Why is this important: New Zealand closed its doors last Tuesday after detecting the first community case in nearly six months, marking Delta’s arrival in the island nation. The cluster has grown to 107 cases, with 35 more people testing positive for the virus on Monday.
What they say : Ardern said at a briefing in the capital Wellington that “for now, absolute elimination is the strategy” the government should use as coronavirus vaccinations continue to ramp up across the country .
- “We know that an elimination strategy has already worked,” she added, highlighting the long periods in which New Zealand residents had not benefited from any restrictions – a goal she said she intended to return.
The big picture: Ardern said during the briefing that the entire country would remain at its highest level of lockdown until Friday, when that restriction would be reviewed.
- But Auckland, the epicenter of the outbreak that has been attributed to Sydney, is said to remain at Alert Level 4 until August 31.
Between the lines: Scientist Shaun Hendy, who heads a scientific body advising the government, told Axios via email that the Level 4 restrictions were working, and “we should start to see a drop in cases by the end of this week.”
- Australia is facing outbreaks across the country, with New South Wales reporting a record 830 cases.
- The state capital, Sydney, where most of the cases are located, has been in detention since the end of June. But the state has not seen the same level of compliance with health measures as in New Zealand.
What to watch: The elimination strategy would remain the best option provided the lockdown reduced the number of cases as expected, according to Hendy.
- COVID-19 vaccine coverage of 70 to 80% of New Zealand’s total population could see the country’s restriction strategy change, according to research center chief Te Pūnaha Matatini.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.