New Zealand records 20 new COVID cases and one death

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New Zealand’s health ministry recorded 20 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and one death from the virus.

There was no media conference today. In a statement, the Health Ministry said a woman in her 90s who was a confirmed case of COVID-19 died in North Shore Hospital in Auckland last night.

In a statement Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed her condolences to the family and loved ones of the woman.“Every death is a reminder of the damage Covid-19 can cause when it gets into our community.

“Our older New Zealanders and those with underlying health issues are by far the most at risk from the virus and one of the reasons lockdowns are such an important tool to stop its spread.”

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the woman’s underlying health meant it was not clinically appropriate for her to receive ventilator or to be in intensive care.

The woman was admitted to hospital on August 28. She was a household contact of a case.

On Friday 28 cases in the community were confirmed, 27 of which were in Auckland and one was in Wellington. On Thursday the total was 49, while on Wednesday it was 75.

The city of Auckland remains under strict stage 4 lockdown, but the rest of the country is on slightly relaxed level three restrictions, which allow some childcare and the purchase of take-away food.

The Cabinet is set to meet on Monday to assess the Covid-19 risk in the country south of Auckland, which has been at alert level 3 since Wednesday. With only a few cases in Wellington this past week – all known contacts of existing cases – and none in the rest of the level 3 zone, expectations are high that Cabinet will signal a further easing of restrictions.

But entertainment and events organisers around the country are preparing for a prolonged period in Level 2, perhaps amounting to months.

Level 2 restrictions would cap attendance at venues at 100 people, throwing into doubt concerts, conferences, festivals and sporting events.

On Thursday, Ardern defended New Zealand’s approach to combating coronavirus against criticism from Australia that trying to eliminate the fast-spreading Delta variant was “absurd”.

Asked during a daily update on coronavirus what she thought of criticism from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg that the Delta variant can’t be “eliminated”, Ardern insisted elimination was the most sensible strategy until New Zealand is fully vaccinated.

“Delta is different; no one is denying that,” Ardern said, referring to the strain of coronavirus that has caused outbreaks both in Australia and New Zealand.

But she said New Zealand will not change its approach until its population is vaccinated.

“Elimination is the best strategy for us while we’re vaccinating people and then we’ll continue to look at all of the evidence going forward,” she said.


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