New Zealand reports 23 new Delta cases as largest city eases COVID-19 restrictions

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WELLINGTON, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand reported 23 new Delta cases on Wednesday as its largest city Auckland relaxed restrictions by moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 for at least two weeks.

Wednesday's new COVID-19 infections, all recorded in Auckland, brought the total number of confirmed cases in the country's community outbreak to 1,108, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a press conference.

Thirteen community cases are being treated in the hospital, including two in intensive care units (ICUs) or high dependency units (HDUs), Bloomfield said.

There are 1,080 cases that have been clearly epidemiologically-linked to another case or sub-cluster, and a further seven cases for which links are yet to be fully established, he said.

Auckland has remained at Level 4, the top-level COVID-19 lockdown, for more than 30 days, longer than last year's lockdown, with schools and none-essential businesses closed.

Under Alert Level 3, construction work and takeaway services can resume with necessary safety measures in place, while most students are still encouraged to study at home.

The rest of the country will stay at Alert Level 2, which means businesses and schools are back to normal, with mask-wearing being mandatory in certain settings and gatherings limited to 50 people in size.

The country also reported one case in recent returnees. The case has remained in quarantine in Wellington, according to the health ministry.

The total number of confirmed cases in New Zealand since the start of the pandemic stands currently at 3,763, Bloomfield said. Enditem

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