Victoria records four deaths, 303 new cases on Saturday after 110 COVID-19 deaths this week, New South Wales seeks lower cases, Australian death toll at 375

Victoria records four deaths, 303 new cases on Saturday after 110 COVID-19 deaths this week, New South Wales seeks lower cases, Australian death toll at 375

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A total of 54 people linked to the Auckland cluster are now in managed quarantine to control the spread of the virus and a total of 86 per cent of these people’s close contacts had been contacted within 48 hours by contact tracers.

During an update on Saturday morning, Australian time, Health Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield thanked people who had come forward to be tested to help control the outbreak.

Bloomfield reminded people that “the COVID- 19 virus is the problem here, not the people who have it”.

Hipkins said it was “very heartening” that the outbreak and cases all remained connected to one cluster and pleaded with all Auckland residents to follow the rules of the level three lockdown.

“We all want to be out of level three as quickly as we can, people following the rules is the best way to ensure that,” he said.

“We want to get businesses open and operating again, we want to get people back to work as quickly as we can.”

New Zealand processed 23,846 tests on Friday, a new record for the country, and has conducted more than 49,000 tests over the last three days.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has to decide by Monday whether or not to delay the country’s national election, which is due to be held on September 19.

Ardern said on Friday that New Zealand was ‘going hard and going early’ after learning from the coronavirus outbreak in Australia, as she extended stage-three restrictions in Auckland by a further 12 days and kept the rest of the country under stage-two restrictions.

“We have always taken a precautionary approach because if you make a wrong move, with COVID, we can see very easily the long term impact of that particularly in terms of how long, as a consequence of the wrong move, you can spend with restrictions. Australia has demonstrated that to us, we are looking at the experience of others in making our decisions,” she said.

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