Covid: New Zealand administers record vaccinations as it grapples with Delta outbreak

Wellington insists it will keep trying to eliminate Covid-19, saying ‘it’s too soon to throw in the towel’

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 25 August 2021 17:42 BST
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New Zealand vaccinated a record number of people against coronavirus on Wednesday amid the scramble to contain a new outbreak of the disease.

Some 80,000 people received a vaccine dose and 50,000 others were tested, according to the government.

However, about four-fifths of the nation is still yet to be fully inoculated.

The latest Covid-19 outbreak began last week with an eruption of highly-contagious Delta variant cases in Auckland.

So far, 210 people have been infected.

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, ordered a nationwide lockdown after the first case was detected.

Most of the cases are in the largest city, Auckland, while 12 are in the capital of Wellington, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield told a news conference.

He said 20,383 individual contacts had been identified in the outbreak and that there were now more than 480 locations of interest.

The government defended its elimination strategy, saying it was still the best option for New Zealand.

"It's too soon to throw in the towel. We’ve come this far – it would be an absolute waste for us to give up on this now," Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said.

"You will see changes in the medium term and in the way we manage the border. We do want to get to the point where lockdowns are not the answer to potential outbreaks in the community. But we are not there yet.”

New Zealand has had over 2,800 confirmed cases of Covid-19 so far and 26 related deaths. Until last week, it had been virus-free since February.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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