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COVID digest: NZ extends lockdown amid delta fears

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Wellington, Aug 20: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended New Zealand's strict lockdown until midnight on Tuesday as the country races to control the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus.

"We have been here before...we know the elimination strategy works," Ardern told the press on Friday. "Cases rise and then they fall until we have none. It's tried and true... we just need to stick it out."

COVID digest: NZ extends lockdown amid delta fears

With 11 new cases reported on Friday, New Zealand's tally of infections has risen to 31. Critics have raised concerns about Ardern's ability to stamp out COVID-19 as she did last year, as the country's vaccine rollout has been sluggish.

The country had not recorded a new case of the virus in six months when an Auckland man tested positive earlier this week.

As the country remains under lockdown, the outbreak has spread beyond Auckland with three new cases reported in Wellington. Those infected had traveled to Auckland in recent days.

Here is a roundup of other coronavirus news from around the world:

Asia + Oceania

Australia"s Sydney will be under nightly curfews from next week as authorities in New South Wales struggle to slow the spread of the delta variant. The latest outbreak has pushed more than half of Australia"s 26 million people into lockdown.

Japan is ramping up daily COVID testing across the country as infections crossed 25,000 for the first time on Thursday. The country is set to adopt the anti-contagion measures used in the recent Tokyo Olympics to stop the spread driven by the Delta variant. The surge has been noted among mostly unvaccinated individuals in their 40s and 50s.

South Korea has extended coronavirus curbs for another two weeks as cases show little sign of abating, six weeks after the toughest Level 4 distancing rules were implemented in the greater Seoul area.

Under the newly announced rules, restaurants and cafes will have to close by 9 p.m. until September 5. Authorities have announced incentives for fully vaccinated people as one or two other fully vaccinated people can now join the two-person gathering, as long as they have received their last shot 14 days earlier, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said.

Johnson & Johnson is seeking approval from Indian authorities to conduct a study of its vaccine among youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17. The pharma giant received emergency use approval for its single-dose shot in the country earlier this month.

But conducting clinical trials among adolescents was imperative to achieve herd immunity against the virus, the company said in a statement.

Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City has prohibited residents from leaving their homes in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The country"s strictest order yet comes as cases continue to spike in the epicenter of the country's virus outbreak.

"We are asking people to stay where you are, not to go outside. Each home, company, factory should be an anti-virus fort," said Pham Duc Hai, deputy head of the city's coronavirus authority. The order takes effect on Monday. Details were yet to be announced.

Europe

Germany has recorded 9,280 new cases of the virus, taking the country"s infection tally to 3,853,055, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. The death toll rose by 13. The new figures come amid warnings that Germany has already entered a fourth wave of infections.

The United Kingdom health regulator has approved the antibody developed by Roche and Regeneron — Ronapreve — to prevent and treat coronavirus. This is the first monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 that has been approved in the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said.

see/rs (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

Source: DW

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