Jumat, 27 Agustus 2021

‘Bubble is just not a goer’: Jacinda Ardern extends Auckland’s lockdown - Sydney Morning Herald

By Chris Zappone

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed Auckland will remain in lockdown as the country grapples with the latest COVID-19 outbreak.

Dashing hopes that the national lockdown would end, Ardern announced that New Zealand, south of Auckland, would remain in a restricted state, although move from level-four, to level-three on Tuesday at 11.59pm.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern: “For now, the elimination strategy is the right thing for New Zealand.”

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern: “For now, the elimination strategy is the right thing for New Zealand.”Credit:AP

Auckland and the Northland region will remain at alert level four. Cabinet will review Auckland and Northland’s settings on Monday, however, the regions are expected to remain at level-four for at least two more weeks.

Level-four is the maximum restriction which includes stay-at-home orders. Level-three allows meetings with close family and small gatherings, for weddings and funerals, to take place.

The decision made by cabinet comes after the number of Delta-variant cases in the community rose on Friday to 70. All new cases were detected in Auckland. The current outbreak total climbed to 347 active cases.

Citing Australia’s experience with the Delta variant, Ardern said many cases of transmission happened in families and were likely to continue.

“We know from Australia that household members are almost universally becoming infected with COVID-19,” she said, at a daily update on the pandemic.

“That means you can expect our numbers to continue for some time in significant numbers of household communities.”

Wellington residents take their dog for a walk during a level-four lockdown  on Thursday.

Wellington residents take their dog for a walk during a level-four lockdown on Thursday.Credit:Getty Images

Unfortunately, if it gets into your family, “it gets everyone”, Ardern said. Family members spread it to each other, even when asymptomatic, she said.

The first case of this outbreak - linked to a returnee from NSW - was announced on August 17 and came after New Zealand unveiled a strategy for reconnecting with international travel.

Appearing to acknowledge the limits of an exclusive focus on case numbers, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said, “we won’t necessarily need days of zero” to change thinking on restrictions. But authorities would be looking for cases that emerged unexpectedly, he said.

Asked about a trans-Tasman travel bubble, Ardern the government had provided no advice to airlines at this time.

“We know COVID’s not going away quickly but our strategy with COVID can evolve....It’s very clear right now, a bubble is just not a goer.”

The country recorded 68 new COVID-19 cases in Auckland and Wellington on Thursday.

All the cases were in, or were being moved to, quarantine facilities “under strict infection prevention and control procedures”, the Ministry of Health said.

Among the active cases, 19 were in hospital in stable conditions, while one was in ICU.

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2021-08-27 02:07:45Z

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