NEW ZEALAND – The first COVID-19 case the country has seen in 6 months was reported yesterday in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. After conducting genome sequencing, the case has been linked to New South Wales, Australia. It has been identified as the Delta variant, a highly contagious strain of the virus.
Since the first reported case, the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has responded quickly to the indication that this is the first of more cases yet to be identified. On 17th August, she announced that New Zealand would move to Alert Level 4 (the highest alert level) from 11:59pm. Auckland and Coromandel will be in lockdown for seven days and the rest of New Zealand for three days.
While addressing the country earlier today alongside Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, Jacinda said “from the experience of what we’ve seen overseas, we are absolutely anticipating more cases,”. Which is also why they are focused on taking efficient and necessary measures to stop the spread as much as possible.
During this time, the country will still be rolling out vaccines to it’s people although some adjustments may be made to their appointment days/timings. This is to ensure that there is room to comply with social distancing measures that are put in place. They are doing this as quickly and safely as possible. With less than 20 percent of the country being fully vaccinated, the people are more vulnerable to the virus.
New Zealand has received worldwide praise for their quick and effective response strategy towards COVID-19 so far, with the total reported deaths standing at 26 in a nation of 5 million. Jacinda Arden continues to refer to the people of New Zealand as “a team of 5 million” working together to deal with the outbreak.