| 21 May 2024, Tuesday |

New Zealand pushes ahead with vaccinations as Delta outbreak widens

On Wednesday, the government of New Zealand reported 62 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of illnesses in the latest epidemic to 210, as the administration hurried to ramp up vaccines in the face of mounting criticism.

The majority of the cases are in Auckland, with 12 in Wellington, according to Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield at a press briefing.

According to him, the outbreak has identified 20,383 individual contacts, and there are currently over 480 locations of interest.

After an epidemic of the Delta variety emerged in Auckland and soon moved to Wellington, Fortress New Zealand’s virus-free streak ended last week.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared a level 4 countrywide lockdown in response to the epidemic.

The New Zealand prime minister’s reliance on tough border controls and emergency lockdowns to combat the virus has been questioned in the wake of the latest epidemic, which happened when few people had been vaccinated.

Approximately 80% of the population has not been properly immunized. On Wednesday, the government reported that a total of 80,000 people were vaccinated and 50,000 others were tested, setting a new record.

The government defended its elimination strategy, saying it was still the best option for New Zealand.

“It’s too soon to throw in the towel. We’ve come this far – it would be an absolute waste for us to give up on this now,” COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at a news conference.

“You will see changes in the medium term and in the way we manage the border. We do want to get to the point where lockdowns are not the answer to potential outbreaks in the community. But we are not there yet.”

New Zealand has had over 2,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far and 26 related deaths.

  • Reuters