Insight Online News
Moscow, Aug 23 : The sitting of New Zealand Parliament was suspended for a week due to the lockdown, the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
Earlier today, Ardern announced the extension of lockdown until August 27 in the whole country and until the end of the month in the country’s largest city of Auckland as the highly contagious Delta variant causes a spike in COVID-19 infections.
“As we did last time, we have temporarily suspended the sitting of Parliament for one week on the advice of the Director-General of Health. While, of course, we want to ensure that representatives from across The House have the ability to scrutinise the government at this time, bringing MPs from across the country to Parliament does pose risk,” Ardern stated, as cited by the national media.
Lawmakers will be able to connect virtually with Parliament’s select committees. The disruption to Parliament is minimal in comparison to other countries, the prime minister added.
On August 17, following the detection of a Delta case in Auckland, the Health Ministry imposed a three-day countrywide lockdown, corresponding to the maximum Alert Level 4 of the national virus risks system. Hundreds of lockdown opponents took to streets to protest the restrictions in the cities of Nelson, Tauranga and Auckland, with a dozen of protesters arrested by the police.
New Zealand has so far vaccinated about 20% of its population, or just under 1 million people. The island nation has recorded 3,054 COVID-19 cases in total.