New Zealand’s coronavirus response minister said the country will not “give away” from its elimination strategy as cases continue to rise.
New Zealand announced 63 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 210. It’s the biggest one-day jump since the outbreak began last week, and 12 people have been hospitalized with the virus.
Some commentators and media Secretary of State Chris Hopkins has questioned whether the country should continue with its strategy to eliminate the coronavirus, but Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hopkins said the country will continue on its course.
“For New Zealanders back home who say, ‘If this is the right strategy,’ it’s too soon to throw off the towel,” he said. “We have come a long way so far, giving up on this would be an absolute waste. We still want to get this Covid-19 outbreak out of our community and back to a sense of normalcy.”
“Of course we want to get to the point where ban isn’t the answer to a potential outbreak within a community, but we haven’t gotten there yet, and certainly not ready to give up until we get to that point,” Hipkins said.
His comments were in line with those of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday: “At the moment everyone agrees: elimination is the strategy. There is no discussion or debate between us about this because it is the safest option for us ‘while vaccinating our people.”
Support for the government’s approach to the coronavirus remains high in New Zealand. According to the poll conducted by The Spinoff and published on Wednesday Only 10% of New Zealanders think exclusion is not the right strategy. Sixty-nine percent still supported this approach, and 21 percent said they were unsure. The An additional poll found that 84% of New Zealanders supported the lockdown decision last week.
With cases steadily increasing, experts stressed that before the lockdown begins, New Zealand will likely continue to see results from those infected and daily case numbers could continue to rise for several days. With the virus’s incubation time and test results processing time, it’s too early to say whether Level 4 lockdown is effective in containing Delta.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the growth in cases has been steady but not significant. “The fact that the rate of increase is not exponential is frank because we have a level 4 degree,” he said.
Hepkins said the country set a new record in immunizations, with 80,000 people being dosed on Tuesday.
The current New Zealand outbreak so far has been limited to the North Island – 12 of the cases are in Wellington, the rest in Auckland. About 20,383 people are now linked to this group, and health officials have contacted 12,700 of them.
The country is in a nationwide lockdown. On Friday, the government will provide an update on whether the entire country will remain in the fourth level of lockdown or whether restrictions on cities other than Auckland and Wellington will be eased.
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