Kiwi Covid battle spreads from STILL locked-down Auckland to clusters elsewhere – as New Zealand records 205 new cases and one death – but will continue to open up
Case numbers appear to be holding steady, with 205 community cases on Monday, and the death of a man in his 40s at Auckland’s Manukau Hospital.
The rolling seven-day daily case average is 187, down from 197 last week.
‘Things are looking like they’re stabilising in Auckland,’ Dr Shaun Hendy, a COVID-19 modeller at cross-university research group Te Punaha Matatini, told Radio NZ.
Auckland is set to become the first place in New Zealand with 90% vaccinated (above)
‘The R number, the effective reproductive number of the virus, has been trending down and is maybe somewhere near one.
‘We want it to go somewhere below one so we actually have decreasing numbers but at least we’re at a point where maybe that outbreak in Auckland is stabilising.
‘That’s largely because of the good vaccination rate we’ve achieved in Auckland.’
Auckland is still in lockdown despite 87% of the citizens being vaccinated (above)
Auckland’s vaccination rate is at 87 per cent double-dosed, with 93 per cent having had one jab.
Over the past fortnight, the Delta variant has been identified for the first time in a clutch of different cities and townships around North Island.
Aside from Auckland, Northland and the Waikato, where COVID-19 has been present for months, the Bay of Plenty, the Wairarapa, Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay have encountered it to varying degrees.
Monday’s case count included 20 more cases in the Waikato, while the Tauranga cluster, with 17 active cases in a few days, looks worrisome.
This spread is likely to continue in coming weeks, as Aucklanders are granted further freedoms, and soon, the ability to travel around NZ once more.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given the green light for residents of the country’s biggest city to travel domestically from December 15.
‘Not all regions are at the same level of vaccination as Auckland. Once Aucklanders do leave that’s potentially exposing populations that aren’t as well protected,’ Dr Hendy continued.
‘That could lead to further small outbreaks in the regions.’
Some regional groups, including Maori, say they don’t want Aucklanders heading to their regions this summer, fearing COVID-19 seeping into their regions.
Dr Hendy said New Zealanders who didn’t have to travel should consider respecting those calls.
‘Giving those regions extra time to get those vaccine rates up would have a lot of advantages,’ he said.
Ms Ardern said she wanted Kiwis to be able to travel to ‘reconnect with family and friends’.
‘Ideally we want people to be vaccinated when they do that. And if they’re from Auckland and they’re unvaccinated, we want them tested,’ she said.