Coronavirus live news: Mississippi hospitals overwhelmed; New Zealand eases restrictions outside Auckland

More on New Zealand now:

On 17 August the country was put into a snap nation-wide lockdown following the discovery of one case of the Delta variant in the community. The entire country was in alert level 4 – the highest level – for two weeks, with regions outside Auckland moving down a level last week.

Auckland will remain in a level 4 lockdown – the highest setting – until at least midnight Tuesday next week, but will be revised on Monday.

The country reported 20 new cases of coronavirus in the community for the third day in a row, in another encouraging sign that the outbreak is slowing down and that strict lockdown measures are containing the virus.

Including Monday’s tally, the total number of cases in the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant stands at 821. Of the cases, 117 people have now recovered from the virus, but there are 40 people in hospital, and 6 people in intensive care.

Speaking to media on Monday afternoon, Ardern said Delta changes the game, and requires stricter measures.

“It’s now no longer just whether you have enough space between you and others, but rather, if you have too many people in a shared space generally with poor ventilation. That really ups the risk.”

Level 2, or “Delta 2”, settings will look slightly different to what they have in the past. Face coverings will now be required in indoor public venues, but can be removed at bars and restaurants. Record-keeping will now be legally required at bars, restaurants, churches and other high-risk venues.

New Zealand cases drop to 49 in ‘reassuring indication’ lockdown is workingRead more

Staff at public facing businesses in level 2 must wear face coverings.

“To keep it really simple, if you’re out at about at indoor venues, please wear a mask,” Ardern says. Masks are “our new normal” at level 2, she said:

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