New Zealand has reported 20 new COVID-19 cases for the second consecutive day.
The new infections, all in Auckland, come ahead of a decision by Jacinda Ardern’s government on Monday about lowering alert levels across much of the the country.
Auckland, the centre of the outbreak, will remain in a level four lockdown for at least another week.
The rest of the country is in level three. There are calls to drop to the much less restrictive level two, which would allow most Kiwis to return to work or school.
With the exception of Wellington, officials have not found cases anywhere else in the country.
‘Heading in the right direction’
“We are heading in the right direction when it comes to getting control of this outbreak,” Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said.
“We want to see testing numbers in Auckland increase. We want to make sure we have the confidence that the 20 cases out there are the only cases out there.”
The total number of infections is 801.
A total of 38 Kiwis are in hospital, with six in intensive care and four being ventilated.
Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield agreed case numbers were looking better.
“It’s not so much the number but where we are finding those cases. There are very few new exposure events,” he said.
The number of new infections is also being outstripped by recoveries, reducing the burden on both the health system and NZ’s quarantine hotel system.
In the past three days, 68 new cases have been identified, while 85 people have recovered.