New Zealand extends national lockdown

New Zealand extended for four days, Friday August 20, the containment of the entire country in an attempt to stem the Covid-19 epidemic caused by the Delta variant which has spread from Auckland to the capital, Wellington. This three-day national confinement was initially to be lifted overnight from Friday to Saturday.

Authorities are trying to assess the scale of the epidemic after the appearance this week of the first local case in six months. Premier Jacinda Ardern said all of the listed cases were linked, which is less worrying. “This means that we are starting to get a feel for the whole” of those affected, said Mme Ardern, welcoming that“At this stage, no unexpected case has[it] been registered ‘.

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For the first time in six months, New Zealand recorded its first locally-sourced Covid-19 case on August 17. The Auckland resident who tested positive carried a strain of the Delta variant identified in Australia with a link to a person, placed in quarantine, upon his arrival in early August from Sydney. “We have found the piece of the puzzle we were looking for”said Mme Ardern, Thursday, adding that this tracing would make it possible to “Contain the virus, block it and eliminate it”.

20% of the population fully vaccinated

“It is better to be careful and start with [mesures] strong and then get them up as soon as possible rather than starting slowly and staying in this phase [de confinement] for much, much longer “, said Mme Ardern Tuesday in a televised address. “We have seen what can happen elsewhere if we do not get the situation under control. We only have one chance “, she added.

The archipelago has been praised abroad for its effective management of the Covid-19 epidemic, which, so far, has only killed 26 people for a population of five million.

No national confinement has been decreed for more than a year and daily life had almost resumed its normal course. However, the vaccination campaign is struggling to roll out, with around 20% of the population fully vaccinated so far.

The World with AFP