WELLINGTON, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand reported nine new Delta variant cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country's community outbreak to 1,131.
The new infections were all recorded in the largest city Auckland, Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay told a press conference.
Thirteen community cases are being treated in the hospital, including three in intensive care units (ICUs) or high dependency units (HDUs), McElnay said.
There are 1,096 cases that have been clearly epidemiologically linked to another case or sub-cluster, and a further 14 cases for which links are yet to be fully established, she said.
Auckland relaxed restrictions by moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 on Wednesday for at least two weeks. The city was previously at Level 4, the top-level COVID-19 lockdown, for more than 30 days, longer than last year's lockdown, with schools and non-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 stays at Alert Level 2, under which 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 historical case in recent returnees, and the case has remained in quarantine in Auckland, according to the health ministry.
The total number of confirmed cases in New Zealand since the start of the pandemic was 3,788, McElnay said.