Coronavirus live: UK health secretary ‘not considering’ October firebreak; New Zealand rethinks opening borders

UK health secretary Sajid Javid: ‘I haven’t even thought about’ an October firebreak

UK health secretary ‘confident’ booster jab programme will start this month

New Zealand to rethink plan to reopen borders amid Delta outbreak

New Zealand’s plans to reopen its borders to the world early next year will have to undergo a complete reworking, the government has warned, as the country races to stamp out an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant.

The nation recorded 15 new cases of coronavirus in the community on Wednesday, bringing the total number in the outbreak to 855.

It was the fifth day in a row that case numbers have been at or below 21, in an encouraging sign the country is on its way to stamping out the virus. But how the virus got into the community in the first place remains a mystery.

All of the new cases were in Auckland, which remains in a level 4 lockdown until next week, and all but two were epidemiologically linked to existing cases. There were 25 unlinked cases in total. Three-quarters of the recorded cases were in isolation throughout the period they were infected.

The rest of the country was in level 2, although some restrictions remained on gathering size and using masks in some public places.

The likelihood of New Zealand reopening its border to the world any time soon is looking less promising. The country has had strict border measures in place since the pandemic started:

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