New Zealand: Expert warns of 'nasty' RSV outbreak
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The rationale behind the further lockdowns come as the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern places more restrictions on citizens as the Delta variant spreads beyond Auckland. With 32 new cases announced by the Premier on Sunday, the country’s largest city, Auckland, has been under lockdown since the middle of August.
Reports have emerged that two cases have been detected in the Waikato region, just under 100 miles south of Auckland, causing further restrictive measures to be placed on the region.
With the cases still seemingly spreading, a further decision will be made as to whether Auckland and its 1.7 million residents will continue to remain isolated from the rest of the country.
The response to shut down the city came after a reported 1,328 cases emerged, sparking what the PM called at the time a ‘short and sharp’ solution to the problem.
Most of the rest of New Zealand has returned to some notion of normality, yet the north island city still remains in the present status-quo.
“We are doing everything we can to keep cases confined to Auckland, and managing them there,” said the New Zealand Prime Minister.
With New Zealand reputably known for having reduced the number of recorded cases to zero last year, the emergence of the Delta variant has come as a blow to Ardern, whose strategy is now in question.
Responding to the doubts, Ms Ardern is said to have claimed that the strategy did not involve having zero cases, but rather to aggressively stamp out the virus on a permanent scale.
Citing the importance of vaccination, the PM claims that if 90 percent of the population who are eligible to become vaccinated do so, the fight to contain the virus will be in a better position than with the current 46 percent vaccinated.
Air New Zealand, the country’s main flag carrier, has stated that it will require passengers on its international flights to be vaccinated.
Full vaccination will become a requirement for non-New Zealand citizens arriving in the country from November 1 according to the Covid-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins.
Adding to this, Ms Ardern said: We have a different approach to Covid within our sights, and in our hands.”
“So as we all look ahead and think about summer, and the plans we are making, make the first step a vaccine. It is the thing that will make those summer plans possible,” added the Prime Minister.
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Since the outbreak of the pandemic, New Zealand has done remarkably well in containing the virus, and stopping the devastating effects on its people.
With only 4,382 registered cases, and only 27 deaths, the country is among the leading populous nations in figures.
While coming under fire for her decision to lock down the country at a more extensive rate than other nations, the Prime Minister claimed that her decisions paid off in the long run, in particular when other nations were in full lockdown.
By accepting that tactics have had to change this time, the PM concluded: “This is a change in approach we were always going to make over time. Our Delta outbreak has accelerated this transition. Vaccines will support it.
By acknowledging that vaccines were now an important tool in fighting the virus, the PM concluded: “It’s clear that a long period of heavy restrictions has got us to aero cases. But it’s ok… elimination was important because we didn’t have vaccinations. Now we do. So we can begin to change the way we do things.”
Overall however, the general consensus from the New Zealand population is one of joy at the success, with one resident taking to Twitter to say: “I think if we’d been at 1-2 unlinked cases a day and / or no infections in community and no spread outside Auckland, I’d be cheering right now.”
However, opposing political parties slammed the move.
“Jacinda has no answers to problems that she and her Government promised us were under control. The situation is now, very clearly, out of control and worsening every day,” said Opposition National Party leader, Judith Collins.
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