New Zealand reports 13 new confirmed cases of coronavirus

Aug 18 (Reuters) - New Zealand on Tuesday reported 13 new confirmed cases of coronavirus for the last 24 hours compared with nine a day earlier as the Pacific nation battles to contain an outbreak in the biggest city of Auckland.

Twelve cases are linked to the existing virus cluster in Auckland, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said in a media briefing in Wellington.

Auckland, home to nearly a third of New Zealand’s 5 million people, remains in lockdown due to a flare up in infections there. Social distancing rules are in place in other towns and cities.

New Zealand has so far recorded just under 1,300 confirmed cases and 22 deaths. (Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)