Kamis, 26 Agustus 2021

‘Delta is very tricky’: New Zealand’s COVID outbreak grows by 68 cases - Sydney Morning Herald

New Zealand has recorded 68 new COVID-19 cases in the community, as the fast-moving Delta variant ripples through Auckland and Wellington.

Thursday’s increase took the cluster’s total to 277 associated cases, the Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said at the daily national briefing on the pandemic response.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the nature of the Delta outbreak has changed its impact on the community.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: “Delta is very, very tricky”.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: “Delta is very, very tricky”.Credit:Internet

“We can expect the lag time and our numbers to potentially be longer and bigger,” she said.

However, the fact that the outbreak hasn’t spread beyond Auckland and Wellington showed that restrictions were having an effect, Ardern said.

“Lockdown is having an impact.”

On Wednesday, New Zealand notched up 62 new community cases from the cluster that began in Auckland last week.

“Delta is very, very tricky,” Ardern said. There is an earlier period of infectiousness with it and the case numbers show this, she said.

Ardern said authorities were “very pleased” that the swift move to lockdown had so far prevented cases in the South Island.

The vulnerability the young have the Delta variant was underscored on Wednesday, when authorities revealed that an under-one-year-old baby was among the infected.

Staff members perform a test at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa COVID-19 testing station in Wellington.

Staff members perform a test at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa COVID-19 testing station in Wellington.Credit:Getty

New Zealand’s nationwide lockdown is expected to be reviewed on Friday. Auckland will remain under strict stay-at-home orders until August 31 at a minimum.

“No one wants to use lockdowns for ever ... that’s not our intention,” Ardern said. “But while we vaccinate, elimination is the goal.”

The Department of Health revealed the ethnic breakdown of the 68 cases flagged on Thursday: Pacific peoples comprised 49 cases, eight were Asian, three Maori, three European, and five were still to be determined.

The government under Ardern’s leadership has emphasised a community- rather than numbers-focused approach to combatting the pandemic.

Of the current cases, 15 are in stable condition in hospital with none in ICU.

New Zealand, like Australia, experienced early success in suppressing the spread of coronavirus in 2020 but moved slowly to vaccinate the public.

This in turn left the Kiwis vulnerable to variations of the coronavirus, such as Delta.

Ardern said that increasing vaccinations was a priority for the country.

Wednesday’s vaccination number of 87,972 was a record high, the Health Ministry said.

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2021-08-26 01:48:33Z

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