was not required and the current measures would be reviewed on Aug. 21 (buyer pictured in Wellington on Friday).
People should stay in their immediate budget bubble and school and work should be done from home whenever possible.
Shops are only open to take away and public facilities such as libraries and gyms are closed.
Level 2 restrictions allow New Zealanders to congregate up to 100 people, and they are encouraged to distance themselves socially at all times.
Companies can be open to the public as long as they record customer data and keep physical distance.
New Zealanders are advised to wear a face mask as a precaution.
The blocking measures are to remain in place until August 26 at 11:59 p.m.
"We will review these settings on August 21st. We would like to give about a week to see how we travel before reviewing them again," said Ms. Ardern.
New Zealand was unexpectedly back in lockdown after 102 days without recording a locally transmitted case of the virus (a child who received a coronavirus test (pictured above)).
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