NZ delta’s tail is ‘long and tough’, says PM Jacinda Ardern

NZ covid-19 delta variant
New Zealand's covid-19 delta variant outbreak ... health and public safety updates. Image: RNZ

RNZ News

As Auckland waits to hear if it will move down an alert level this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has assured New Zealand the level four lockdown is having an impact, even with a small rise in case numbers in the past two days.

Ardern and Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay gave today’s covid-19 update from the Beehive.

There were 24 new cases reported in New Zealand today.

Yesterday the Ministry of Health reported 20 new community cases of the virus, all in Auckland. The figure was a spike after several days of lower numbers, with 11 cases reported on Friday and 13 on Thursday.

The government is set to announce on Monday whether the country’s alert levels will be changed.

Dr McElnay said the ministry would be preparing advice ahead of the decision.

“We’re still cautiously optimistic that the vast bulk of this outbreak is under control, we’re just dealing with a long tail.”

Still a risk
Ardern said level 4 was working and the whole country could see this, but as long as there is a level 3 or 4 situation in Auckland, there is risk.

“Delta’s tail is long and it is hard.

“The one thing I would say to Aucklanders: your work has paid off, as you’ve heard from our public health advisors, they consider that we do not have large scale community transmission in Auckland, and that has been because of level 4 and the work that people have done,” she said.

“So level 4 has played an incredibly important role of getting that outbreak under control. Yes, we still have cases popping up, there’s still work for us to do. But we absolutely factor in how Aucklanders are coping with some of the restrictions we’ve had to date, but also the best way for us to get back to normal as quickly as we can.”

Ardern said that despite larger case numbers, they continued to be dominated by household contacts.

“We have had unlinked cases over the course of this week, but many have been subsequently linked over the days that followed.

“That does still however present some challenges for us — while it means that we can join the dots, those dots do still produce more cases with more household contacts. It means that the tail produced by delta is long, and it is tough, and people will have seen that in our case numbers.

“But it doesn’t change what we need to do, and that continues to stay at home and get vaccinated.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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