New Zealand’s COVID response minister said the country will not “give up” with 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 Hepkins has questioned whether the country should continue its strategy to get rid of the coronavirus, but the Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hepkins, said the country will continue its course.
“To the New Zealanders back home who are saying, ‘Is this still the right strategy,’ it’s too soon to throw off the towel,” he said. “We’ve come this far, it would be an absolute waste to give up on this now. We still want to get this particular outbreak of Covid-19 out of our community and back to a sense of normalcy.”
“Of course we want to get to the point where lockdowns are not the answer to a potential outbreak within a community, but we haven’t gotten that far yet, and we’re certainly not ready to give up before we get to that point,” Hipkins said.
His comments echoed those of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday: “For now, everyone is in agreement: Elimination is the strategy. There is no discussion or debate between any of us about that, because it is the safest option for us while we vaccinate our people.”
Support for the government’s approach to COVID remains high in New Zealand. According to the survey conducted by The Spinoff and published on Wednesday, Only 10% of New Zealanders do not think exclusion is the right strategy. Sixty-nine percent still supported this approach, and 21 percent said they were unsure. that An additional poll found that 84% of New Zealanders supported the lockdown decision last week.
While cases have been steadily rising, experts emphasized that New Zealand was still likely to see results from those infected before the lockdown began, and daily case numbers could continue to rise for several days. Given the virus’s incubation period and the processing time for test results, it’s still too early to tell if Level 4 lockdown has proven effective in containing Delta.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said that while the growth in cases has been steady, it has not been exponential. “The fact that the rate of increase is not exponential is explicitly because we have a level 4 close,” he said.
Hepkins said the country set a new record for immunizations, with 80,000 people receiving doses on Tuesday.
New Zealand’s current outbreak so far is limited to the North Island – 12 of the cases are in Wellington, the rest in Auckland. About 20,383 people are now linked to contact with this group, and health officials have made contact with 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 will be eased for cities other than Auckland and Wellington.