New Zealand Extends Lockdown with Ski Resorts Closed

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country needed to be “cautious”.  The nationwide lockdown has been extended by three days until midnight on 27 August.

It comes as heavy snow has fallen in the ski resorts.

We reported on the snow last week.

In Queenstown on the South Island the police have dealt with people breaking the travel rules to access the snow filled slopes.

On Sunday the country reported 35 new cases which takes the total number of infections in the outbreak to 107.

There have been 320 locations of interest linked to the outbreak and 13,000 contacts have been recorded.

The Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said the delta variant “changes the game considerably” and makes existing protections “look less adequate”.

Ski resorts are watching and waiting, hoping the lockdown will not be extended again.

“We’ve been having so much fun this season but unfortunately at level 4 we aren’t able to operate,” said a statement from The Remarkables.

” We haven’t given up on winter just yet and hope we’ll be seeing you all back up here soon.”

It is a similar situation in Mt Hutt.

“We can’t wait to welcome you back,” said Coronet Peak.

“While we remain closed under Covid Alert Level 4 restrictions, know that we’ll be ready and waiting for you when we can open.”

New Zealand has recorded 3,016 confirmed cases and 26 deaths since the pandemic began.

The country had gone six months without a single Covid infection until the latest outbreak.

New Zealand has been praised for its rapid, strict lockdown measures in 2020 which stopped the spread of the virus.

Critics are now pointing to a poor vaccination programme.

Only 960,000 people have been double vaccinated in a population of just under five million.

That means only 20% of the population have been double jabbed.

In Europe the average is over 50% and in the UK it is 77%.

Nearly 1.7 million New Zealanders have received a first dose.