New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday announced to delay the general election due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

Addressing a news conference aired live from Auckland, Ardern said the re-emergence of coronavirus in the community was a “cause for concern” during the election period.

Now, the election will be held on Oct. 17 instead of Sept. 19.

New Zealand reported nine more COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. The country has witnessed a resurgence of the infection since early last week after a break of 102 days with no local cases.

So far, 1,631 people have contracted the virus nationwide and 22 have died.

The government imposed a lockdown in the capital of Auckland to stem the spread of the infection.

“COVID-19 will be with us for some time to come. Continuously pushing out an election does not lessen the risk of disruption and this is why the electoral commission has planned for the possibility of holding an election where the country is at level 2, and with some parts at level 3,” Ardern said.

The last general elections were held in September 2017.

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