The coronavirus outbreak in New Zealand is increasing, as Australian cases are easing

A new outbreak of coronavirus in New Zealand is still rising, health officials said Sunday, with the nation that had an early victory over the pandemic reporting 13 new cases and bringing into question the September general election. After stifling the virus earlier this year before it turned into a public health crisis and after 102 days without new infections, an abrupt resurgence in Auckland last week prompted an immediate lockdown of the largest city in the country.

There were signs of a more downward trend in neighboring Australia, which had already been grappling with a coronavirus outbreak in two of its main states, New South Wales and Victoria. New South Wales reported just five new cases, while Victoria, where masks became mandatory in July after the state became the center of the largest outbreak in the world, confirmed 279 new cases on Sunday, along with 16 more deaths.

Speaking before Victoria ‘s daily tally was announced, Australia’s health minister Greg Hunt said the state still has a long road to go. “But the signs now are that the trend is to incremental reduction,” Hunt told Sky News TV. He also said the federal government is close to reaching an agreement that would require Australia to manufacture a vaccine, possibly by 2021.