Minister responsible for responding to COVID-19 from New ZealandAnd Chris Hepkins, reported 21 more cases in a contagious outbreak that emerged last week in Auckland, after six months without local infections, which led to a nationwide lockdown.
Hipkins said that the infectious nature of delta variable It makes it more difficult to contain, which calls into question a strategy to completely eradicate the virus.
“The scale of the infection risk and the speed with which the virus is spreading is something that, despite all the best preparations in the world, puts our health system in a bind,” he told TVNZ.
New Zealand’s highly praised strategy against COVID-19, which has resulted in just 26 deaths out of a population of five million, focuses on eliminating the virus from society through strict border controls and total lockdown when cases are detected.
But the emergence of the delta variable prompts a rethink of the strategy.
Hepkins acknowledged that Delta “is unlike anything we’ve encountered before in this pandemic.”
“It changes everything, and it means that all our current preparations seem less appropriate and there are great doubts about our long-term plans,” the minister added.
Neighboring Australia has also pursued a “do not spread the virus” strategy, and the spread of the delta variable has frustrated the authorities.
The outbreak in New Zealand has highlighted the country’s slow vaccination campaign, with only 20% of the population being fully vaccinated.
“The government’s complacency and inability to secure and deliver a vaccine has left us exposed and completely exposed to the Delta type,” said Chris Bishop, a spokesman for the opposition National Party.
Hipkins insisted that eliminating the virus remains the priority in the face of the current outbreak, which is piling up 71 active cases.
He extended the national detention until next Friday.
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