SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 1 August 2021, Sunday |

New Zealand raises alert in Wellington after COVID scare from Sydney visitor

Amid concerns of being exposed to the highly contagious Delta variant, New Zealand raised the COVID-19 alert level in its capital Wellington on Wednesday.

Wellington will move to the country’s ‘Alert Level 2’, one level short of a lockdown, until midnight on Sunday as a precautionary measure to contain any possible outbreak after an Australian tourist tested positive for COVID-19 on returning to Sydney from a visit to the New Zealand capital over the weekend.

“This is not a lockdown … these are protective measures which will remain in place while we contact trace and test all of those we need to,” New Zealand’s COVID response minister Chris Hipkins said at a news conference in Wellington.

Under alert level 2, offices, schools and businesses can remain open but will have to maintain physical distancing rules. Sport and recreation activities are allowed, but gathering of more than 100 people will not be allowed, including at weddings, funeral and other events.

With a population of 5 million people, New Zealand is among countries that have curbed the spread of COVID-19 and returned to normalcy, with the last positive case due to community transmission reported about four months ago.