New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced an extension to the nation’s lockdown
The lockdown in Auckland will be extended by two weeks following a spike in COVID cases linked to the delta variant, with over 53 new cases reported Monday.
New Zealand has been largely virus-free for months, eradicating a small number of cases in February. But following an outbreak of the Delta variant imported from Australia, it prompted Prime Minister Ardern to order a snap nationwide lockdown on August 17.
Infections of the outbreak have reached now 562
Around 1.7 million Aucklanders will remain in strict level 4 lockdown for another two weeks, while restrictions for the remainder of the country will be eased slightly to a level 3.
Ardern’s tough and swift lockdowns, along with closing the international border from March 2020, were credited with reining in COVID-19 in the country.
However, the government now faces questions over a delayed vaccine rollout, as well as rising costs in a country heavily reliant on an immigrant workforce.
Around 21% of the population of 5.1 million people have been fully vaccinated, the slowest pace among the wealthy nations of the OECD grouping.
Judge sides with Trump in Mar-a-Lago investigation
A United States Federal Judge has sided with former President Donald Trump amid the ongoing Mar-a-Lago investigation
In a move that will likely come as a relief to Donald Trump, a federal judge has ruled that the former president does not have to provide a sworn declaration regarding claims the FBI “planted” evidence in his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Previously, Trump had been required to provide the declaration as part of the review process for the investigation.
But Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the Mar-a-Lago investigation, has now pushed back several key deadlines, extending the final date of completion from November to December.
This means that Trump will not have to confirm, under oath, his recent claims the FBI manufactured evidence against him
These are assertions which could be used against him if he is charged with any crimes.
Trump’s lawyers had argued that the president should not be required to provide a declaration, and it seems Judge Cannon has sided with them.
For now, Trump will not have to put his claims on the record.
Ian carves path of utter destruction
After devastating Florida, Hurricane Ian is headed for Carolinas, Georgia
A grim picture of Hurricane Ian’s horrific wreckage emerged Thursday, as millions of people in Florida faced destroyed homes, completely flooded streets and power outages.
The storm’s power turned out to be worse than many had predicted.
Unfortunately, families who did not evacuate have been left stranded as rising water tore through their homes.
So far, hundreds have been rescued from floodwaters, and emergency crews are still struggling to reach some of the most devastated areas.
According to the National Hurricane Center, a storm surge of 12-18 feet hit as destructive waves struck the coast.
Officials say the hurricane knocked out power to more than 2.6 million customers, mainly in southwest and central Florida.
Meanwhile, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) says that the next 72 hours will certainly be the most critical when it comes to rescue missions.
President Biden said there were ‘early reports of what may be substantial loss of life’ saying, that the numbers are still unclear but there are early reports of fatalities.
The President added, “water rescue is critical—Coast Guard deployed 16 rescue helicopter, six fixed wing aircraft and 18-rescue boats and crews. That’s just one element of the many federal search and rescue teams that were pre-staged in Florida.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis detailed the state’s “monumental effort” to help aid recovery and eventually rebuild.
“Those were really difficult images to see but we’re committed to restoring the infrastructure as needed. That is not going to be an overnight task. That is going to require a lot of love and care—it’s going to require a lot of resources, but we’re going to do it because we understand how important it is.”
Hurricane Ian could be Florida’s deadliest storm
Hurricane Ian could be Florida’s deadliest storm as it continues north towards South Carolina
U.S. President Joe Biden says Hurricane Ian could be the deadliest storm in the region’s history, with early reports suggesting substantial loss of life.
Biden spoke at an afternoon briefing at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema).
Ian made landfall on Wednesday local time near the city of Fort Myers. It has led to severe flooding, high winds and storm surges.
Several areas remain submerged, and more than 2.5 million homes are without power.
Many residents are trapped in their homes and unable to escape. Search and rescue teams are working around the clock to provide assistance where they can.
5,000 Florida National Guard troops and 2,000 Guardsman from surrounding states have been deployed.
Eight teams with 800 members are carrying out search and rescue operations.
More than 200 public shelters have now been opened, housing around 34,000 people.
The National Hurricane Centre has downgraded Ian to a tropical storm for now but warns it will likely become a hurricane again later.
The entire coast of South Carolina is just the latest region to be placed on high alert as the storm continues north on its path of destruction.
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