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New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (AFP)

New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month’s general election.

Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand’s borders.

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A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.

Police in facemasks manned roadblocks on major roads in Auckland to enforce the new measures.

Ardern said health officials were also locking down aged care homes across the country because they could act as transmission hotspots.

“I realise how incredibly difficult this will be for those who have loved ones in these facilities, but it’s the strongest way we can protect and look after them,” she said.

There was panic buying at supermarkets across New Zealand and huge queues at coronavirus testing stations as Kiwis came to terms with the re-emergence of a virus many thought had been defeated.

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New Zealand had been held up by the World Health Organization as an example of how to contain the disease after recording only 22 deaths in a population of five million and preventing community transmission for more than three months.

Ardern said the return of coronavirus was “unsettling” but all efforts were being made to retrace the steps of the Auckland family of four who contracted it from an unknown source.

She said the September 19 election may be impacted if the outbreak could not be contained.

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“We’re seeking advice from the Electoral Commission, just so that we make sure have all options open to us,” she said.

“No decisions yet, as you can imagine, have been made.”

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Ardern’s centre-left Labour Party has been riding high in opinion polls and is expected win a second term.

The conservative National Party was open to the idea of a delay if conditions meant it was justified.

“It’s going to be very difficult to have an election in mid-September when we are now mid-August. It is very little time,” National leader Judith Collins told TV3.

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Mitch McConnell slammed for his ‘oddly specific’ promise to accept results of Nov. 3 election

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) added his voice to statements issued by other Republican lawmakers assuring they would accept the election results -- which President Donald Trump suggested he would not.

The president refused to commit to the peaceful transition of power if he loses to Joe Biden, and McConnell and some other Republicans offered some sort of assurance they would -- although none mentioned Trump by name and some suggested Biden had made similar threats.

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WATCH: Public health officials rip Trump-loving mayor to his face after he links them to ‘violent mobs’

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Tennessee Mayor Glenn Jacobs came under fire from his own public health officials this week after he narrated a video that attacked them as "sinister" bureaucrats who were linked to "violent mobs" trying to install a "socialist utopia."

Knox News reports that during a Knox County Board of Health meeting on Wednesday night, several members of the board ripped Jacobs to his face for narrating and posting a right-wing propaganda video that claimed scientists were working with left-wing anarchists to bring down the United States.

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2020 Election

Trump has a serious problem with women voters — even in red states

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In the past, Texas and Georgia were reliably Republican in presidential elections. But recent polls show that in the 2020 presidential election, Democratic nominee Joe Biden is surprisingly competitive in those light red states — and New York Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, analyzing some recent polling in an article published on September 24, cite female voters as a key reason.

According to newly released New York Times/Siena polls, Trump is leading Biden by 3% in Texas — while Trump and Biden are in a dead heat in Georgia. In Iowa, the Times and Siena found that Biden is ahead by 3%. The last Democratic presidential nominee to win Texas was Jimmy Carter in 1976; the last Democratic presidential nominee to win Georgia was Bill Clinton in 1992.

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