New Zealand reports 20 new Covid cases as spread of Delta slows

New Zealand has reported 20 new cases of coronavirus in the community, bringing the total number in the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant to 801. It is the fifth day in a row cases numbers have remained low, and an encouraging sign that the strict lockdown measures are working.

Since recording 83 cases a week ago, daily case numbers have been 53, 49, 75, 49, 28 and now 20, two days in a row. All of the 20 cases reported on Sunday were in Auckland.

The country recorded the first death from the outbreak on Saturday – a woman in her 90s who died in Auckland’s North Shore hospital on Friday night.

There are 38 people in hospital, with six people in intensive case and four requiring ventilators.

As of Sunday morning, 38,120 close contacts had been identified, with 90% of those tested for the virus. More than 77,000 vaccine doses were administered on Saturday, bringing the total number of doses given to 3,850,611.

In the past 24 hours, 9,238 people were tested for the virus, a drop of nearly 2000 people from the day prior. A decrease in testing numbers is common during weekends. Analysis shows over 20% of Auckland’s population has been tested for the virus.

“We are heading in the right direction when it comes to getting in control of the virus, but the job is not done yet,” deputy prime minister Grant Robertson said on Sunday afternoon.

“With Delta, there is no room for complacency, so please, stick to your bubble; stay under the one roof. That means no going and visiting your family and friends, isolate if you’re a contact and get a test if you’re sick. Let’s double down and let’s get the job done.”

The director general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said it was clear New Zealand was heading in the right direction, but added it was important that “we cannot let one case slip the net here”.

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