New Zealand elections postponed after new upsurge of Covid-19 cases

New Zealand will delay its national elections by four weeks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday amid a growing coronavirus in the country’s largest city.

According to reports, New Zealand last week experienced a coronavirus outbreak after 102 days without reporting a new infection.

 


The outbreak was reported in Auckland from a single household in the city and has since grown to 49 person cluster which authorities believe are all linked.

This has prompted a city lockdown and a halt to campaigning.

 

“Ultimately I want to ensure we have a well-run election that gives all voters the best chance to receive all the information they need about parties and candidates and delivers certainty for the future,” prime minister Ardern said.

 

The election, which was scheduled for Sept. 19, will now take place on Oct. 17.

Under New Zealand law, Ardern could have postponed the elections for up to roughly two months. However, she said the elections will not be further delayed.

The virus is a strain not previously seen in New Zealand and national health director-general Ashley Bloomfield said tests to check if it was imported via freight sent to an Auckland coolroom facility were still being processed.

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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